The setting: A small town in Louisiana in the 1950's, just before Christmas
Note: This is entirely from memory. If you have seen Whistle more recently and nociced a flaw in this synopsis, please tell me.
Plot synopsis: As the curtain goes up, a church service is in progress. The choir is singing ("Vaults of Heaven")as a young boy is baptized. As the service ends, three children, Swallow (Irene Molloy), Brat (Abbi Hutcherson), and Poor Baby (Cameron Bowen)disover that three kittens are to be drowned and save them from the river. Poor Baby is dissappointed when Swallow gives him the runt of the litter, but he names it Spider in opes that it will become strong with a little love ("Spider"). Meanwhile, the adults in the town hear the news that there is an escaped killer on the run, getting nearer to their town every day. The children return home and hide the kittens in the barn. They return home and are scolded by their father, Boone (Timothy Nolen) and Aunt Dot (Candy Buckley) for taking so long coming home. The children are frustrated becasue the grownups dont understand them ("Grownups Kill Me"). Poor Baby asks Boone if they can have a Christmas bonfire. Boone replies that they don't have enough money. Poor Baby says that if their mother were alive, she would think of a way. Boone and the other children agree, they miss their mother ("Whistle Down the Wind"). Swallow wanders out to the barn and sits on a high bail of hay. In a melancholy mood, she asks heraelf "I wonder if human beings can fly?" and jumps onto a lower level, only to discover that she has landed on a mysterious stranger (Davis Gaines). He is delerious from pain, and when Swallow asks him who he is, he is anonished to see her and mutters "Jesus Christ!" before collapsing. Swallow therefore believes that he is Jesus. Brat and Poor Baby discover her in the barn, and the three make a vow never to tell anyone else about the stranger ("The Vow"). They are afraid that the grownups would only kill him again. In the town, the growups praise their town as being a safe place, but wonder if it can stay that way with the killer on the loose ("Safe Haven"). Two teenagers, Candy (Lacey Hornkohl) and Amos (Steve Scott Springer) are plotting to leave town the following night on Amos's motorcycle ("Tire Tracks and Broken Hearts"). Back at the barn, Swallow laments the loss of her moher and wonders if miracles can happen ("If Only"). Candy and Amos dance in a bar in town ("Cold"). The next day, at choir rehearsal, the children hatch a plot so they can leae early to go see "Jesus". By this point Brat and Poor Baby have told all the children about him. They sing the wrong words to Christmas songs and march triunphantly to the barn, having been kicked out of rehearsal, to see "Jesus". ("When Children Rule the World"). They ask the man to tell them a story, but he doesnt know any Bible stories, so he reads out of the newspaper. The children protest, and ask him to tell them a story about Christmas, so he told the a story about Annie Christmas, a tough woman who wore a long necklace "with a bead for ever ear and nose she had bitten off, as the story goes" to impress her would-be husband ("Annie Christmas"). The children search for a moral but can't find one. Still, their faith is not shaken, and they pledge absolute loyalty to the stranger, promising to do anything for him ("No Matter What"). The adults come in, and the children rush to hide the man ("Finale"). The adults dont see him, and everything is fine, for now. At the beginning of Act Two, Boone finds a wine bottle in the barn and, becasue he doesn't kno about the stranger, assumes that Swallow has been drinking. He lectures her and punishes her, but that night she sneaks out to the barn anyway. Amos is waiting for her, and he tels her that he is going to leave, but that he has always loved her. Swallow is appalled; she has no interest in Amos, and he is obviously interested in more than talk. The man sees that Swallow is in danger, and as Amos professes his love, the man vows to kill him if he lays a hand on Swallow ("A Kiss is a Terrible Thing to Waste"). But Amos doesnt do anything, and Swallow asks him if he can take her to the train tracks to pick up a package that was to be left there for the mysterious stranger. He agrees and they ride off to get it, leaving Candy alone and wondering where Amos is ("Tire Tracks and Broken Hearts"). Swallow is nearly hit by a train getting the package, but Amos saves her. They are discovered by the police, who agree not to tell their parents this time, and are sent home. When Swallow arrives home, she sees that Spider has died and Poor Baby is mourning for him. He asks the same question that Swallow has asked so many times before, why do people (or kittens) die? They seek the answer from "Jesus" who only tells another story about Annie Christmas. the next day, Swallow asks the preacher, but he can't answer her question either. Meanwhile, Aunt Dot and the other adults have fallen in with snake handlers. Swallow finds them in the tent, and saves aunt Dot just as a snake was abut to bite her ("Wrestle With the Devil"). They return home. Swallow goes back out to the barn, and the man, disgusted with himself, tells her that he is not Jesus, that he is just as horrible and human as everyone else ("Nature of the Beast"). The adults, by this time, have discovered the man and that he is the killer they have been searching for. They come to the barn with guns, ready to kill him, and he points the gun that was in his package at Swallow, telling her that he wont really shot her. she believes him and allows herself to be taken hostage. The other children come up and stand around the man, so that the adults can't shoot him without danger of shooting the children too ("When Children Rule the World"). The man lets Swallow go and runs back into the barn. Amos blows up the barn and the man dies. Swallow and the children are horrified, saying that the grownups killed Jesus again. When they go back to the house Aunt Dot turns on the radio and hears a message that a man answering the killers description is heading for another town (I'm not really sure what interpretation that is supposed to have). The family has become closer throuh this incident, they come to terms with death and rethink their faith ("Whistle Down the Wind").
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