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“Daddy Long Legs” is a must-see love story

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“Daddy Long Legs,” now playing at the Lehi Arts Center, is a heartwarming Cinderella story based on the treasured 1912 novel by Jean Webster. This is a beautiful story of a mysterious benefactor who decides to send Jerusha Abbot, an orphan, to college. Unaware of the benefactor’s identity, she must write him a letter once a month and, while doing so, invents a nickname for him: Daddy Long Legs. 

Through her letters, Jerusha shares her college experiences while discovering her identity and reveling in the wonders of literature, adventure and love. The Lehi Arts Council’s production of this humorous yet heartwarming story is a must-see show. 

This production is smart, hilarious and touching. It features only two characters, who easily captivate the audience and carry the show from beginning to end. The show is double cast with extraordinarily talented actors who engage the audience with clever interchanges. The show being reviewed included Kelsea Smellie as Jerusha and Christian Wawro as Jervis, who play the roles on Fridays and Mondays. 

Smellie gave a showstopping performance as Jerusha. Her vocals were both powerful and moving. She easily connected with the audience as she hit and held the notes in “Like Other Girls.” Her strength and technique as an actress are displayed as her character grows from a girl to a woman with boldness and vulnerability. 

Wawro was witty and maintained his energy throughout the show, creating purposeful moments to engage the audience. He played Jervis with great charisma and tenderness. His vocal performance was superior, and he didn’t miss a beat in delivering every punchline. 

Both actors took great care in cultivating their characters, and their acting added subtext to what was written in the script. Their chemistry is more than believable–it illustrates kindness and gentleness. Together, they create a swoon-worthy love story.  

The production is directed by Brighton Sloan, who smoothly created what could have been something long-winded into something that you find yourself not wanting to end. The show’s blocking was detail-oriented and purposeful, engaging the audience with every move and every musical note. Sloan cleverly incorporated three live musicians on the stage to add strength and emotion to the story. 

The production team should be recognized for their ability to bring the story to life. The wigs, costumes and beautiful set design bring the magic to the stage. The stage management facilitates excellent communication across all creative and technical storytelling moments. 

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Don’t miss Lehi Art Council’s beautiful story of love and self-discovery in “Daddy Long Legs.” Only four performances are left, three at 7:30 p.m. on May 16-18 and one 2 p.m. matinee on May 18. Tickets are still available at https://www.lehiarts.org/.

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