Douglas Mayo reviews Daddy Long Legs the musical now streaming on BroadwayHD.
Daddy Long Legs
Streaming on BroadwayHD
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I’ve been having a great time watching the musicals on BroadwayHD. A while ago I reviewed the cast recording of Daddy Long Legs and loved it. It was a pleasant surprise to find it on BroadwayHD and I have to say it was everything I hoped it might be.
Forget the Astaire film this is an intimate affair, a boutique two-hander starring Megan McGinnis and Adam Halpin, as Jerusa Abbott and her anonymous benefactor. It’s a love story conducted mostly through a series of letters and the occassional meeting over a number of years. It’s a quirky, humorous and ultimately highly romantic tale that will touch even the hardest heart.
Adam Halpin is a wonderful Pendleton, watching his stiff, staid exterior give way as he gradually falls in love with Jerusa is so touching. Megan McGinnis blossoms throughout this production. Her timing, diction and presence are impecable. There’s real honesty in her descriptive letters to Pendleton and the chemistry that results between the two is only amplified by Caird’s imaginative staging.
With music and lyrics by Paul Gordon and book by John Caird it’s a beautifully constructed piece that unfolds on a functional set designed by David Farley who has also designed the period costumes here. Brad Halk’s orchestrations and tight musical direction keep this from being a dirge. As I said in my cast album review there’s a certain Jason Robert Brown feeling to the music. It could easily become samey, but Gordon manages to keep the piece interesting, alive, and emotionally connected.
Hal Prince said “you can’t really listen to a musical unless you can see it”, and watching this beautifully filmed production added so many more emotive layers to this elegant story. This production at the Davenport Theatre,co-produced by the man whose name it bears, was I believe, the first Off-Broadway show to be live streamed via the internet back in 2015. I remember at the time the huge viewing figures it achieved, it is a tribute to BroadwayHD that they saw the potential in this medium.
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