Cyrano de Bergerac

Stage history

The original Cyrano was Constant Coquelin, who played it over 410 times at the Théâtre de la Porte Saint-Martin[2] and later toured North America in the role. Richard Mansfield was the first actor to play Cyrano in the United States in an English translation. The longest-running Broadway production ran 232 performances in 1923 and starred Walter Hampden, who returned to the role on the Great White Way in 1926, 1928, 1932, and 1936.[3] Hampden used the 1923 Brian Hooker translation prepared especially for him, which became such a classic in itself that it was used by virtually every English-speaking Cyrano until the mid-1980s.

In 1946 Hampden passed the torch to José Ferrer, who won a Tony Award for playing Cyrano in a much-praised Broadway staging, the highlight of which was a special benefit performance in which Ferrer played the title role for the first four acts and Hampden (then in his mid-sixties) assumed it for the fifth. Ferrer reprised the role on live television in 1949 and 1955, and in a 1950 film version for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor. It became Ferrer's most famous role.

Other notable English-speaking Cyranos were Ralph Richardson, DeVeren Bookwalter, Derek Jacobi, Michael Kanarek, Richard Chamberlain, and Christopher Plummer, who played the part in Rostand's original play and won a Tony Award for the 1973 musical adaptation. Kevin Kline played the role in a Broadway production in 2007, with Jennifer Garner playing Roxane and Daniel Sunjata as Christian. A taped version of the production was broadcast on PBS in 2009.

Later stage versions

Anthony Burgess wrote a new translation and adaptation of Cyrano de Bergerac in 1970, which had its world premiere at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. Paul Hecht was Cyrano. Also in the cast were Len Cariou as Christian, and Roberta Maxwell as Roxane. A later production was the Royal Shakespeare Company's acclaimed 1983 stage production, starring Derek Jacobi as Cyrano and Alice Krige (later Sinéad Cusack) as Roxanne, which was videotaped and broadcast on television in 1985. For this production, Burgess very significantly reworked his earlier translation; both Burgess translations have appeared in book form.

Emily Frankel [1] wrote a condensed prose adaptation for her husband John Cullum which was first performed at Syracuse Stage, directed by Arthur Storch, in 1983, then at Atlanta's Alliance Theatre in 1984. A national tour in 1985-1986 concluded with a month's stay at Baltimore's Morris Mechanic Theatre. In 2004, Barksdale Theatre in Richmond kicked off its 50th Anniversary season with a production of Emily Frankel's Cyrano, starring David Bridgewater.

John Wells wrote an adaptation called Cyrano, first presented in 1992 at the Haymarket Theatre in London.[4]

A new translation of the play by Ranjit Bolt opened at Bristol Old Vic in May 2007.[5]

Another new translation by Michael Hollinger had its premier at the Folger Theatre, Washington, D.C., in April, 2011. Directed by Aaron Posner and produced by Janet Griffin, the adaptation is an accessible American translation that is true to the intent and sensibility of the original.

In 1973, a musical adaptation by Anthony Burgess, called Cyrano and starring Christopher Plummer (who won a Tony Award for his performance), appeared in Boston and then on Broadway. Twenty years later, a Dutch musical stage adaptation was translated into English and produced on Broadway as Cyrano: The Musical. Both the 1973 and 1993 versions were critical and commercial failures.

In 1973 the Azerbaijani composer Gara Garayev wrote the music The Furious Gasconian, based on a play.

A condensed version of Rostand's play, in prose, was written by the Scottish writer Tom Gallacher and performed at the Pitlochry Festival Theatre around 1977.

Jatinder Verma wrote and directed an adaptation in English, Hindi and Urdu set in 1930s India starring Naseeruddin Shah. The play opened at the National Theatre, London in October 1995.

Pierre Lebeau starred in the Théâtre du Nouveau Monde's 1996 production. A great success, the January production is reprised in July (without air conditioning!).

In November 1997 Antony Sher performed the title role in the Lyric Theatre's production directed by partner Gregory Doran.

In 1997 Frank Langella created and directed and performed the title role in a stripped-down version of the play simply titled Cyrano.

It is one of the two plays "performed" during Ken Ludwig's comedic play, Moon Over Buffalo, the other being Private Lives.

Sound & Fury, a Los Angeles-based comedy trio, presented their parody of the play, called Cyranose! in L.A. at Café-Club Fais Do-Do in September 2007. It was also filmed and released on DVD.

The Stratford Shakespeare Festival performed the play during their 2009 season, starring Colm Feore in the title role. This production was unique in that it combined the translation by Anthony Burgess with portions of the original French text, taking advantage of Canadian bilingualism for dramatic effect.

Off Broadway the play has been staged several times, including a New York City parks tour starring Frank Muller, produced by the Riverside Shakespeare Company in 1989.[6]

Barry Wyner loosely based his 2006 new musical Calvin Berger on Rostand's play.

Cyrano de Bergerac ran from October 11, 2012 to November 25, 2012 with Douglas Hodge in the lead at the Roundabout Theatre for a limited engagement.[7][8] USA Today reported an additional engagement in the spring.[9]

In 2013, the Hudson Shakespeare Company of New Jersey presented a version directed by Gene Simakowicz as part of their annual Shakespeare in the Parks tour. The version was based on adaptation from Edmund Rostand's original play and starred Jon Ciccareli as Cyrano, Laura Barbiea as Roxanne and Matt Hansen as Christian.[10]

In 2013 the play was adapted by Glyn Maxwell and performed at Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre in Chester[11]

In 2014, the Sydney Theatre Company presented a version of the play adapted by Andrew Upton with Richard Roxburgh in the lead role, Eryn Jean Norvill as Roxane and Julia Zemiro as Duenna.[12][13][14][15]

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