The musical Whistle Down the Wind is being performed by the theater department of Ashland University in Ashland, OH, from Oct. 31-Nov. 8.
This is a different musical from the Andrew Lloyd Webber Whistle Down the Wind, which opened at the National Theatre in Washington DC in December 1996 and was stymied in its attempts to come to Broadway. It's now being readied for a June 1998 re-launch in London.
The musical to be presented in Ohio, like the Lloyd Webber version, is based on the novel by Mary Hayley Bell and the subsequent 1961 film of the same name, starring Hayley Mills (daughter of Mary Hayley Bell) and Alan Bates. The story revolves around a group of children who encounter a fugitive murderer and mistake him for Christ.
This musical adaptation of Whistle Down The Wind premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 1993 and then toured the U.K. for three years. It was also featured on a BBC Radio 2 special presented by Stephen Sondheim, and has, in the 18 months since its publication, been produced by 20 theatres in in the U.K.
It has a book by Russell Labey and Richard Taylor, with music and lyrics by Taylor, and is being directed by Ashland theatre professor Richard C. Goodwin. The Labey-Taylor Whistle Down the Wind was developed by the National Youth Music Theatre of Great Britain, and -- ironically enough -- it received funding from a grant awarded by Lloyd Webber.
As it turns out, Lloyd Webber was so taken with the premiere production of the show in Edinburgh that he set out to write his own adaptation of Whistle Down the Wind.
For ticket information, call (419) 289-5125.
-- By Rebecca Paller