Daddy Long Legs - PLOT SYNOPSIS

Off-Broadway Production
Daddy Long Legs the Musical - PLOT SYNOPSIS

Act One

In an orphanage called the John Grier Home, Jerusha Abbott calls the first Monday of every month a "perfectly awful day" due to orphanage's trustees' monthly visit and how she bears the load of the preparations. After the visit, Mrs. Lippett, the home's matron, calls for Jerusha in her office. On her way there, she glimpses one of the Trustee's long, spindly, and spidery shadow cast by the headlights of his awaiting car ("The Oldest Orphan in the John Grier Home Lyrics"). Mrs. Lippett hands her a letter from the Trustee she just saw leaving the home. Impressed by her amusing satirical essays about life at the orphanage, he devised a nine-point plan for her further education. The Trustee will be sending her to a local college with all expenses paid, with the intention that she educate herself to become a writer. The only condition is that Jerusha must write to him reporting her progress and impressions of the college, and that he will remain anonymous, only to be addressed as "Mr. Smith". Her letters will never be answered, nor take the slightest attention to them ("Who Is This Man? Lyrics"). Jerusha arrives at the college, and begins to pen her first letter. She complains regarding her benefactor's alias: "Why couldn't you have picked out a name with a little personality?" After musing over what she'll call her mysterious benefactor, she finally decides on "Daddy Long Legs" due to his tall figure and she imagining him to be old and gray ("Mr. Girl Hater Lyrics"). In his study in Manhattan, young philanthropist Jervis Pendleton, Jerusha's benefactor, is amused and puzzled over her first letter ("She Thinks I'm Old Lyrics").

Jerusha writes about her lessons from her freshman year classes ("Freshman Year Studies"), and describes her anxiety over trying to fit in with the other girls at her college due to her upbringing in an orphanage ("Like Other Girls Lyrics"). She then writes about her embarrassment at her lack of education and her excitement about learning ("Things I Didn't Know Lyrics"). During the Christmas vacation, Jerusha stays behind in the college to catch up on her reading, and sends her love to Daddy Long Legs in her loneliness. The shy and awkward Jervis finds her affection-filled letters disconcerting ("What Does She Mean By Love? Lyrics"). Jerusha flunks two of her first exams and is mortified. She becomes ill and writes angrily to Daddy Long Legs, accusing him of not caring for her and simply supporting her merely out of charity. Moved by this, Jervis sends her a bouquet of flowers, and Jerusha is penitent ("I'm A Beast Lyrics").

Enthralled by her letters, Jervis arranges to meet his young beneficiary, under the pretence that he is meeting his niece Julia, who happens to be Jerusha's least favorite friend ("When Shall We Meet? Lyrics"). After meeting Jervis, Jerusha is immediately drawn to him: "He's a real human being, not a Pendleton after all ... he looked at me as if he really knew me, almost better than I know myself." Despite this, Jerusha become more and more curious regarding her old and gray Daddy Long Legs ("The Color of Your Eyes Lyrics").

The summer arrives, and Jerusha begs Daddy Long Legs not to send her back to the John Grier Home, as she has nowhere to go to. Jervis, adopting another guise as a "secretary" to Mr. Smith, sends her to Lock Willow Farm, where she explores her talent as a writer. Jerusha then proclaims that she finally knows what the secret of happiness is, and that is to live in the now ("The Secret of Happiness Lyrics"). She also stumbles upon a connection between Jervis Pendleton and Lock Willow Farm, yet doesn't connect this information to her Daddy Long Legs. Jerusha expresses her longing to finally see her Daddy Long Legs, while Jervis becomes increasingly frustrated on whether he should reveal himself as her benefactor or not, realizing he is falling in love with her ("The Color of Your Eyes (Reprise)").


Act Two

Upon returning to the college for her sophomore year, Jerusha continues her studies and her writing, as well as become socially involved with the family of her friend Sallie McBride ("Sophomore Year Studies Lyrics"). Jervis, upon reading that Jerusha's attachment of Sallie's attractive brother Jimmy, realizes that he is already falling for her. He then invite Jerusha, Julia, and Sallie for a long cultural weekend ("My Manhattan Lyrics"). The summer arrives again, and Jerusha asks for permission to spend her vacation at the McBrides' country home on the Adirondacks. Jervis, through his secretarial alias, insists that she spend the summer at Lock Willow Farm instead. Feeling alone and trapped, Jerusha writes an angry letter in response to his domineering nature and finds it hard to forgive Mr. Smith ("I Couldn't Know Someone Less Lyrics").

Jervis struggles to finally reveal himself to Jerusha as her Daddy Long Legs and subsequently confess his feelings. He thinks that Jerusha will never forgive him if he comes clean regarding his true identity ("The Man I'll Never Be Lyrics"). Jervis visits Jerusha in Lock Willow, the farm where he grew up as a boy. The couple enjoy the countryside together and find themselves growing more and more attached to one another ("The Secret of Happiness (Reprise) Lyrics"). Jerusha receives an invitation from Sallie to join her family at Camp McBride, and another from Jervis to meet him at Lock Willow. Despite Mr. Smith's warnings, Jerusha proceeds to Camp McBride due to some negative remarks she received from Jervis when he found out she turned down an invitation to Paris from Julia, to work as a teacher in French and Algebra to support herself. Jervis then contemplates on his controlling nature, both as Jervis and as Mr. Smith ("Humble Pie"). After four years, Jerusha completes her studies and invites Mr. Smith to her graduation ceremony to finally meet him. Jervis does attend the ceremony as Julia's guest, but does not reveal himself to the bitterly disappointed Jerusha ("Graduation Day Lyrics"). Back in his Manhattan study, Jervis reflected on the concept of charity and its effects on both the benefactor and the beneficiary, and how Jerusha became a recurring character in his life ("Charity Lyrics").

In Lock Willow, Jerusha writes to Mr. Smith that she will never think of him again after his no-show at her graduation ceremony ("I Have Torn You From My Heart Lyrics"). After a few months, she writes that her first novel has been accepted by a publisher, and enclosed a check of $1000 as a first installment of her repayment of her college fees. She then tells that she will continue to repay her debt to him, and all future loyalties will proceed to the John Grier Home, making her a trustee and therefore, meeting him at last. Jervis is overwhelmed by this gesture and overjoyed over her success as a writer ("My Manhattan (Reprise)").

Jervis visits Jerusha in Lock Willow to ask her hand in marriage. Unable to tell him of her origins, she turns him down, thinking that he and his family might feel indifferent towards her when she does tell him. In her final letter, Jerusha declares her love for Jervis, and appeals for a personal meeting with Mr. Smith. Jervis, writing as Mr. Smith, agrees to meet her.

Jerusha finally arrives at their meeting place, and is surprised to see Jervis, whom she initially and skeptically assumes to be Mr. Smith's secretary. Jervis finally reveals to her that he is Mr. Smith or Daddy Long Legs. Distressed over this revelation, as well as realising that he has read her private letters about him, Jerusha accuses him of playing with her feelings and the mere fact that he didn't even write back over the course of four years, which Jervis acquiesces to ("I'm A Beast (Reprise) Lyrics"). At last, he declares his love for Jerusha, which she reciprocates. Jerusha finally understands the grand scheme of things that led her to where she is now ("All This Time Lyrics").

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Plot Synopsis to Daddy Long Legs the Musical