Jose Ferrer, Derek Jacobi and Gerard Depardieu have all donned the proboscis of literature's most beloved fencing poet, Cyrano de Bergerac.
Now Frank Langella has been taking his turn, in his own adaptation, which opened at the Roundabout Theatre's Off-Broadway space Dec. 9 and ends its extended engagement Jan. 25. Langella, star of last season's Present Laughter, plays the big-nosed tragicomic hero of Edmund Rostand's drama in this new chamber version Langella is adapting and directing himself. This 12-character Cyrano de Bergerac began previews Oct. 29 and runs to Jan. 25 -- extended one week past its initial Jan. 18 close.
Also in the cast are Allison Mackie (Roxane), making her Broadway debut; George Morfogen (LeBret), Terry Alexander (Rageneau), Mikel Sarah Lambert (Marguerite), Adam LeFevre (Montfleury), Shawn Elliott (DeGuiche), Marcus Chait (Priest), Rod McLachlan and Armand Schultz.
Designing the production are James Noone (sets), Carrie Robbins (costumes), Gil Wechsler (lighting) and Laura Grace Brown (sound).
According to spokespersons for the Roundabout Theatre, artistic director Todd Haimes and Langella had been discussing such a project for five years. Rostand's romantic drama concerns a swashbuckling wise-cracker who pines for the beautiful Roxane but is too shy -- due to his prominent proboscis -- to make a move. Instead he helps handsome but tongue-tied Christian win her hand -- with unexpected results.
Langella's previous roles include The Father, also at the Roundabout, and Dracula, Sherlock's Last Case, The Tempest Amadeus and Off-Broadway's Booth. His film roles include The Twelve Chairs and Dave.
Though film and stage actor Liam Neeson told television interviewer Larry King (Nov. 1996) that he'd be playing Cyrano de Bergerac at Roundabout, the deal did not happen.
New York's last major "Cyrano" re-telling was a 1993 Dutch musical that played at the Neil Simon Theatre. A pre-Victorian Anne Runolfsson was featured as Roxane. Tickets ($50) for the Roundabout production are available by calling (212) 719-1300
--By David Lefkowitz