Theater archives

Does Cyrano de Bergerac Win By A Nose?


Let’s not consider this a full-fledged review of the Cyrano de Bergerac re-mounting on Broadway, just my rather nasal musings about it.

The star of this production, directed by Jamie Lloyd from a translation by Ranjit Bolt, is definitely the nose.

It’s more elaborate than in past versions–bigger, snoutier, and more textured, with lumps and sub-sections, bumps and lines.

It’s even better than the set for the Spider-Man musical.

And Cyrano comes into the orchestra at one point to make sure you see every crevice of it in the bright light.

Making Cyrano’s “olfactory organ” even more obscene than usual might have been done to give the character an added poignance; the dueling free thinker has really got a protrusion, and you have to feel for him when another character admits, “I’ve tried like crazy not to look at it.”

It should also make Cyrano extra startling when he bursts into streams of lyrical recitation for the benefit of the woman of his dreams, pretending to be the good looking young man he’s made a face-switching bargain with. (“You’ll be my beauty. I’ll be your…brains.”)

But at times, it just adds more mass to the nose.

The handsomely designed production stars Tony winner Douglas Hodge (La Cage aux Folles) as Cyrano, and he’s game, but he does better with the stirringly touching balcony scene than with the usually heart-tugging finale.

(The lead actress was wiping away tears, but I wasn’t.)

The net effect doesn’t always hit the work on the…you know, but it’s vigorous enough to not leave you thinking, “If he’d only called a surgeon.”