Scarlet Pimpernel star Douglas Sills is on “voice rest” following a touch of laryngitis that prompted the cancellation of the Oct. 11 evening performance of the recently rewritten swashbuckling musical. He is expected back for the Oct. 13 performance.
Spokesman Adrian Bryan-Brown told Playbill On-Line Oct. 12 that because of the days-old revision of the show, which is now in a preview period prior to a reopening later this month, the understudy was not yet ready to take over for the throat-sore Sills. The company used the dark Sunday night to run an understudy rehearsal.
The show was shut down Oct. 2-9 to implement previously-rehearsed changes in the 1997 musical, a rare move for an already-running musical. The “new” show premiered at the matinee Oct. 10 and Bryan-Brown confirmed Pimpernel is indeed in a preview period leading toward a new opening “probably not as late as Nov. 9,” which marks the one-year anniversary of the original opening.
New stars Rex Smith and Rachel York are now a part of the cast and a new ad campaign began over the summer. Robert Longbottom (Side Show) has been brought in to redirect and reshape material, with the help of librettist-lyricist Nan Knighton and composer Frank Wildhorn. Longbottom was not credited for his work in the Playbill on the first weekend of the rewrite’s performances. Peter Hunt, the original director, is working on other projects.
The new blood in the show is due to the commitment of new producers Cablevision’s Radio City Entertainment and Ted Forstmann, who bought the show’s rights in July.