BWW Review: DADDY LONG LEGS at Hale Center Theater Orem is a Small Treasure

BWW Review: DADDY LONG LEGS at Hale Center Theater Orem is a Small Treasure

Hale Center Theater Orem's Utah premiere of DADDY LONG LEGS is tender, intimate and heartfelt. It is a small treasure.

DADDY LONG LEGS (music and lyrics by Paul Gordon, book by John Caird) is a recent off-Broadway success adapted from a 1912 novel. Orphan Jerusha Abbott learns that her schooling is to be paid for by a wealthy benefactor, who she affectionately calls "Daddy Long Legs" and converses with through witty, soul-baring letters. When she meets her schoolmate's dashing uncle, Jervis Pendleton, she is unaware that he is actually the man to whom she has been writing.

The score is stunningly beautiful, and the book is captivating. The two-person show is entrancing from beginning to end.

Scout Smith as Jerusha (double cast with Kelly Coombs) is warm and vivacious with a lovely soprano. Spencer Hunsicker as Jervis (double cast with David Paul Smith) is tortured yet earnest, and the audience yearns for his secret to be told.

Just like the characters, the production is filled with homespun charm and yet also polished with sleek sophistication. The staging by director David Morgan is clever, innovative and appealing, with Jerusha and Jervis always in constant motion, flitting restlessly in and out of one other's imaginations.

The set by Cole McClure is almost another character and is an absolute triumph. It is framed by richly detailed library shelves filled with books and knick knacks set in front of a gorgeous wood-paneled wall. A matching hardwood floor revolves in delightful use of the stage's turntable. Additional scenic elements also pop up to surprise at various points in the show.

The properties by Linda Hale add an additional layer of historical accuracy, and the nuanced costume changes by Kris Hansen-Call mirror the growth of the characters. The lighting by Cody Swenson washes it all in a warm glow befitting the era and story.

The live music by Justin Bills on piano (alternating with Braden Kay Rymer), Risa Bean Stoker on cello, and Chaz Hales on guitar is a rare treat.

It is a pleasure to see DADDY LONG LEGS on a local stage, and especially this one that is so well suited for it. Certainly it is one of Hale Center Theater Orem's best productions in recent memory.

DADDY LONG LEGS plays through September 22, 2018. For tickets, call the box office at 801-226-8600 or visit www.haletheater.org.

Photo Credit: L-R Scout Smith (Jerusha Abbott) and Spencer Hunsicker (Jervis Pendleton). Photo by Suzy Oliveira.

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