William Michals as Chauvelin
SP4: National Tour

The Scarlet Pimpernel : Broadway's Most Intriguing Musical.

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Interview with Frank Wildhorn

NR: The most popular question I received from everybody is the status of all the CDs. I have a list. People want to know when they're coming out. The SP compilation?

FW: That hopefully is coming out in September.

NR: The Civil War OBC - I guess that's not going to happen.

FW: No, I don't see that happening.

NR: That's a shame.

FW: It is a shame but it's a double edged sword. It is a shame, but if I didn't do the album that I did, with all of those stars, there wouldn't have been a Civil War. That was the calling card that made the show work. I apologize to the fans because I hear from them. The girls tell me people are mad at me that I'm not doing a cast album, but at the end of the day, we're talking here at Atlantic Records. I'm a theater composer. You don't know another theater composer who has a deal like I do at a major record label, that supports his or her theater work like Atlantic Records supports mine. I have nothing but appreciation, loyalty and gratitude to the fact that I come up with these ideas before they're ever shows, and Atlantic, just on the basis of hearing the music, and feels that they have a voice that should be heard, puts these records out.

NR: Linda's latest?

FW: Linda's latest is right here in my hand. This is the master that I just got today. I have to bring it home so I can play it for her when I get home. That will be out the end of September or beginning of October and Linda will be at Carnegie Hall February 2nd. What else can I tell you about Linda? We're about to have a baby in a couple weeks.

NR: Svengali?

FW: Svengali. I don't know. The answer is it will have a life - it's one of our favorite pieces. It was great working on it and I hope it will have its day.

NR: As a show or a CD?

FW: Both. It will definitely be a recording and we'll see. A lot depends on...Linda and I are about to go through a change of life here. This is our first child and we have many projects - Havana, Svengali, Queen Christine, other things that Linda would like to do, but let's have the baby, which is our most important production, and let's see how she's feeling both mentally and physically, and how hard she wants to work after that, and how fast. Does she want to get back into the grind? Does she want to just do concerts for a year and support the new record, and then the year after do theater again? I don't know. She's the boss. She'll let me know what she wants to do.

NR: The Symphonic Wildhorn album?

FW: Yeah. As a matter of fact, I have the opportunity now to be an artist on Atlantic Records and do symphonic records, which will be ten or fifteen minute symphonic suites or ballets of all the shows, plus the music I wrote for the Goodwill Games, plus things from shows you haven't heard of yet. I'll probably do that this fall or winter, except that there is a new project which I cannot tell you the name of today, that has come into my life, that I'm very excited about, that I think in the next few weeks will come to reality here at Atlantic. It's records first and if that happens, I'm probably going to do that first.

NR: Then, I understand there's supposed to be an ultimate Jekyll & Hyde boxed set?

FW: Yeah, there will be. Basically it will probably be called "The Lab" or something like that. What we're going to do is take the best from the RCA album, the two Atlantic albums, the German album, the Spanish album that's coming out later this year, some demos, some things that nobody's ever heard, and put it all in one thing. The thing is that it needs a lot of my time, a lot of time to put it together and I've simply got to find the time. Atlantic is waiting for me to do it as well and I just need to find the time to put it together.

NR: What about Havana?

FW: Havana is an original, romantic musical comedy for Linda. There are four songs from Havana on Linda's new album that will be out so people will hear some of the stuff. Again, I think that the schedule for Havana will have a lot more to do with Linda's health and how fast she wants to get back into the theater. Don't forget - Linda's got an incredible concert career where you don't have to do it eight times a week, and you make a lot more money. She loves theater and we all want to do more of it, don't get me wrong. It's just a timing thing. We'll know later.

NR: So, what kind of music do you listen to?

FW: If you turned on my stereo in the car right now, you would hear John Barry's new album. He's the guy who does instrumental movie scores. You would hear the Schindler's List album. I think that score from John Williams is absolutely gorgeous. You would hear Sinatra's In the Wee Small Hours. Hmm, what else is on there now? I think Marvin Gaye's Greatest Hits or something like that. It's very eclectic. It constantly changes. It's all kinds of things.

NR: So, you really do listen to music to relax?

FW: Oh, yeah.

NR: Do you by any chance have a favorite song that you've written? Or is that too hard to pick?

FW: That's too hard to pick. That's like asking about your favorite child. I don't know. That's just too tough. I can't answer it. I have favorite songs from Pimpernel. I have favorite songs from Jekyll and things like that. That's an easier question to answer.

NR: Do you want to tell me a few?

FW: Yeah, from Pimpernel? Certainly. For different reasons, "Prayer," "Into the Fire," "Storybook," "I'll Forget You." "You Are My Home" - but the first version of that with Linda and Peobo Bryson. Then the song called "Home Again" that Linda did on the pre-cast version.

From Jekyll, it's "Someone Like You." That song kind of represents a whole chunk of my life with Linda, transcending the show itself. "In His Eyes," "A New Life," "Dangerous Game," "Once Upon A Dream" and "This Is the Moment." "This Is the Moment" for reasons because I'm an ex-jock and I love music and sports together, and the fact that "This Is the Moment" has had this entire life in the sports world...I watch that stuff and it gets to me. So, that's special to me.

NR: How about Civil War?

FW: "Sarah," "I Never Knew His Name," "If Prayin' Were Horses" are some of my favorites. It's almost different talking about Civil War because Civil War is such a song cycle. The song writer in me loves The Civil War score as a song writer. Knowing I was writing this for Hootie (and the Blowfish) and this for Trisha (Yearwood) and this for Linda...I love the fact that I was able to take that part of me and put it into the context of a theater project.

NR: OK. What do you do to relax? You have the craziest schedule I've ever seen.

FW: I play ball. I ride horses. We have a horse farm up in Westchester. I ski a lot in the winter. I hang out with my kids.

NR: Good for you. Frank, thank you so much for your time.

FW: Thank you. We wouldn't be here if it weren't for all of you.

NR: Well, I can return the compliment. We wouldn't be here if it weren't for you either. Thanks again.

FW: You're welcome.

I enjoyed speaking with Frank very much. He impressed me greatly with his ability to put things into perspective and not allow the world around him to remove his focus from what he feels is important. His music has given me and my family countless hours of enjoyment, and for that I am very grateful. I wish him and Linda the best with the upcoming birth of their child, and look forward to their new projects in the future.

Questions suggested by:

Cync Brantley, Judy Baker, Shari Perkins, Karen, Anand Iyer, Michael Harkins, Maddie, Peter Williams, Lefwago, Shelagh Fagen, Kaitlin, Judy Parkhill, Nickie Allen, Sue Locascio, Amanda M. Beck, Andrew Reith, Monica, Caileen, Josie Smith, Ana, Noel Elliott-Small, Anne Christensen, Renee Girard, Wayman Wong, paradesiderag, Jan Combopiano, Dolores, Trisha Doss, Chris Miller, Jody Uyanik, Amy Lovett, Sherrie Burt, Fergus McGillicuddy, Danny, Raghead, Mister Quay, mielke, Joseph

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Interview conducted and photographs by Nancy Rosati.

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