Rachel York and Rex Smith, long rumored to be Broadway's new Chauvelin and Marguerite, are locked into the reconfigured The Scarlet Pimpernel, replacing the outgoing Terrence Mann and Christine Andreas. Show spokesman Michael Hartman confirmed the casting, Sept. 22.
York most recently starred on Broadway opposite Julie Andrews in the musical Victor/Victoria. She also starred with Andrews in the Manhattan Theatre Club's Sondheim revue, Putting It Together. Rex Smith is perhaps best known in stage circles for his performance as Frederic in the 1981 New York Shakespeare Festival production of The Pirates of Penzance.
The Scarlet Pimpernel himself, in the figure of Douglas Sills, will remain with the reworked version.
Hartman would not comment on any specific changes regarding the new version of Pimpernel, to be directed by Robert Longbottom and due to open Oct. 13. The cast of Pimpernel will, during the month of September, rehearse the new version of the musical during the day while performing the old one at night. The production will then shut down for a few days during the first week of October. "We plan to have the new version on stage the week of the 12th of October," said Tim Hawkins, Senior Vice President for Radio City Entertainment.
Radio City Entertainment and Ted Forstmann -- who the summer bought the musical from its original producers -- recently brought in Longbottom (Side Show) to restage the show in an unorthodox effort to shore up the ailing musical's fortunes. Hawkins confirmed to Playbill On-Line (Aug. 13) that Longbottom would collaborate with Pimpernel composer Frank Wildhorn and lyricist Nan Knighton on a new version of the show. Radio City has not elaborated on the nature of the alterations, but Christine Andreas told PBOL the planned revisions were ones she had sought for some time. "These new guys are going to make changes we wished happened a year ago," she said, including plot restructuring meant to better support the musical's major characters. "My character is rather underwritten," remarked Andreas. "It's really because of that unbalance that I'm ready to go."
Hawkins told PBOL on Aug. 13 that the musical's original director, Peter Hunt, would not take an active role in the reconception, although his ideas on the matter have been solicited. "Peter is in California and focusing on TV projects," he said. "He's a part of the process, but not on a day-to-day basis."
Asked if Nan Knighton had been doing rewrites, Hawking replied, "Nan's doing a lot of work with [Longbottom] reshaping elements of the show. Frank Wildhorn is working on it, too." Hawkins declined to comment on any specific details concerning Pimpernel's makeover, or whether the new production would be less expensive to run.