There are only three chances to see the Rubicon Theatre Company’s exciting remount of Daddy Long Legs this weekend. Paul Gordon and John Caird’s musical originated at Rubicon in 2009, and tells the story of a young orphan girl’s rags-to-riches transformation when a generous but anonymous benefactor unexpectedly bankrolls her education and living expenses. Based on Jean Webster’s 1912 novel, Daddy Long Legs explores the social sophistication and educational development of orphan Jerusha, who chronicles her life in musical letters to her mysterious sponsor. By Tony-Award-nominated composer-lyricist Paul Gordon and Tony-Award-winning librettist-director John Caird, it’s not surprising that Daddy Long Legs has seen widespread success, including productions from coast to coast, and in England, Canada, and Japan. This weekend’s homecoming run precedes the play’s debut off-Broadway in New York.
A musical about self-discovery, Daddy Long Legs is also a romantic mystery about faith and trust. Set at the turn of the twentieth century, this two-person production focuses on Jerusha’s evolution from a sheltered, naïve teen to a refined, educated and self-possessed woman. According to the terms of the agreement between the dismal orphanage where she lives and her anonymous guarantor, Jerusha may not know the identity of her donor (she refers to this man as “Daddy Long Legs”). In return for her monthly stipend and the cost of her education, Jerusha must write her benefactor a monthly letter describing her experiences. Jerusha’s patron is convinced of her potential to become an exceptional writer, and he considers the ritual of letter writing to be an important exercise to further hone her skills. Her letters depict the isolating, disheartening conditions of life in the orphanage, as well as the excitement of exploration as she cultivates her new identity as a woman of means.