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The Scarlet Pimpernel

Full Length Musical, Drama  /  2f, 3m

Book and Lyrics by Nan Knighton / Music by Frank Wildhorn / Based on the Novel The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy / Original Broadway Production Produced by Radio City Entertainment and Ted Forstmann / With Pierre Cossette, Bill Haber, Hallmark Entertainment and Kathleen Raitt

A swashbuckling action/adventure musical! Based on Baroness Orczy’s famous 20th-century novel, The Scarlet Pimpernel dramatizes the French Revolution and the battle for Liberty, Equality and Fraternity.
  • Cast Size
    Cast Size
    2f, 3m
  • Duration
    Duration
    More than 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • SubGenre
    Subgenre
    Adventure, Adaptations (Literature), Period, Docudrama/Historic
  • Audience
    Target Audience
    Appropriate for all audiences
Accolades
Accolades
  • Nominee: Three 1998 Tony Awards, including Best Musical
    Nominee: Two 1998 Drama Desk Awards, including Outsanding Music
    Winner! 1998 Theatre World Award (Douglas Sills)
Licence details
  • Licensing fees and rental materials quoted upon application.
The Scarlet Pimpernel

Details

Summary

The Scarlet Pimpernel is a swashbuckling action/adventure musical, based on Baroness Orczy’s famous 20th-century novel about the French Revolution and the battle for Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. With an epic, sweeping book by Nan Knighton and a rousing and passionate score by Knighton and Frank Wildhorn, The Scarlet Pimpernel is a colorful window into 18th century French and British history. The show’s most popular numbers include “Into The Fire,” “When I Look At You,” “You Are My Home,” “She Was There,” and “I’ll Forget You.”

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History
The Scarlet Pimpernel played on Broadway in a progressive series of three different versions for a total of 772 performances at the Minskoff and Neil Simon Theatres. The original cast featured Christine Andreas, Terrence Mann, and Douglas Sills. The third and final version was authorized for licensing.
Cast Attributes
  • Expandable casting
  • Strong Role for Leading Man (Star Vehicle)
  • Strong Role for Leading Woman (Star Vehicle)
Keywords
Performing Groups
  • High School/Secondary
  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Dinner Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Large Stage

Act I

Paris. May of 1794. At the bloody peak of the French Revolution, the beautiful actress Marguerite St. Just falls in love with an Englishman, Sir Percival "Percy" Blakeney. After a whirlwind courtship, she announces their engagement at her farewell performance at the Comedie Francaise ("Storybook"). Chauvelin, a high-ranking revolutionary official and Marguerite's former lover, is furious. On the night Marguerite leaves for England with Percy and her brother, Armand, Chauvelin blackmails her into giving him secret information about the Marquis de St. Cyr, a friend of Percy's whom Chauvelin promises will not be harmed. But Chauvelin uses this information to trap and execute St. Cyr and his family, along with scores of other innocent Frenchmen ("Madame Guillotine").

In England, Percy and Marguerite are married ("You Are My Home"), but Percy' is appalled to discover his new bride was responsible for the death of his friend, St. Cyr. Fearing he has married a French spy, Percy sends a confused Marguerite off to bed alone on their wedding night ("Prayer").

Determined to somehow right the wrong his wife has done, Percy persuades his friends to join him in a private war against the inhumanities of the bloody French regime. As The League of the Scarlet Pimpernel, they'll work through disguise and diversion to save as many innocent lives as they can. Boarding a schooner to sail to France, Percy and his men fight back their fears ("Into The Fire"). By early July, Percy (a.k.a. The Scarlet Pimpernel) has pulled off one clever rescue after another, and Chauvelin responds with a fiery determination to catch this mysterious rebel ("Falcon In The Dive").

Back in England, Percy and his men have now become virtual caricatures of their dandified, foppish selves in order to deflect suspicion from their heroic activities in France. They facetiously speculate about the identity of their new British hero, "The Scarlet Pimpernel." Marguerite, baffled by this new distant and inane Percy, laments their marital estrangement ("When I Look At You").

Chauvelin arrives in England and asks Marguerite to help him discover the identity of The Scarlet Pimpernel, but she angrily refuses. Realizing that Marguerite is unhappy in her marriage, Chauvelin reminds her of the passions they shared early in the revolution ("Where's The Girl?"). Marguerite rejects his advances. Meanwhile, despite a lack of trust in her, Percy continues to secretly love his wife.

