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November 29, 2007

O Cyrano, Cyrano, Wherefore Art Thou Cyrano?

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Cyranologo Island Girl scored freebie tickets to Broadway's limited run production of "Cyrano de Bergerac" a couple of weeks ago and was kind enough to invite me to go along.

The play stars the wonderful Kevin Kline and the lovely Jennifer Garner of "Alias" fame. No sooner was I ready to write a review of the show than the stagehands went out on strike and shut down the play.

Well now the strike is over, here are my thoughts.

"Cyrano de Bergerac" was written by Edmond Rostand and is about a 17th century Frenchman with a hankering for his beautiful and cultured cousin Roxane.  A consummate charmer, Cyrano has a fine way with a sword and an even finer way with words from the heart.

He also happens to have a humongous nose.  We're talking Pinocchio on a bad day.  And because of his prominent protrusion, Cyrano is a bit of an insecure mess.  He likes to pick fights, seems to have a bit of a death wish, but is quite courageous as well.  Except of course when it comes to matters of the heart.

You see Roxane's in love with Christian, a handsome nobleman who's a bit of a dunce.  When Cyrano discovers this he offers to write letters to Roxane as if they are from Christian. Christian agrees and one night this leads to Cyrano speaking his feelings shrouded by darkness as Roxane listens from her balcony thinking Christian is the one wooing her. 

Cyrano's deception goes to the extreme when he allows Roxane to marry the dunce rather than take the risk of admitting his own feelings for her.

Some might say Roxane's a bit of a shallow bird and deserves her dunce for being blinded by his looks and another man's poetry.  I'd say they were right.  Christian's no saint either deceiving his true love, but he is very easy on the eyes.

I liked this show a lot.  Kevin Kline was great, Mrs. Affleck played the comedy well while looking especially pretty in the beautiful costumes, and Daniel Sunjata was fine as the besotted Christian.

I marveled at the sheer amount of dialogue Kline had to pull off and he delievered every line with the passion and sincerity they deserved.  His Cyrano was likeable, yet totally frustrating.  I just wanted to shake him, big nose and all, and make him tell Roxane the truth.  What Cyrano really needed was less swordplay and an hour with an eighteenth century Dr. Phil.

Is it possible there are any Cyranos left?  I mean men who speak from the heart, genuinely sincere?  I know all that flowery stuff isn't what holds relationships together, but it never sent a couple to the divorce court either.  I've always thought, no matter how clumsy, sincerity is very romantic. 

Can you tell I haven't met any interesting men in a while?

If you're in New York, go see the show.  It plays until December 23 and you can check out ticket information at the Cyrano website or I Love NY Theater.

However a word of caution about the Richard Rodgers Theatre.  The seats are a tight squeeze.  It's not the worst I've experienced on Broadway but it's up there.  I'm fairly tall and my right knee was jammed into the seat in front of me for the entire show.  It took days for the soreness to go away.

After my $100 seat a couple of years ago for Billy Crystal's great show at the Shubert Theatre doubled as a vertical sardine can, I swore I'd never set foot in the Shubert again, and to this day I have not.

I know Broadway producers have to make a buck, but when you start jamming theatergoers into seats that Munchkins would be uncomfortable in, it's time to forego some bucks and take out some seats.  I didn't happen to pay for this ticket, but if I had I'd have been pretty pissed.  You've been warned.

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