Davis Gaines and Irene Molloy will play the two leads in Andrew Lloyd Webber's new musical, Whistle Down the Wind, opening in December in Washington DC, and on Broadway in April 1996.
Theatre buffs know "Irene Molloy" as the prettiest ploy in Mrs. Dolly Levi's matchmaking bag of tricks. Now, they'll know her as the hitherto unknown actress who snapped up one of the most coveted roles of the Broadway season -- "Swallow," the teenager who befriends a mysterious stranger in Whistle Down the Wind.
The Really Useful Company has announced that the 17-year-old Philadelphia native landed the female lead in the musical scheduled to open at Broadway's Martin Beck Theatre April 17.
Gaines, who wraps up playing the title role of Phantom of the Opera on Broadway (and has, indeed played it more times than any other actor), will play the stranger- known only as the Man-- whom the teenage girl discovers in her father's barn. The father will be played by another of Broadway's Phantoms, Timothy Nolen. Rounding the brood, in their Broadway bows, are Abbi Hutcherson and Cameron Bowen. Their Aunt Dot is played by Candy Buckley, a 1994-95 Drama Desk Award nominee for The Petrified Prince.
Lacey Hornkohl, from Smokey Joe's Cafe and Grease!, will play the role of Candy, a spirited teenage girl who wants to escape life in the small town.Future casting details will be announced later. The show requires a cast of 35 actors, including 14 young performers.
Whistle Down the Wind will have its limited nine week premiere engagement at the National Theatre in Washington DC, Dec. 9, 1996 to Feb. 9, 1997.
Jim Steinman has supplied lyrics to the music of Andrew Lloyd Webber, who collaborated on the book with Patricia Knop. The scenic design is by Andrew Jackness, costumes by Florence Klotz, lighting by Howell Binkley and sound design my Martin Levan. The choreography is by Joey McKneely, and the orchestrations are by David Cullen and the composer. The entire production is directed by Harold Prince, a 20-time Tony Award-winner.
The show is based on an original novel by Mary Hayley Bell, and it was turned into a film vehicle for her daughter, Hayley Mills. Richard Attenborough produced, and Bryan Forbes directed the 1961 picture from a screenplay by Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall. Alan Bates and Bernard Lee co-starred.
It's musical adaptation shifts the setting from England's North Country to America's South -- a backwater town in 1950s Louisiana, just before Christmas.
The story concerns three children who find a stranger hiding in their barn and conceal their discovery form the town's grownups, who at the same time are protecting the children with a secret of their own. As the adults search for an escaped convict, a young girl finds a faith strong enough to redeem not only the stranger, but her father, her family and the whole town as well.
-- By Harry Haun