After obtaining the newly released public staging rights, Fine Linen Theatre will be one of the first community theatre organizations in Missouri to put on their latest musical, Daddy Long Legs.


After obtaining the newly released public staging rights, Fine Linen Theatre will be one of the first community theatre organizations in Missouri to put on their latest musical, Daddy Long Legs.

The musical features a cast of only two, and a small musical ensemble of only a piano, cello and guitar. The shows cast members, Anna Nisbett and Ryan Farmer, gave a brief summary of the show, and spoke about the challenges of working as part of such a small cast, as well as what residents can get excited about when coming to see the show.

“The show is about two characters, Jerusha Abbott and Jervis Pendleton,” said Nisbett, explaining that Jerusha Abbott is an orphan living in an orphan asylum, while Jervis Pendleton is introduced one of the asylum’s trustees.

Nisbett explained the plot of the show begins as Pendleton reads one of Abbott’s essays and decides to send her to college, but his condition are that she is not to know anything about him, and must write him a letter once every month.

“She starts writing these ludicrously expressive letters,” said Nisbett, who talked about her character’s vivid imagination in the show.

Farmer, who plays Pendleton, said that as Abbott continues to write to his character, she only as her imagination to rely on, and invents her own image of the man paying her tuition. As the show is set in the early 1900’s, there’s no easy method of communication, and the letters are the only means of exchanging information.

Nisbett and Farmer relay the characters’ story to the audience all on their own. Nisbett herself has no opportunities to take a break backstage outside of intermission, and Farmer said his own exits from the stage are few.

“This is a new experience for me,” he said. “I’ve never experienced anything other than a large ensemble.” Farmer said it was a refreshing experience being able to work with a single person, and Nisbett said the small cast has helped them, along with the show’s director Kim Nisbett, to grow into a team. According to Farmer, this has also allowed them to have more influence in how they develop their characters, as they have more opportunities to speak with the director about how to bring them to life.

The cast members said there were a few challenges to putting the show together, but ones that have allowed a lot of creativity. Nisbett spoke about the set for the production, which is for the most part similar to most, but has a twist.

“You have the base set, but then you have nine different trunks that we use as the rest of the set,” she explained. Throughout the show, Nisbett said, she is arranging and rearranging various trunks around the stage to create different scenes and props. Each scene has it’s own configuration and has to be arranged precisely to make the set work.

“Honestly the trunks have taken on life of their own,” joked Farmer. “It’s almost like they’re our cast mates because we use them so much. We’ve even named them.” Farmer added it’s been a fun challenge working with an inanimate object so closely.

When asked what makes the show so special, and why Fine Linen wanted to jump on the rights to stage it as soon as they became available, both Farmer and Nisbett agreed the music was one of the most influential elements.

“The melodies are fantastic,” said Farmer. “It’s not something people would probably recognize right away…but I think everyone will instantly fall in love with the music. He said the music is a mix of different styles, such as folk and classical and even blues.

Upon seeing the show and hearing the music, Anna Nisbett said Kim immediately had the whole family see it at the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, a professional theatre company.

The first showing of Fine Linen’s production of Daddy Long Legs will be 7 p.m. on Jan. 19, and will run until the 27th, with no showings on Sunday, Jan 21, or Wednesday, Jan 24.