Percy and his men are summoned to the Royal Palace by the Prince of Wales, who suspects they may have something to do with the League of the Scarlet Pimpernel. They persuade the Prince, however, that their frequent trips to France are merely to buy frills and frou-frou ("The Creation of Man"). Meanwhile, Chauvelin meets secretly with Marguerite, informing her that her beloved brother, Armand, has been arrested in Paris as a member of the Pimpernel's League. He insists she spy for him at the Royal Ball that night. If she fails to come up with information about the Pimpernel, Armand will be guillotined. Marguerite, Chauvelin and Percy eye one another warily, as all three wonder who exactly can be trusted in this slippery world ("The Riddle").

Act II

That night, at the Royal Ball, Percy continues his public disguise as England's greatest fool, joking about the elusive Pimpernel and mocking the stony-faced Chauvelin ("They Seek Him Here"). Undeterred, Chauvelin commands Marguerite to uncover the identity of the Pimpernel, and she arranges to meet the Pimpernel outside on the footbridge. When Percy arrives, disguising his voice and keeping in the shadows, Marguerite confesses that she spied and attempted to expose him, but it all stemmed from Chauvelin's coercion and blackmail. She warns the Pimpernel to run from Chauvelin, and begs him to help her save her brother. Percy sends his wife away, and releases his great joy at discovering that she has only been an innocent victim ("She Was There").

Percy and his men set off for France to save Armand, but Marguerite also secretly travels to Paris. Disguising herself as a French tart, she tries to cajole information about her imprisoned brother from two soldiers. Chauvelin, however, instantly sees through her disguise, and orders both Armand and Marguerite to be sentenced to the guillotine. Embittered at his realization that Marguerite will never return his love, Chauvelin finally drives her out of his heart ("Where's The Girl - Reprise").

In prison, Marguerite tries hard not to think of Percy ("I'll Forget You"). Resolved to catch the Pimpernel, Chauvelin allows Marguerite and Armand to escape and sets a trap for all of them.

As everyone converges on stage at the now-abandoned Comedie Francaise, Marguerite finally learns that the Scarlet Pimpernel is actually her own husband, Percy. Percy and Chauvelin confront each other in the ultimate swordfight and showdown, and although Percy seems certainly doomed to death, he manages to outwit Chauvelin one last time. Finally, Percy and Marguerite are reunited and able to trust one another ("When I Look At You - Reprise"). The full company joins in to celebrate this triumph of the human spirit ("Into The Fire - Reprise").

Principals
(2 female; 3 male)

Marguerite St. Just
Marie Grosholtz
Percy Blakeney (Grappin and The Scarlet Pimpernel)
Chauvelin
Armand St. Just

Sub-Principals

St. Cyr
Ozzy — one of Percy’s Bounders
Dewhurst — one of Percy’s Bounders
Elton — one of Percy’s Bounders
Farleigh — one of Percy’s Bounders
Hal — one of Percy’s Bounders
Ben — one of Percy’s Bounders
Prince of Wales

Supporting

Tussaud
Mercier — aide to Chauvelin
Coupeau — aide to Chauvelin
Jessup — butler to Percy
Robespierre
Sentry — at the Royal Palace

Ensemble

SATB Chorus:

Cupids of the Comédie Française
Soldiers
Prisoners
Paris Street Mob
Royal Ball Guests
6 Female Servants at the Blakeney Estate

The original Broadway production had a cast of 36 performers, including chorus. Some doubling was employed in the minor parts.

  • Time Period 18th Century
  • Setting
    England and France, May into July, 1794.
  • Features Period Costumes
  • Additional Features Stage Combat
  • Duration More than 120 minutes (2 hours)

Media

Videos

  • Tony Yazbeck, Laura Osnes, and More Offer a Peek at The Scarlet Pimpernel

Music

Music Samples

Act I

1. Prologue – Orchestra
2. “Storybook” – Marguerite & Ensemble
2a. Chauvelin’s Revenge – Orchestra
3. “Madame Guillotine” – Chauveline, St. Cyr, & Ensemble
4. “You Are My Home” – Percy, Marguerite, & Ensemble
4a. Wedding Dance – Orchestra
4b. Wedding Exit – Orchestra
5. “Prayer” – Percy
5a. Morning Horn Call – Orchestra
6. “Into The Fire” – Percy, Armand, Ozzy, Dewhurst, Elton, Farleigh, Hal, & Ben
6a. The Rescue Ballet – Orchestra
7. “Falcon In The Dive” – Chauvelin
8. Scarlet Pimpernel Transition – Percy, Marie, Marguerite, & Girls
9. “When I Look At You”—Marguerite
9a. Playoff: When I Look At You – Orchestra
9b. Reprise: “When I Look At You” – Percy & Marguerite
10. “Where’s The Girl” – Chauvelin
10a. Exits and Entrances – Orchestra
11. “You Are My Home”: Garden Reprise – Marguerite & Armand
12. “The Creation of Man” – Percy, Ozzy, Dewhurst, Elton, Farleigh, Hal, & Ben
12a. Creation of Man: Exit – Orchestra
13. “The Riddle” – Part 1 – Chauvelin
13a. The Riddle – Part 2 – Orchestra
13b. “The Riddle” – Part 3 – Chauvelin, Percy, Marguerite, & Offstage Chorus

