The Scarlet Pimpernel may have had three lives on Broadway — it was launched three times with different casts — but now it is enjoying two productions less than 20 miles apart.
Both the Airport Playhouse (in Bohemia, N.Y.) and Theatre Three (in Port Jefferson, N.Y.) are currently offering productions of the musical, which features music by Frank Wildhorn and lyrics and a book by Nan Knighton.
Although the shows will be running concurrently, the theatres have different audiences — Theatre Three tends to attract younger audiences and tourists, while the Airport Playhouse has an older subscription base. The Airport Playhouse production, which began performances Sept. 20, will run through Oct. 13, and the Theatre Three mounting, which began Sept. 21, will conclude Nov. 2.
The Airport Playhouse season will also include Garson Kanin's Born Yesterday (Oct. 25-Nov. 17); the family musical Holiday Magic (Nov. 29-Dec. 22); the Leiber and Stoller hit Smokey Joe's Cafe (Jan. 10-Feb. 2, 2003); and Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt's The Fantasticks (Feb. 14- March 9). The Airport Playhouse is located at 218 Knickerbocker Avenue in Bohemia, NY. The theatre's website is located at www.airportplayhouse.com.
The remainder of the Theatre Three season includes Jeffrey E. Sanzel's adaptation of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol (Nov. 23-Dec. 28); Tom Dulack's Breaking Legs (Jan. 11-Feb. 8, 2003); Larry Deckel, John Leicht and John Tanner Hula Hoop Sha-Book (Feb. 22-March 22); John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men (April 5-May 3); and the classic Cole Porter musical, Kiss Me, Kate (May 17-June 21). Theatre Three is located at 412 Main Street in Port Jefferson, N.Y. For more information, go to www.theatrethree.org. The Scarlet Pimpernel opened at Broadway's Minskoff Theatre in Nov. 1997 with a cast led by Christine Andreas, Terrence Mann and Douglas Sills. A revised version, also at the Minskoff and starring Rachel York, Rex Smith and Sills, opened Oct. 1998. A third version played the Neil Simon Theatre from Sept. 1999 to Jan. 2000 and cast Carolee Carmello, Ron Bohmer and Marc Kudisch in the leads.
—By Andrew Gans