The Scarlet Pimpernel – Sept. 4-7 & 11-14 Frank Wildhorn’s perfect musical for everyone: an exciting, swashbuckling, romantic adventure with a charismatic hero set during the French Revolution.
Based on the novel by the Baroness Orczy, The Scarlet Pimpernel takes place during the French Revolution. As the story begins, Marguerite St. Just and Sir Percival Blakeney announce their engagement during a performance at the Comédie Francaise, only to be rudely interrupted by Citizen Chauvelin, one of Robespierre’s underlings who angrily sentences Marguerite to the guillotine. After a narrow escape, the two lovers set out for England to be married, but on their wedding night, Sir Percy learns that Marguerite supplied information to Chauvelin–information that led to the death of one of Sir Percy’s closest friends. Devastated, Percy leaves a bewildered Marguerite alone in their wedding bed. He then gathers together a group of close friends and convinces them to form a secret society to rescue as many aristocrats as possible from the guillotine. In order to throw off suspicion, they will pose as the fanciest of fops so that no one will suspect them capable of being involved in the resistance.
Soon, the Scarlet Pimpernel and his men have made quite a nuisance of themselves, and Robespierre charges Chauvelin with the task of apprehending the Pimpernel. Although he is surrounded by incompetents, Chauvelin is determined to carry out Robespierre’s orders. Finding Marguerite alone at home, he grills her for information related to the identity of the Pimpernel, but Marguerite wants nothing to do with him. When he tries to seduce her, reminding her of their past involvement, she sends him away, but the villain soon returns with news that Marguerite’s brother, Armand, has been captured and will be executed unless Marguerite agrees to help Chauvelin uncover the Pimpernel’s identity.
The next night, at the Royal Ball, Marguerite secretly passes a message to the Pimpernel’s men that she must meet with their leader. When a meeting is arranged, the young woman reveals everything to the Pimpernel, still not realizing that the hero is actually her husband. She explains how Chauvelin had blackmailed her to get the information that led to the death of Sir Percy’s friend. She also pleads with the Pimpernel to rescue her brother. Overjoyed that his wife has been an unwilling participant in this whole affair, Percy sends Marguerite away, then sets his sights on Chauvelin.
While Sir Percy is planning his attack, however, Marguerite is captured by Chauvelin who sentences her to the guillotine along with her brother, and before the Pimpernel’s men can stage a rescue, Chauvelin allows the two prisoners to escape, correctly anticipating that they will unwittingly lead him directly to the Pimpernel’s hideout. Thus, Marguerite learns that the Scarlet Pimpernel is none other than her husband just in time to watch him risk his life in a final showdown with Chauvelin.