2007 Student Research Conference:
20th Annual Student Research Conference


Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Whistle Down the Wind: An Example of Musical Theatre as Religious Ritual and Spiritual Experience
Elizabeth H. O'Brien
Prof. Shirley McKamie, Faculty Mentor

Theatre began as a religious ritual used to explain the true meanings behind the myths to the initiates of the Greek Mystery Cult of Dionysus. Because theatre originally contained song, the musical is theatre’s natural form. Music is used by religions all over the world as a vehicle for connecting to the divine, therefore musical theatre may be considered an even more spiritual art form. The modern musical still follows the definition of religious ritual, and as can be seen with Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Whistle Down the Wind, musicals can contain deep spiritual themes. In addition to being influenced by (and in fact created from) religious ritual, musical theatre has also had a significant effect on religious ceremonies in the past few decades. Musical theatre, rather than being looked down upon as a vacant genre, should perhaps be revered for its deeply spiritual roots and nature.

Keywords: musical theatre, religious ritual, origin of theatre, Andrew Lloyd Webber


Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 38-2
Location: OP 2210
Time: 1:30 pm

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