The Scarlet Pimpernel ends its return engagement on Broadway Jan. 2, after four months at the Neil Simon Theatre, where it settled Sept. 10, 1999, after a brief summer tour.
The romantic musical adventure, a trimmer, leaner version of the show that appeared at Broadway's Minskoff Theatre November 1997-May 1999, will embark on a national tour beginning in February 2000. Original star Douglas Sills will play the swashbuckling title character.
By Jan. 2, the romantic musical adventure by composer Frank Wildhorn and lyricist-librettist Nan Knighton (drawn from the story by Baroness Orczy) will have played a total of 772 performances (and 39 previews) during its two-year run in various forms: The original 1997 Peter Hunt-directed version, the 1998 revamped Robert Longbottom version and the current 1999 small-cast Longbottom remount.
The current Broadway production has been affectionately called "version 3.0," which would make the upcoming tour "4.0." Only Sills has been announced for the tour.
The current Broadway cast includes Ron Bohmer as Percy, Carolee Carmello as Marguerite and Marc Kudisch as Chauvelin. Radio City Entertainment and Ted Forstmann are the show's producers. Susan Stroman's staging of The Music Man will move into the Neil Simon Theatre for a spring opening.
The Broadway company of The Scarlet Pimpernel was told the week Oct. 25 that the swashbuckling musical was expected to close in January 2000 prior to a national tour.
The Broadway physical production is certainly tour-ready: Prior to reopening on Broadway Sept. 10, the show played Dallas, Houston and Atlanta with a smaller cast and leads different from the show that played the Minskoff Theatre since fall 1997.
In the current trimmed version of the show, 29 performers play what used to need 41.
A hit with audiences, but ultimately not critics, Pimpernel, with its lusty romance-novel touches, is expected to be popular on the road.
For tickets to The Scarlet Pimpernel, call (212) 307-4100 or (800) 755-4000.