Through daring rescues, deception, love and some boisterous comedy, a large Community Little Theatre cast will recreate lavish and tumultuous scenes of the bloody French Revolution in 1792. All this will happen when CLT presents “The Scarlet Pimpernel” at Lewiston Middle School Aug. 20-29.

“The Scarlet Pimpernel” is a massive swashbuckling romantic musical play that pushes CLT’s capabilities to new limits. Music by Frank Wildhorn, also known for “Jekyll & Hyde,” soars with passion for grand ideas and intimate circumstances. Costumes contrast the extravagance of aristocrats with the poverty of the people, and towering over the madness and fervor of the times is Madame Guillotine.

The chilling instrument of execution is as much a character of the play as the actors, said director Richard Martin. It’s an “operating guillotine,” he added, promising that audiences will be enthralled by its part in the play.

Christopher Benoit, who is new to the CLT stage, plays Percy Blakeney (the Pimpernel). Kristen Thomas plays the role of the beautiful Marguerite St. Just, a performer in the Comédie Francaise who marries Blakeney. Chauvelin, Blakeney’s nemesis and an agent of the French Revolution, is played by Bob Gauthier; and Armand St. Just, brother to Marguerite, is played by Michael Litchfield.

Martin said it’s always a challenge to find enough male performers and actors for shows such as this. He said he is confident the principals as well as the “bounders” of the Pimpernel’s elusive league will deliver great performances. CLT audiences have seen several of them in other productions such as “Phantom.”

Percy’s bounders are Dewhurst, played by Mitchell Clyde Thomas; Elton, played by Vincent Ratsavong; Farleigh, played by Dan Crawford; Hal, played by Jeremy Gervais; Ben, played by Matthew Thomas; and Ozzy, played by Scott Powers.

Supporting roles include Marie Grosholtz, a French artist, played by Cora Matthews; Tussard, Marie’s fiancé, played by Don Libby; Mercier and Copeau, aides to Chauvelin, played by Mike Ferrill and Brandon Dubois; and Jessup, butler to Percy, played by Phil Vampatella. Vampatella will also play the role of the executioner. Robespierre, citizen of the Public Security and Sentry to the Royal Palace, will be played by Bruce Gerry, who also portrays the prince of Wales.

A large chorus comprised of cupids of Comédie Francaise, soldiers, prisoners, a Paris street mob, guests at the Royal Ball, girl servants and tarts complete the cast. Filling these roles are Michael Girouard, Andre Demers, Jeremy Gervais, Adam Blais, Brandon Dubois, Josie Baum, Shirley Bernier, Anne Caldwell, Jocelyn Curtis, Bridget Duval, Rachel Hanscom, Cora Matthews, Crystal Peterson, Mike Cyr, Anna Cyr, Malory Cyr, Maisy Cyr, Patrick Baum and Danielle Sicotte.

The story of “The Scarlet Pimpernel,” by Baroness Emma Orczy, the Hungarian-British novelist, follows Blakeney and his small band of men who defy all odds to save doomed French citizens in one ingenious rescue after another. In England, Percy and his men are viewed as fops who would never be suspected of international intrigue, but they become spectacular swashbucklers when they rescue innocents from the guillotine in Paris.

“The Scarlet Pimpernel” went through at least three transformations on Broadway, so this production’s list of songs may vary from productions elsewhere. Wildhorn’s music includes “Into the Fire,” a rousing anthem to raise the spirits of bravery and courage; “Falcon in the Dive, sung by Chauvelin as he deals with feelings that plague him in his duty to hunt down the Pimpernel and maintain order as a servant of the revolution; and “The Creation of Man,” a hilarious song in which Percy and his friends sing about how it is the duty of the aristocratic male to uphold the banner of well-tailored fashions.

The production crew for “The Scarlet Pimpernel” includes Karen Mayo, producer; Colin Britt, musical director; Robert Caldwell, vocal director; Katie Baker, choreography; John Jenkins, fight choreographer; Annette Bourque, costumer; Bill Hamilton and Dick Martin, set design; Phil Vampatella and Jay Fisher, guillotine construction; Karen Mayo, set décor; Paula Masselli, properties; Ray Siegler, sound design; Dick Martin, light design; Marissa Jalbert, stage manager; Alison Traynor, assistant stage manager; Loretta Perry, wardrobe assistant; Melody Driscoll, rehearsal prompter; and Rachel Morin, publicist.

This production is being presented at Lewiston Middle School auditorium, Central Avenue, Lewiston because the location offers air-conditioning. Tickets are $13, $11 for seniors and full-time students. Curtain is at 8 p.m. and 2 p.m. for Sunday matinees. Reservations may be made by calling the box office at 783-0958 or accessing the theater’s Web site at www.laclt.com.


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