Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Whistle Down The Wind premiered at the Aldwych Theatre in London on 1st July 1998. The show is based on the original novel by Mary Hayley Bell and the subsequent 1960s Richard Attenborough-produced film, and follows the fortunes of a fugitive caught between the prejudice of adults and the innocence of the young.
Andrew and lyricist Jim Steinman, together with Patricia Knop and Gale Edwards (co-book writers with Andrew) relocated the original story to Louisiana in 1959, setting the action around the time and place where the word teenager was invented.
Swallow, a 15 year-old-girl growing up in America’s deep South, discovers a mysterious man hiding out in a barn. When she asks who he is and the first words he utters are “Jesus Christ”, it’s as if all her prayers have been answered. Swallow and the town’s other children vow to protect the stranger from the world that waits outside – the townspeople who are determined to catch a fugitive hiding in their midst. As fantasy and reality collide, Swallow is torn between the two and begins to discover who she is and where she is going.
Andrew’s emotive score combines hauntingly beautiful love songs and explosive rock music with lyrics by acclaimed rock’n’roll songwriter Jim Steinman. The score includes the songs ‘No Matter What’ – the Boyzone version of which reached number one in the UK charts – and the well-known title track ‘Whistle Down the Wind.’
After successfully playing at the Aldwych Theatre in London for over two years, Whistle Down The Wind undertook two UK tours and played a 2006 season at London’s Palace Theatre as well as touring the USA from 2007-2008.