The Story
Whistle Down The Wind
Music
ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER

Lyrics
JIM STEINMAN

Book
PATRICIA KNOP, GALE EDWARDS & ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER
Based on the novel of the same name by Mary Hayley Bell, the setting was moved from Lancashire to small town Louisiana in 1959. It tells the story of three children - 16 year old Swallow, sister Bluejay (known as Brat), and younger brother Robin (known as Poor Baby) - as they approach their first Christmas since the death of their mother. Discovering an escaped criminal hiding in their barn, they become convinced that he is Jesus, and agree to keep his location secret. The plot contrasts the innocence of the children with the fervour of the town's residents to inflict punishment on the supposed evil in their midst.

PHOTOS
Various Productions
Artworks/ Posters

VIDEOS
David Gaines and the 1996 Washington DC cast performing 'No Matter What'.

MUSIC
No Matter What
Marcus Lovett & Children
Original Cast Recording

THE STORY

ACT ONE

The show begins in a small church in Louisiana. We join the action just as the congregation are about to sing a song- Vaults of Heaven. After the song, the preacher concludes his sermon, and the congregation go their separate ways- we see the kids running and playing (Overture), and we are soon introduced to Swallow, Brat and Poor Baby. Poor Baby complains that "I Never Get What I Pray For", before they meet Ed, who is about to drown some kittens- Swallow manages to save them and the kids realise that they should have been "Home By Now". We also meet Earl, who is looking for a place to put up a tent for a revival meeting, where "folks go to dance with snakes" in order to test their faith in Jesus. Back at their home, their father Boone tries to convince them that "It Just Doesn't Get Any Better Than This", before recalling what his wife used to say- "Whistle Down The Wind". As Poor Baby puts it, 'Ma sang it better', and Swallow leaves to go feed the kittens, while singing "Whistle Down The Wind" to herself. In the barn, she prays that God will look after the kittens, but is startled by a loud cry, and a man jumps out at her. When she asks who he is, he only manages to moan "Jesus Christ.." before he collapses. She, Brat and Poor Baby promise they won't tell anyone that he is there; "The Vow,".

The scene shifts to a bar where Ed is singing "Cold" to entertain the townspeople. The Sheriff arrives at the bar to warn the town that there is an escaped killer on the loose, and that he could be hiding out nearby. We move back to the barn where The Man wakes to find himself surrounded by children, who all promise to take care of him and to keep his existence a secret. Left alone, he sings of "Unsettled Scores". Later that night, Swallow brings him some food, and asks him if he will bring her mother back; "Being the Son of God, it can't be that difficult for you!". She sings "If Only", thinking of the way she wishes things could be.

We then meet Candy, a young black girl, and Amos, a white boy, who sing of longing to get away from the town they live in, to a place they can be free; "Tire Tracks and Broken Hearts". The townspeople sing of how the town used to be, and what it must be again- "Safe Haven".

The children are discussing what it would mean if the mysterious man really was Jesus Christ, and what a difference it would make to their lives; "Long Overdue For A Miracle". They realise that if they do everything right, they could save him, and that this could be the night "When Children Rule The World". In the barn, they beg The Man to tell them a story, and he complies, telling them a story which he says will be in the next Testament;-), "Annie Christmas" When he finishes, they ask repeatedly what the moral is, and when he admits that he doesn't know, they offer him gifts and promise that "No Matter What", they'll always love him. Above the stage, we see the adults preparing to hunt down the escaped killer, their anger in complete contrast to the children's innocence and happiness.


ACT TWO

The second act begins with the townspeople once again preparing to hunt down the killer (Safe Haven Reprise), and we see The Man and Swallow in the barn below. The Man asks Swallow to retrieve a package for him, 4 miles away at the train tunnel, and on noticing that she is shaking, tells her to "Try Not To Be Afraid". Amos arrives at the barn to visit Swallow before he leaves town with Candy, and asks if she will tell him her big secret before he goes. He says if they share secrets, they'll have to seal them with a kiss, and that "A Kiss Is A Terrible Thing To Waste". The Man, hiding in the barn, overhears their conversations and joins in as Amos sings the song, realising that they seem to correspond to his life- "The emptiest words that there'll ever be, it could have been me- it could have been me." Swallow asks Amos to take her to the train tunnel before he can kiss her. There, she retrieves the package, but is almost killed by a train, though Amos manages to push her out of the way in time. Saying "You saved my life Amos! That means I owe you one now", she tells him her secret: "What would you say if I told you Jesus had come back? He's back Amos! Jesus is in my barn!". They are interrupted by the Sheriff, who thinks he has discovered the killer, and is rather disappointed to find it is only Swallow and Amos! We also see Earl, who has been hiding in the train tunnel the whole time, and has overheard Swallow's secret. At home, Swallow finds Poor Baby, who is upset because his kitten, which he asked "Jesus" to look after, has died; Swallow suggests they ask "Jesus" why he allowed the kitten to die- "If Only (Reprise)" In the barn, The Man tells them another story to explain why the kitten died- "Charlie Christmas", saying that everyone dies in the end,"even the cat, even old Charlie...even your mother."

