‘Whistle Down the Wind’ premieres at St. Mark’s

In “Whistle Down the Wind,” three children (Mason Wold, Riley Ebner and Ellie Peterson) find a man (Andy Peterson) in their barn and mistake him for a Messiah. (photos by Heather Edwards/Review)

“Whistle Down the Wind” is set in a small Southern town during the late 1950s. The town is disrupted when a fugitive is found hiding in a barn.

Musical is lesser-known Andrew Lloyd Webber work

For most people, the name Andrew Lloyd Webber is associated with Broadway hits such as  “Phantom of the Opera” and “Cats“.  However, among Webber ‘s plays is a lesser -known, beautifully haunting musical called  “Whistle Down the Wind,” and St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in North St. Paul is currently presenting it.

Set in 1959, the production is centered around a fugitive and the three children who find him in their family barn. When 15-year-old Swallow asks who he is and the first words out of his mouth are the strained exclamation “Jesus Christ!” she thinks there’s a miracle in their midst.

Conflict arises as the children of the town struggle to protect the man while the churchgoing townspeople hunt for the fugitive and hope to bring him to justice.

Judy Larkins, who founded the drama program at St. Mark’s over 30 years ago, fell in love with the  “Whistle Down the Wind” score in 2007 when the touring production came to St. Paul. She has been hoping to bring the musical to St. Mark’s ever since, but the script was unavailable as it underwent rewrites. The script is tighter and more cohesive in its latest adaptation, Larkins says.

Larkins, who is directing  “Whistle Down the Wind,” calls it  “passionate, romantic, mysterious  and a challenge for the theatre company.”

There are 50 members in the cast, 20 of them children, and the show calls for an elaborate special effect near the end.

Larkins believes St. Mark’s is the first non-professional theater organization granted the rights to perform “Whistle Down the Wind.”

The production runs Nov. 21-24; tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for seniors.

Tickets can be reserved online at www.stmarks@nsp.org or by calling 777-7451 ext. 20.


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