Wednesday Wordplay: from Ashe to Updike

 

henry winkler as the fonz - happy days Assumptions are the termites of relationships.
            — Henry Winkler
 
     
  The arts must be considered an essential element of education… They are tools for living life reflectively, joyfully and with the ability to shape the future.
            — Shirley Trusty Corey
 
     
  Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome.
            — Arthur Ashe
arthur ashe postage stamp
     
  I simply cannot understand the passion that some people have for making themselves thoroughly uncomfortable and then boasting about it afterwards.
            — Patricia Moyes
 
     
Georgia O'Keefe I said to myself, I have things in my head that are not like what anyone has taught me – shapes and ideas so near to me – so natural to my way of being and thinking that it hasn’t occurred to me to put them down. I decided to start anew, to strip away what I had been taught.
            — Georgia O’Keeffe
 
     
  Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.
            — Thomas A. Edison
 
     
  Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.
            — Bill Gates
young Bill Gates
     
  Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.
            — Theodore Roosevelt, September 1913
 
     
John Updike Dreams come true. Without that possibility, nature would not incite us to have them.
            — John Updike
 
     
  If you’re never scared or embarrassed or hurt, it means you never take any chances.
            — Julia Sorel
 
     
  If you have made mistakes, even serious ones, there is always another chance for you. What we call failure is not the falling down but the staying down.
            — Mary Pickford
Mary Pickford actress
     
  I like coincidences. They make me wonder about destiny, and whether free will is an illusion or just a matter of perspective. They let me speculate on the idea of some master plan that, from time to time, we’re allowed to see out of the corner of our eye.
            — Chuck Sigars, September 8, 2003
 
     
David Shore House MD Only two things you ignore: things that aren’t important and things you wish weren’t important, and wishing never works.
            — David Shore, House M.D., Not Cancer, 2008
 
     

 

Urban Dictionary

 

Audience Typing

When a person’s typing abilities degrade when they must type in front of others, leading to misspelled words, improper capitalisation and most likely resulting in blushing.  Worse if that other person is an older relative or someone you respect.

Father asks, "Put Manchester United into Google there for me"
Son, "Sure"
Results in – "Manchetser UNited" being typed into Google.

        
        

REVIEW: Daddy Long Legs (Northlight Theatre)

 

Tuneless letter reading makes a dull ‘Daddy’

 

Robert Adelman Hancock and Megan McGinnis in Northlight Theatre's "Daddy Long Legs". Photo by Jeanne Tanner.

   
Northlight Theatre presents
   
Daddy Long Legs
    
Music/Lyrics by Paul Gordon,
Book by
John Caird
Directed by John Caird
North Shore Center for Performing Arts, Skokie (map)
Through October 24  |  
Tickets: $45–55  |   more info 

Reviewed by Leah A. Zeldes

Based on a lively, epistolary, young-adult novel written in 1912 by Jean Webster, Northlight Theatre’s regional premiere Daddy Long Legs centers on Jerusha Abbott, "The Oldest Orphan in the John Grier Home," who unexpectedly earns the offer to attend college sponsored by one of the orphanage trustees. That thrusts her into a world she’s never before known.

Megan McGinnis in Northlight Theatre's "Daddy Long Legs". Photo by Jeanne Tanner. Webster’s story indeed has long legs — the author turned it into a stage play that ran on Broadway in 1914. Mary Pickford starred in a silent movie version in 1919, and the 1935 Shirley Temple film “Curly Top” was rooted in that film. A British stage musical called Love from Judy opened in 1952 and ran for two years, and Fred Astaire starred in a 1955 Hollywood musical version. It’s since become a Japanese animation and a Korean film. 

In Webster’s version of the tale, Jerusha details her collegiate adventures in a series of charming and unaffected letters to her carefully anonymous and unresponsive benefactor, "Mr. Smith," whom she nicknames "Daddy-Long-Legs." Although we may have our suspicions, readers don’t find out who Smith really is until Jerusha does — nearly at the end of the novel. Webster’s novel evolves into a romance, but lots of its charm comes from Jerusha’s descriptions of her hijinks at school. The dissatisfying new chamber musical by Paul Gordon and John Caird gives us little of that, concentrating on the incipient love affair.

We learn from the outset that Smith is really one Jervis Pendleton, a much younger man than Jerusha believes, and we watch as he falls in love through the mails and plots to meet his plucky protege. That removes most of the mystery and suspense.

For example, in the novel, we are as mystified as Jerusha when her sponsor won’t permit her to spend the summer in the Adirondacks with her college roommate, while the musical makes it clear his objection is to the roomie’s handsome brother.

Played by Megan McGinnis and Robert Adelman Hancock, Jerusha and Jervis are the only characters. The focus remains on Jerusha and her letters, which she sings. While Daddy Long Legs isn’t quite a sung-through musical, these recitatives make up much of the play. McGinnis has a sweet voice and Hancock, who mainly sings backup, does fine, but the songs are undistinguished and Gordon’s score largely tuneless.

David Farley’s set is, for unknown reasons, littered with luggage, with a central moat full of suitcases and trunks that the actors keep circling, somewhat dizzily, though Jervis spends most of his time stuck rear stage in a book-lined office.

Megan McGinnis in Northlight Theatre's "Daddy Long Legs". Photo by Jeanne Tanner. Robert Adelman Hancock in Northlight Theatre's "Daddy Long Legs". Photo by Jeanne Tanner. Megan McGinnis and Robert Adelman Hancock in Northlight Theatre's "Daddy Long Legs". Photo by Jeanne Tanner.
Megan McGinnis in Northlight Theatre's "Daddy Long Legs". Photo by Jeanne Tanner. Megan McGinnis in Northlight Theatre's "Daddy Long Legs". Photo by Jeanne Tanner.

Since the one-way nature of the correspondence prevents much back and forth between the two characters, the play becomes largely action-free. No matter how endearing, what makes for good narrative in a book becomes rather dull on stage. That might not matter so much if the music were more interesting, but as it is, the play needs more life and more people in it. In the novel, we get this though Jerusha’s rich descriptions of her friends and others she interacts with.

In the first song, "The Oldest Orphan in the John Grier Home," we get a little of this, as Jerusha mimics people at the orphanage. Had this kind of characterization continued through the musical, it might have worked. But from then on, the singing letters do more telling than showing. McGinnis’s charming and animated performance goes far to make up for this, but not far enough.

Moreover, for all its modernisms in terms of cast and staging, Daddy Long Legs seems overly old-fashioned and simple. A story aimed at young girls in 1912 rather lacks spice for adult audiences a century later.

   
   
Rating: ★★
   
   

Megan McGinnis in Northlight Theatre's "Daddy Long Legs". Photo by Jeanne Tanner.

 

 

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