On the highway, we see Candy waiting for Amos; "Off Ramp Exit To Paradise", but when he eventually turns up, its only to ask her where Swallow is, as he says she's in trouble. When he runs off, Candy meets Earl, who says he knows Swallow's big secret, and knows why Amos is rushing off in such a hurry. When he tells Candy, she decides to get back at Amos and Swallow by telling the whole town Swallow's secret, interrupting the revival meeting- "Wrestle With The Devil". The townspeople decide that the killer has to be found once and for all, in order to save the children- "The Hunt".

Swallow runs back to the barn to warn The Man that the whole town are heading for the barn to catch him- when he says he will have to try and run for it, she begs him to stay, promising that she will protect him. He tries to make her realize that she is not the person she thinks he is- "Nature of the Beast"-, but she says that she realises that now, and simply needs him to be whoever he is. When the townspeople get to the barn, they find it surrounded by the kids who are determined not to let them hurt The Man. Swallow is trapped in the barn with him, and he says he will take her hostage, but quickly changes his mind and instead pushes her out of the barn to safety. Left alone, he sets fire to the barn, so that when Swallow manages to get back in, there's no trace of him left. Swallow is convinced he hasn't left for good- "He'll be back...I just know he will.", and her father tries to make her see that he wasn't Jesus. She still isn't completely convinced, asking "But how do you know?". The family, together again, sing "Whistle Down The Wind".

LIBRETTO

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CAST & CREATIVES
Creative
Producer THE REALLY USEFUL COMPANY
Direction GALE EDWARDS
Musical Staging ANTHONY VAN LAAST
Orchestrations ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER & DAVID CULLEN
Scenic Design PETER J. DAVISON
Costume Design ROGER KIRK
Lighting Design MARK McKULLOUGH
Sound Design MARTIN LEVAN
Cast
The Man MARCUS LOVETT
Swallow LOTTIE MAYOR
Amos DEAN COLLINSON
Candy VERONICA HART
Boone JAMES GRAEME
Edward WALTER REYNOLDS
Earl PAUL LOWE
Sheriff JOHN TURNER
Creative
Direction HAROLD PRINCE
Cast
The Man DAVIS GAINES
Swallow IRENE MOLLOY
MUSICAL NUMBERS
ACT ONE

The Vaults of HeavenMinster, Baptist Congregation
OvertureThe Orchestra
I Never Get What I Pray ForSwallow, Brat, Poor Baby
Home By NowSwallow, Brat, Poor Baby
It Just Doesn't Get Any Better Than ThisBoone
Whistle Down the WindBoone, Swallow
The VowSwallow, Brat, Poor Baby
ColdEdward, Townspeople
Unsettled ScoresThe Man
If OnlyThe Man, Swallow
Tire Tracks and Broken HeartsAmos, Candy
Safe HavenTownspeople
Long Overdue for a MiracleThe Children
When Children Rule the WorldThe Children
Annie ChristmasThe Man
No Matter WhatThe Man, The Children


ACT TWO

Try Not to be AfraidThe Man, Swallow
A Kiss is a Terrible Thing to WasteAmos, The Man, Swallow
If Only (Reprise)Swallow, Poor Baby
Charlie ChristmasThe Man, Swallow, Brat, Poor Baby
Off Ramp Exit to ParadiseCandy
Safe Haven (Reprise)Townspeople
Wrestle With the DevilPreacher, Candy, Amos, Townspeople
The HuntSheriff, Townspeople, The Children
Nature of the BeastThe Man, Swallow
Whistle Down the WindBoone, Swallow, Brat, Poor Baby

The Light In The Piazza
Jekyll & Hyde
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
SIGHTS & SOUNDS

Various Productions
Artworks/ Posters

David Gaines and the 1996 Washington DC cast performing 'No Matter What'.

No Matter What Marcus Lovett & Children Original Cast Recording
leonardsiron leonardsiron

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