Gathering Blue the Musical

Gathering Blue, the musical based on the book by Newbery Award winning author, Lois Lowry

Playwright: Richard Hellesen; Co-Music/Co-Lyrics: Michael Silversher and Joy Sikorski
Gretna Theatre, equity production, August 24-26, 2017
Fingerlakes Musical Theatre Festival, “The Pitch” 2012
Finalist, O’Neill Musical Theatre Conference, 2009
Workshop production, William Inge Center for the Arts, 2008, directed by Peter Ellenstein

“It’s an incredible show. My thanks go to playwright Richard Hellesen, and to co-composers/co-lyricists Michael Silversher and Joy Sikorski, as well as director Peter Ellenstein.” – Lois Lowry

“One of the best shows for family audiences out there. Gathering Blue the Musical should be in every community!” – Audience member at The Pitch in the Fingerlakes Musical Theatre Festival

Workshop scenes from Gathering Blue the musical

Workshop photos courtesy of Lois Lowry and Lori Smoll

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Gathering Blue the Musical

Gathering Blue the Musical takes the characters and settings of Lois Lowry’s famous story and brings them to life on stage with heart-warming songs and a brilliant dialogue that stays as close as possible to the original story.

It has been called a “cross-generational” show because the message of Gathering Blue is timeless, and it stirs the imagination and hopes for people of all ages, gender and race.

Gathering Blue the Story as explained by Wikipedia:

Gathering Blue is a 2000 children’s, social science fiction, dystopian novel by noted children’s author Lois Lowry. The book is a companion novel to The Giver (1993), and is followed by Messenger (2004), and Son (2012) in The Giver Quartet. It is set in the same future time period and it treats some of the same themes. The central character, Kira, who has a twisted leg, is orphaned and must learn to survive in a society which normally leaves the weak or disabled exposed to die in the fields. In Gathering Blue Kira needs a reason for the Council of Edifice to keep her in the village and not take her to the Field. Along the way she meets characters such as Matt and his dog (Branchie), Thomas, Jo, and Christopher (Kira’s dad). For Kira, finding Blue dyes is the best thing for her. Along the way, she learns more about the truth of her village and the terrible secrets they hold.

This book considers one of the possibilities which humankind might face in the future. Gathering Blue clearly takes place in a dystopian society. People live in primitive, animalistic ways and must revert to aggressive behavior to survive. Children are beaten and penned up like animals so that they do not interfere with the work of the adults. There is a cripple named Kira,who has a twisted leg.

However, it appears that an outlet exists whereby the community might be re-created into a more fulfilling way of life. Some of the characters (Kira, Thomas, and Jo) are born with a mystical, Kahuna-like skill; a nearly magical unity with a certain craft or capacity. In Kira, thread and color seem to take on life of their own, creating wonderful and sometimes prophetic images. Thomas can do the same with woodcarving, and Jo with music.

Kira is often kept company by a mischievous boy called Matt, who looks to Kira much as he would look to a generous, indulgent, but incorrupt older sister. It is Matt who unwittingly reveals the flaws in society to Kira, who conveys them to Thomas. Ultimately the artists realize that they were purposely made orphans by the Council of Guardians, the group which rules their country. The said Council makes every deceptive effort to keep the artists under its control, but fails because of Kira and Matt.

It is likewise shown by Matt that another village exists, where in all is kindness and healing. No one is scorned or snubbed therein; they are instead encouraged to fulfill their dreams and love one another. There, Kira’s father Christopher dwells, having been driven from home by the Guardian Jamison, who tried to kill him. Kira is offered a place in this Village of healing, but refuses it on the grounds that she may help her own people with her knowledge and her creative powers.

There is a reference made by Matt to a boy of Kira’s age, who has a name of two syllables, is eligible for marriage, and has eyes of “a very amazing blue”. Throughout the story, the color blue is used as a metaphor for freedom and limitlessness; Matt’s delivery of it to Kira marks the beginning of her creative community reforms. The boy in question is generally understood to be Jonas of The Giver, although there is no evidence of this, since his name is not mentioned.

Several of the characters reappear in Messenger (2004), which forms the third installment in the Giver Quartet. A fourth book, Son (2012) threads all the stories together.


  1. Excited for this!

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