Gathering Blue, the Musical

Gathering Blue, the new musical based on the book by Newbery Award winning author, Lois Lowry (The Giver and Number The Stars gets an Equity production at Gretna Theatre this summer, August 24-26, 2017.

  • Gretna Theatre, equity production, August 24-26, 2017
  • Fingerlakes Musical Theatre Festival, “The Pitch” 2012
  • Finalist, O’Neill Musical Theatre Conference, 2009
  • Full workshop production, William Inge Center for the Arts, 2008

“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

If you live or will be traveling anywhere near the Gretna Theatre (live theatre since 1927 at Mt. Gretna, Pennsylvania) on August 24-26, 2017, come out and cheer/root/clap, etc., for this wonderful new musical that tells a story about hope bravery and making the right choice, even when it means risking everything to do so!


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

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 the emotions the show illicit stir the imagination and hopes for people of all ages, gender and race.

Scenes from the musical, Gathering Blue

Book: Richard Hellesen; Co-Music/Co-Lyrics: Michael Silversher/Joy Sikorski

Based on the book by Newbery Award winning author, Lois Lowry

Photos from the William Inge Center for the Arts workshop production, courtesy of Lois Lowry and Lori Smoll

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.

{ 14 comments… add one }
  • Kim, JuHwan ,

    I am a student doing a project and I used a picture from this site. Please inform me if this picture is copyrighted.

  • Joy ,


    Thanks for having the integrity to ask. These pictures belong to Lois Lowry. I think that if you credit her name, as did above the photos on this page, you should be ok.

    I’d love to hear more about your project. What are you doing?


  • Amanda ,

    Hello! I’ve been listening to Gathering Blue virtually nonstop on audio book recently. I came across your site and show much by accident. Happy accident, as it is. I was wondering if there was a video of the show online or for purchase? I would love to see it.

  • Joy ,

    Hi Amanda,

    How nice of you to write so kindly about our Gathering Blue musical. They show is not on video at present but if we get to that point, I will be sure to let you know.
    If we had individual MP3 tracks of various songs from the show, would you be interested in that? We do not have them available right now, but it is definitely something I can ask my co-writers about!


  • Amanda Stoner ,

    That would be awesome! I’ve wanted a visual of this book for so long…Thank you so much! =D

  • Joy ,

    I’ll let you know when we have some of the songs available!
    No visuals yet, though. Sorry about that.


  • Amanda ,

    Hello! I am auditioning for the role of Kira in a few months and was wondering if there was a way to listen to some of the music (particularly her songs)? Thanks so much!

  • Singing Master ,

    Hi Amanda,

    I made a major move in the past few months so am just now getting back to comments on Singing Mastermind.

    I’m so curious about what show your Kira audition is for? There is no other musical for Gathering Blue than the one I have worked on with my collaborators, Michael Silversher and Richard Hellesen, but I know there is a play for Gathering Blue. I’d be very interested in knowing how your audition went and what songs you are referring to?


  • Hello Joy,
    I see this is from some time ago, but I am also interested to know if there are mp3 recordings available. I just learned about a production at Gretna Theatre this coming summer and I understand that there may be roles for older actors (Jamison perhaps?). Please let me know if by now there is a cast album or mp3s for downloading. Thanks.

  • Sally ,

    Is there a recording from Gathering Blue. the musical, that I could purchase? And, if so, where can I find it?

  • Singing Master ,

    Hi Skip,

    Thanks for your interest in Gathering Blue.

    In answer to your questions about Gathering Blue and Gretna, we do not yet have a cast album, and it’s best to contact Gretna about auditions because I have nothing to do with how that is being set up.

    Hope you get a shot at the audition!


  • Singing Master ,

    Hi Sally,

    Thanks so much for your interest in Gathering Blue.

    We do not yet have a cast album for the show. We are having a production at Gretna Theatre in Pennsylvania this summer, however. If you live anywhere near there, it would be wonderful if you could come and see it. Keep me posted. If you get there, I’d love to meet you!

    All my best,

  • Christina Krueger ,

    I would be interested in purchasing a video copy as well it would be helpful to see since my son is reading the book for his summer reading it would be nice to see it play out . Let me know.

  • Singing Master ,

    Hi Christina,

    We do not have a video copy for the musical.
    But the world premiere will be held August 24-26, 2017 at Gretna Theatre if you are anywhere near the area. Dramatist Guild rules do not allow us to film or sell a video at this time. Perhaps in the future…