Courtesy of Nour Tantush

Laughter, love and lyrics abound in “Daddy Long Legs,” a musical running this weekend.

The two-person musical, co-directed and performed by Lucas Oland ’26 and Ava-Riley Miles ’26, is based on the classic novel by Jean Webster. The musical follows Jerusha — played by Miles — as she navigates a transition between her orphanage and college. Throughout the story, she writes letters to her mysterious benefactor “Daddy Long Legs,” whom the audience knows as Jervis, played by Oland. As the two begin to fall in love, a comedic romance of dramatic irony ensues.

“Our show should be one where people are leaving really excited to be involved with theater,” Oland said. “It’s a celebration of musical theater and the work we put into the show.”

This musical is a passion project for Miles, an English and theater double major, and Oland, a neuroscience major. The two began working on the project together in January when Miles approached Oland with the score.

After Oland listened to the soundtrack and fell in love with it, the pair decided to pursue the project together. 

Since the two make up the entire cast, their directorial approach was more conversational than instructional. 

“We come into every rehearsal, kind of like, ‘okay, what feels natural?’ and then we work from there,” Miles said. “It’s much less having someone tell you ‘And now you stand here, and you walk here.’ It’s more like figuring it out.”

The show’s intimacy is supported by the technical elements of the production. The set is fairly simple. It uses moveable trunks on one side and office furniture on another to “split” the set down the middle, differentiating between Jerusha’s environment and Jervis’s office. 

Lighting is also used to distinguish between environments.

There are no blackouts in between scenes, so characters move set pieces while engaging in dialogue. Miles rearranges the trunks in unique ways to establish settings like a log cabin, mountain or her college room.

“We’re really using the suspension of disbelief,” Miles said.

Additionally, most of the show involves Jerusha writing letters to her benefactor, which she does by singing out and facing the audience. This results in the production having the feel of a three-person cast comprising Jerusha, Jervis and the audience itself. 

Music plays a distinct role in the production. Music not only plays during elements where cast members are singing, but it also underscores many of the dialogue scenes.

The varying presence of music in the show allows for originality and inventiveness. 

“There’s so much room for your own creativity,” said musical director Lauren Kim ’26. “It can be challenging, but also a really cool experience.”

The musical ensemble is also intimate, consisting of a piano, cello and guitar. 

Though the cast is small, the laughter and love in this show will be big, according to the directors.

“I think it’s nice every once in a while to see a show that just leaves you feeling good,” said Miles.

Daddy Long Legs will play March 29 and 30 in the Saybrook Underbrook.

Luciana Varkevisser covers theater and performances. She is a freshman in Saybrook College planning on majoring in history and psychology.