In the fall of 1997, Ashland University and the Ashland community celebrated the North American theatrical premiere of Richard Taylor’s musical “Whistle Down the Wind.” Fourteen years later, Ric Goodwin, Professor of Theatre at Ashland University, will revisit the “once in a lifetime opportunity” by directing the musical for a second time in the fall of 2011. Although the show doesn’t open until the end of October, Goodwin will begin his search for youth cast members by hosting a youth musical theatre workshop this summer on August 5 and 6.
The workshop is open to area youth ages 8 to 17 years and will be led by Goodwin and the show’s musical director Eddie Carney. While focusing on the script and music of “Whistle Down the Wind,” the workshop will also include a showcase performance for parents at the conclusion of the session. Enrollment will be accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis. The cost is $25 per participant for the workshop which will be held in the Elizabeth Pastor Recital Hall in the Center for the Arts from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. Students are asked to bring a sack lunch each day for the lunch hour held from noon to 1 p.m.
At least six youth roles will be cast for the fall production including one lead character and at least five supporting characters. The show will also cast 8 to 10 additional children for the show’s youth chorus. The fall performances are scheduled for October 28 – 30 and November 4 – 5.
Ashland University’s 1997 production of “Whistle Down the Wind” hosted the musical’s composer Richard Taylor from England as the show’s musical director and had a cast of 75 people ranging in age from 8 to 22 years (not including Ashland University’s former Vice President of Student Affairs Murray Hudson). The summer workshop was also offered for the earlier production which had 45 community children and University students participate. Considered the ideal show for Ashland audiences, the script takes place in a small town and is a moving parable about faith, conviction and the fragile optimism of youth.