Act II

14. Entr’acte – Orchestra
14a. Opening Act II: “The Scarlet Pimpernel” – Percy, Marguerite, & Ensemble
15. “They Seek” – Percy, Marguerite, Chauvelin, Elton, Farleigh, Dewhurst, Ozzy, Prince of Wales, & Ensemble
15a. Ouilles Gavotte – Orchestra
16. “She Was There” – Percy
17. Tag: “She Was There” – Percy
18. Bistro Reprise: “Storybook” – Marguerite & Ensemble
18a. Into The Prison – Orchestra
19. Reprise: “Where Is The Girl” – Chauvelin
19a. Into The Batcave – Orchestra
19b. Street Drums – Orchestra
20. Reprise: “Into The Fire” – The Bounders: Ozzy, Dewhurst, Farleigh, Elton, Hal, & Ben
21. “I’ll Forget You” – Marguerite & Ensemble
22a. Chauvelin’s Rose – Orchestra
22b. In The Coach – Orchestra with offstage chorus
22c. Chauvelin In Miquelon – Orchestra
22d. The Duel – Orchestra
22e. The Death of Percy – Orchestra
22f. Return of Percy – Orchestra
23. Finale/Reprise: “When I Look At You” – Marguerite, Percy, & Offstage Chorus
24. Bows/Reprise: “Into The Fire” – Ensemble: Percy & Company
25. Exit Music – Orchestra

Full Orchestration

Reed I: Piccolo, Flute, Alto Flute & Soprano Saxophone
(Alto Flute music w/ interlinear transposition for Flute)
Reed II: Oboe & English Horn
(English Horn w/ interlinear transposition for Clarinet)
Reed III: Flute, Clarinet & Bass Clarinet
Reed IV: Bassoon & Contrabassoon

Horn I
Horn II
Trumpet I (doubling Piccolo Trumpet)
Trumpet II
Trombone I (Tenor Trombone & Euphonium)
Trombone II (Bass Trombone)

Percussion I (Trap Drum Set)
Percussion II (Mallet Instruments)
Keyboard I (Synthesizer, principally piano)
Keyboard II (Synthesizer, Principally string substitute)

Violin (6 players)
Viola (2 players)
Cello (2 players)
Bass (Acoustic & Electric)

  • Musical StylePop/Rock, Contemporary Broadway
  • Dance RequirementsEasy
  • Vocal DemandsDifficult
  • Orchestra SizeLarge
  • Chorus SizeLarge

Materials

Music Rentals

Concord offers a full suite of resources to help you put on the show of a lifetime!
A full score is available for this title for an additional fee.
40 Libretto-Vocal Book
1 Piano-Conductor
1 Reed 1
1 Reed 2
1 Reed 3
1 Reed 4
1 Horn 1
1 Horn 2
1 Trumpet 1
1 Trumpet 2
1 Trombone 1
1 Trombone 2
1 Percussion 1
1 Percussion 2
1 Keyboard 1
1 Keyboard 2
3 Violin
1 Viola
1 Cello
1 Bass

Optional Performance Tracks:
Performance Tracks are available through MT Pit at an additional fee. Interested licensees should reach out to MT Pit directly to secure Performance Tracks.

40 Libretto-Vocal Book
1 Piano-Conductor

Add-Ons

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Authors

Nan Knighton

NAN KNIGHTON received a Tony nomination for Best Book of a Musical for The Scarlet Pimpernel, for which she also wrote the lyrics. Ms. Knighton wrote the stage adaptation for both the West End (Olivier nomination) and Broadway runs of Saturday Night Fever. She wrote book and ...

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Frank Wildhorn

Multi-Grammy, Tony, and Emmy Award-nominated composer/producer Frank Wildhorn's works span the worlds of popular, theatrical, and classical music. In 1999, Frank became the first American composer in 22 years to have three shows running simultaneously on Broadway: Jekyll & Hy ...

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Baroness Orczy

Baroness Emma Magdolna Rozália Mária Jozefa Borbála Emmuska Orczy de Orci, pen name BARONESS ORCZY, was a Hungarian-born British novelist, playwright, and artist of noble origin. She is most known for her series of novels featuring the Scarlet Pimpernel, the alter ego of Sir ...

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