997 North American Musical Theatre Premiere Revisits Ashland University Stage

10/19/11 ASHLAND, OH -- With more than 30 University and community performers in the cast, Ashland University Department of Theatre revisits the musical Whistle Down the Wind 14 years after presenting the North American Premiere with the composer Richard Taylor in residence.

Directed by Professor of Theatre Ric Goodwin, the performances are staged in Ashland University's Hugo Young Theatre for 7:30 p.m. curtains on Oct. 28, Oct. 29, Nov. 4 and 5, and at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 30. There will be a talkback after the Nov. 4 performance and a reception with the 1997 and 2011 cast and crew after the Nov. 5 performance.

As the second production in the 2011-2012 Season of Turning Points, Whistle Down The Wind is a musical story about faith, conviction and the fragile optimism of youth based on the adaptation of Mary Haley Bell's celebrated novel (1958) and film (1961) starring her daughter Hayley Mills. Set in a small village in Lancashire, England, three rural children discover a wounded fugitive hiding in their barn believing "The Man" to be Jesus. While the children harbor the stranger in a vow of secrecy, he is ultimately betrayed when the adults rush to "save" their children with sorrowful consequences.

Although the English composer will not be able to attend this production, Ric Goodwin returns as the director with senior music education major Eddie Carney (Madison, Ohio) as the musical director.  As presented in the 1997 production, the cast includes many University students as well as youth from the Ashland community. Lead roles include senior musical theatre majors Drew Rothhaar (Mansfield) as "The Man" and Madeline Beer (Shelby) as "Cathy," sophomore theatre major Rebecca Ribley (Medina) as "Nan," and Taft Elementary School sixth grade student Andrew Prezioso (Ashland) as "Charles." Secondary roles are played by University students Jay Kunzi (Pataskala) as "Raymond," Nick Seemann (Akron) as "Jackie Greenwood," Kim Lennox (Columbus) as "Salvation Army woman," Jacob Haury (Rittman) as "Dad," Emily Plank (West Salem) as "Auntie," Jacob Poiner (Wellington) as "Policeman," Benjamin Black (Akron) as "the Vicar," Kelli Lennox (Columbus) as "Miss Lodge," Kelsey Bowens (Willoughby) as "Elizabeth," Katie Mounts (Greenwich) as "Mrs. Pembridge" and Tim Bradbury (New Albany) as "Eddie."

The 12 youth disciples in the production include Beer, Prezioso, Ribley, Bowens, Seemann and freshman theatre major Kelly Hogan (Dublin), along with Ashland area residents Haley Barker (Crestview Middle School), Luke Blackley (Taft Elementary School), Leah DeBracy (Taft Elementary School), Alexia Gerber (Mansfield Spanish Immersion School), Clara Kral (Edison Elementary School) and Drew Schaly (St. Edward School). Additional youth chorus members include freshman theatre major Taylor Stepp (Atwater), Ashland Middle School student Lexi Portner along with Northwestern High School students Maya Rickard and Lainy Spies. Chorus members portraying additional village parents include University students Austin Arnold (Chardon), Malyn Collins (Lancaster), Emily Jeppesen (Jefferson), Teah Kullman (East Canton), Christian Neely (Amherst), David Wagar (Wadsworth) and Brandon Wurgess (Fremont).

The production's scenic and lighting designs are created by Assistant Professor of Theatre Scott Chapman while visiting Assistant Professor of Theatre Pamela Workman designed the costumes with support from University student Bret Cowden as assistant costume designer. Hilary Rheinheimer (Cleveland) serves as the show's stage manager, Nathaniel Sayatovich (McConnellsville) is the assistant director and youth director, and Brittany Hartman (Strongsville) is choreographer.

Single tickets for the performances are $10 for adults; $9 for senior citizens, students, University faculty/staff; $8 for groups of 10 or more; and $2 for Ashland University students.

To purchase tickets, call the Ashland University Box Office at 419-289-5125, Monday through Friday, 12 noon to 6 p.m., or purchase online 24/7 at www.ashland.edu/tickets (additional fees apply). For more information about the department of theatre, visit www.ashland.edu/theatre, find us on Facebook or contact Tricia Applegate, coordinator of performing arts publicity and events, at 419-289-5950 or tapplega@ashland.edu.

Ashland University, ranked in the top 200 colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report's National Universities category for 2012, is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University (www.ashland.edu) values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students.