The Scarlet Pimpernel will end its run at the Minskoff Theatre on May 30, to make way for a coming Broadway production of the London musical Saturday Night Fever. Sources at the Minskoff and with the production confirmed the closing date.
It could not be learned whether the show planned to reopen later in the year at another theatre, but various reports have the producers eyeing the vacant Neil Simon Theatre. A spokesman for the production told Playbill On-Line (Jan. 14) Pimpernel is planning to stay on Broadway rather than leave town and hit the road. A tour of Pimpernel is still being planned for the U.S., but producers are also actively searching for a new home for the Broadway production. No theatre has yet been decided upon, said the spokesman.
The Scarlet Pimpernel certainly had a better fall in 1998 than it did the year before. When the Frank Wildhorn musical adaptation of the classic Baroness Orczy novel opened in November 1997, the critics roundly thumped it. The following months brought news of half-filled houses and growing financial losses.
Last summer, however, in an unprecedented move, Cablevision and Ted Forstmann bought out the old producers, brought in new director Robert Longbottom and recast two of the leads. The revamped production reopened in November 1998 to markedly better reviews and improved box office figures
Pimpernel's departure would leave the Minskoff free as a venue for the Tony Awards, which has yet to select a theatre for its annual ceremony.
For tickets and information on The Scarlet Pimpernel at the Minskoff Theatre call (212) 307-4100.