You’ve heard the story before: Poor little orphan girl is whisked away by a rich benefactor who lavishes her with gifts, fine clothes, and an upper-class education. They grow to love one another -- in a strictly father-daughter way, of course, since this isn’t a Woody Allen musical.
But what would happen if Daddy Big Bucks and his ward were a little closer in age? That’s the setup of John Caird and Paul Gordon’s Daddy Long Legs, premiering locally through Arizona Theatre Company. The musical is based on Jean Webster’s novel about an 18-year-old orphan and literary prodigy, Jerusha, who attends college on the dime of a wealthy man she nicknames “Daddy.”
Jerusha imagines him as a doddering old man; little does she know he’s the handsome suitor she falls in love with. There’s a tension between the pair as they try to figure out how to come clean, says Caird. “He can’t admit he’s her benefactor, and she can’t admit she’s an orphan. It’s a conspiracy of silence.”