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In 1905 a young Hungarian born writer named the Baroness Orczy created an audacious and reckless hero a daring plotter who used tricks and games against the cruelties of the French Revolution In the best tradition of A Tale of Two Cities the story mixed historical fact with dramatic adventure as the Reign of Terror reaches its bloody climax in 1794 a brave band of Englishmen risk their lives to rescue the intended victims of the guillotine Their leader is an enigmatic hero known only by his calling card the red star-shaped wildflower known as the Scarlet Pimpernel Baroness Orczys hero captured the imagination of the world and has endured through the 20th century in many forms in more than 10 sequels by Orczy herself as a play in dozens of movies and television adaptations and now a sweeping and exciting musical by lyricistbook writer Nan Knighton and composer Frank Wildhorn takes the stage by storm The Scarlet Pimpernel is a perfect musical for young people a breathless adventure story with a charismatic action hero long before Die Hard or The Terminator set in a time of historical importance with thematic undercurrents of sacrifice deception and loyalty With its rich historical detail The Scarlet Pimpernel is an ideal introduction to the history and literature of The French Revolution with its sweeping score the show can open the door to the traditions of the American musical theatre This study guide is broken into several sections each with background for The Scarlet Pimpernel and its inspirations ideas for research discussion and activities to allow educators to incorporate the musical into their curriculum Interviews with The Scarlet Pimpernels creators will give students a background into the conception of a grand-scale musical they also give advice to young people considering a career in the theatre Each section includes resources for further study as well as cyber-resources web-sites and newsgroup addresses to allow educators and students to continue their research
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