“Whistle Down the Wind”, now playing at the Stevensville Playhouse, is a very interesting choice for this theater! This is one of Webber’s least-known musicals, and it never made it to Broadway for who knows what reason. I can guess… the musical score is very challenging, especially in the wide range for each singer. It is difficult to perform, even for professional theaters.
The other point that makes it interesting is the plot. An escaped prisoner is mistakenly taken as being the ‘returned Jesus’ by a town citizen who needs to find someone who she feels cares about her. She sees injuries on the prisoner’s hands and feet, and jumps to an erroneous conclusion. Of course, he is not Jesus, but it takes a while for him to say so. The town goes crazy with emotional reaction, based on their hopes and dreams of faith… and their willingness to believe the error.
I do agree with the local director’s opinion that the show can make a person question his or her own gullibility as to in-whom faith is placed, which is probably the author’s main point of intent and possibly another reason for the show’s lack of extended runs across the country.
However, this does NOT say that the show should be ignored or unattended. It is worth seeing. The cast has worked very hard to present this show, and deserves your support. In accordance with the principles of the Playhouse, a cross section of local talent and age levels is evident, and combined to give a positive experience in theater arts for all involved.
I applaud the cast for what they have achieved in spite of the difficult score.