THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL to Play SCERA Shell Outdoor Theatre, 8/2-17
It is the French Revolution, and French aristocrats are being executed for the smallest infractions. The only person who seems to be able to keep them from losing their heads is a mysterious and unidentifiEd English nobleman known only as the Scarlet Pimpernel, named after a modest flower that grows along England's roads.
In society he poses as Sir Percy Blakeney, a silly dandy, who in reality is a dashing hero who rescues French citizens he believes have been unjustly accused and condemned to the guillotine. These heroics during the reign of terror, the intrigues of his wife Marguerite and the evil conspiracies of Chauvelin and Robespierre form the plot of "The Scarlet Pimpernel," a multi-Tony Award-nominated musical and winner of the Theatre World Award.
The epic musical drama, filled with romance, mystery and deception, will play Aug. 2-17 at 8 p. m. on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at the SCERA Shell Outdoor Theatre, located at 699 S. State St., Orem, in the center of SCERA Park. General admission tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for children (age 3-11), seniors (age 65+) and students (w/ID). Reserved tickets range from $12 to $14 for adults and $10 to $12 for children, seniors and students. They are available atwww.scera.org, by calling (801) 225-ARTS, at the main office of SCERA Center for the Arts, 745 S. State St., Orem, open 10am-6pm weekdays and Saturdays from 12Noon-6pm or at the gate one hour prior to performance.
"I especially love the music," says veteran director Jerry Elison, who, in addition to directing "Hello, Dolly!" earlier this season, is also directing "Scarlet Pimpernel." "It's by the same team that wrote "Civil War" and "Jekyll and Hyde." It's powerful and dramatic...the kind of music that stays with you long after the production ends."
He says he had so many fine performers and singers at auditions that he double cast the leads. Performing as the Pimpernel will be Michael Dubois and Stephen Gashler, and Marguerite, his wife, will be played by Kelsey Thacker and LoraLee Frank. "We just couldn't choose," he says, "and that's a good problem to have. Kelsey's real life husband, Brian, plays the villain Chauvelin."
"Everyone is familiar with 'Les Miserables' and seeing a show from the perspective of starving peasants and idealistic students," he says. "This is approximately the same time frame, but it's a different viewpoint. It shows the English trying to help French aristocrats who are being executed for no reason. That actually happened."
Terri Griffin designed the set and as one-unit that changes as you open doors and turn elements around. It needed such a design for the movability required later in the month at BYU, where it will be presented during the university's annual Education Week.
Also assisting Elison are Martha Glissmeyer, music director; Penny Colvin, choreographer; Kelsey Seaver, costume designer; and Mark Ohran, light designer.
"The costumes will be one of the highlights," Elison says. "They are magnificent, and in one case, hilarious. There is a funny number called 'The Creation of Man' that features friends of Percy who are dressed in lavish pink and chartreuse costumes and other women's colors. They do this foppish number that will really entertain our audiences. They will love it, and I think, love the entire show with its drama and intrigue."
Photo by: Mark A. Philbrick