The curtain rises on a performance at the Comédie Francaise. Marguerite St. Just is singing (Storybook) while her fiancé, Sir Percival Blakeney, and Citizen Chauvelin look on. After the number ends Marguerite announces her engagement to Sir Percy, and then Chauvelin declares that the theatre is to be shut down immediately. There is an exchange between Chauvelin and Marguerite, and then Marguerite's assistant Marie enters to protest the closing of the theatre. Chauvelin orders his soldiers to take her off to be guillotined but Percy steps in and warns Chauvelin and his soldiers of an angry mob outside. They rush off, allowing Percy, Marguerite and Marie to escape along with Marie's fiancé Phillipe, and Marguerite's brother Armand.
We follow Chauvelin to the Place de la Greve, where we see just how obsessed he has become with the ideals of the Republic (Madame Guillotine). He is joined by his soldiers and a crowd of onlookers for the execution of the Marquis de St. Cyr. The scene quickly shifts to England and the wedding of Sir Percy and Marguerite. After professing their love for each other (You Are My Home), Marguerite tries to soften the British crowd and get them to enjoy themselves (Wedding Dance: INSTRUMENTAL).
Nothing seems amiss in this scene, until Percy receives a troubling communication. He learns that Marguerite had supplied information that led to the capture and execution of St. Cyr, a good friend of his. Shattered and confused, Percy turns away from Marguerite on their wedding night. He sends her to bed alone and remains in the garden, contemplating what has transpired (Prayer).
Determined to rectify the situation, Percy convinces his friends to join him in a crusade against the atrocities of the French Revolution (Into the Fire). Their game plan: use their wits and creativity to outsmart the French and rescue as many aristocrats as possible from the guillotine. Meanwhile, back in England, they will pose as the fanciest of fops so that no one will suspect that they are capable of such daring adventures.
The Scarlet Pimpernel and his Bounders use ruse after ruse to rescue innocents, and Robespierre promptly calls on Chauvelin to catch the Pimpernel. Chauvelin finds himself surrounded by incapable soldiers, but still is determined to capture his prey (Falcon in the Dive). Meanwhile, back in England, Marguerite cannot understand why Percy's attitude towards her has changed (When I Look At You).
Chauvelin arrives at Percy's home, and it is learned that he and Marguerite have a checkered past. He asks her to uncover the identity of the Pimpernel, but she wants nothing to do with Chauvelin and his quest for information. Discovering that her marriage has not gone well, Chauvelin tries to win Marguerite over. He reminds her that they were quite close in the past (Where's the Girl?). After almost succumbing to Chauvelin's charms, she thinks better of it, and sends him away. She then turns to her brother for comfort (You Are My Home: REPRISE)
Next we move back inside Percy's estate, where he and his companions are preparing themselves in outlandish attire to meet the Prince of Wales. Percy teaches them how to be complete "nincompoops" to throw the Prince off their scent (The Creation of Man). They then appear at the palace and the Prince asks them if they are the much talked-of League of the Scarlet Pimpernel, and demands to know why they travel back and forth to France. They proclaim that their frequent trips are solely for reasons of fashion.
Meanwhile Chauvelin returns to Marguerite once more. He announces that her brother, Armand, has been captured as a member of the League of the Pimpernel, and that he will be guillotined unless Marguerite agrees to help Chauvelin. She is told to spy at the Royal Ball the following night, and produce the identity of the Scarlet Pimpernel. Chauvelin and Marguerite are joined by Percy and they wonder exactly who can be trusted (The Riddle).
Guests are in attendance at the Royal Ball, where everyone is wondering who the elusive swashbuckler might be (The Scarlet Pimpernel). Percy leads the group in his own ode to the mysterious hero (They Seek Him Here). Marguerite meanwhile passes a message to one of the Bounders that the Pimpernel should meet her on the footbridge at one o'clock.
The hour approaches one, and we find Marguerite on the footbridge. Percy enters but approaches her from behind, masking his voice and speaking to her as the Pimpernel. Told not to turn and see who it is, Marguerite confesses everything to the man in the shadows... she tells him that Chauvelin blackmailed her for the information about St. Cyr, and also that Armand has been captured. She asks him to help her brother and then warns him to leave before Chauvelin arrives. He sends her away and drops his facade to release his joy at learning that she has been an unwilling participant in the same events for which he once came to distrust her (She Was There).
After meeting, and outwitting, Chauvelin, Percy rushes off to save Armand. However Marguerite also steals away to Paris, where she tries to get information from soldiers at a bistro (Storybook: REPRISE). She is apprehended by Chauvelin, who sentences her to the guillotine alongside her brother. Chauvelin now knows that Marguerite will never return to him, and he expresses his rage and frustration at this realization (Where's the Girl: REPRISE).
We move next to the secret hideout of the League in a wine cellar deep in Paris. Percy is trying frantically to come up with a scheme to save his wife and her brother, but quickly realizes the odds are completely against him. At this point he tells his friends that he cannot ask them to follow him to what seems like certain death. He hangs his head, but his compatriots surround him and express their belief in his cause, letting him know that they will stay with him to support that cause (Into the Fire: REPRISE). At the same time, Marguerite and Armand are in prison, awaiting their execution. Marguerite laments that as she faces death, she must try to let go of her love for Percy (I'll Forget You).
The appointed time for the execution arrives, and Marguerite and Armand are led off to the guillotine. However, Chauvelin and Robespierre have devised a trap, and Armand and Marguerite "escape" from his clutches once more. Armand then leads Chauvelin right to the Pimpernel's hideout on the seacoast. Marguerite learns that the Pimpernel is none other than her husband Percy, who then arrives just in time to have a final showdown with Chauvelin (The Duel: INSTRUMENTAL).
Percy once again outwits Chauvelin, who is left unable to fulfill his quest of capturing the Pimpernel. After making some parting comments to his nemesis, Percy and Marguerite leave to return to England. Back on the boat they reaffirm their love for one another as they set sail for home (When I Look at You: REPRISE)
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