From Stephen Hoyer:
Why was 'Only Love' removed from The Scarlet Pimpernel? It was my favorite song from the
show, and now I'm having second thoughts about doing it at our community theatre. Is there any
way to still have the song in the show?
Sunday, 9 December 2001
Removing "Only Love" from the show was a tortuous decision. We all loved the song - the
problem was not the song. The problem was that we had a long bridge scene with two ballads back
to back, and it was creating a near fatal dip in the Act Two momentum. That bridge scene is
fragile and tricky. It's important to keep suspense up throughout, and that happens during
Percy's interrogation of Marguerite, changes into the joy of discovery in Percy's Song, and ends
with the comic suspense and anticipation at the end of the scene with Chauvelin and then Percy's
men. When we put "Only Love" into that mix, it was like tying a big rock to the scene and
watching it sink. We all studied the scene over and over, tried different methods of fixing it
that did not involve cutting "Only Love," but nothing else ever worked. When Marguerite sang,
one just lost the pacing. I know that community theatre is not allowed to change the script and
score, but I think even if you were to break the rules and insert "Only Love," you would find
the same dilemma that we did. Act Two in "Scarlet Pimpernel" has to fly. The bridge scene is
critical to that motion.
I had often heard the old cliché about how you sometimes had to cut the best song from the
show in order to save the show. I never believed that sort of thing was true until "Only Love."
I don't think it's the best song, but it is certainly one we had to remove with a lot of pain.
Good luck with your production, and have fun with that bridge scene!