PLAYBILL ON OPENING NIGHT: In Cyrano de Bergerac, L'amour Rides Again (But Not Side-Saddle)

By Harry Haun
12 Oct 2012

Frances Mercanti-Anthony and Peter Bradbury
Photo by Monica Simoes

The niftiest trick of the night — and both actors can list it as a special skill on their resumes — occurs in Ragueneau's patisserie when Peter Bradbury pitches a piece of bread across the table into the mouth of Andy Grotelueschen. "This week it was four out of five," crowed Grotelueschen. "We never, ever, worked on it. Peter would toss it to me. I recognized that he had a really good toss, and I thought, 'I don't have to catch this with my hands. I'm going to catch it with my mouth.' That's what I did."

Among the vets in support are worthies like Geraldine Hughes, Max Baker (who's Le Bret this time out but was Raueneau in the 2007 Cyrano and saved Euan Morton from being barbequed when his feathered hat got too close to a live candle on stage), Drew McVety, Tim McGeever and Bill Buell. The latter, who's pastry chef Ragueneau this time out, summed it all up with: "What I love most about this show is being with this company. It's an ensemble piece, and everyone counts. Doug acts like he's just another member of the company. For me, that has been the best thing."

Among the first-nighters in attendance were Jeremy Bobb, an actor at liberty but "shaking the tree, shaking the tree"; Edward Hibbert; the respective book writers of the new Cinderella, a revised Unsinkable Molly Brown and Assassins, Douglas Carter Beane, Dick Scanlan and John Weidman; a smashing-looking Cynthia Nixon, back (from Wit) to her natural blondeness, doing a little mild drum-beating for "World Without End," her eight-part mini-series that premieres Oct. 17; Margaret Colin, working on the final episode of "Gossip Girl" — then theatah ("if you behave yourself"); Santino Fontana, the once and future Prince Charming, with girlfriend Jessica Hirschberg; the erstwhile Mrs. Potts/Mrs. Lovett, Beth Fowler, fresh from the pilot of a new Netflix Network series, "Orange is the New Black" ("I'm Sister Engels. I chain myself to a flagpole in front of nuclear facilities too many times, and they put me in jail. Kate Mulgrew is in jail with me."); composer Ned Ginsberg; producer Keith Langner; costumer Susan Hilferty and composer Charles Strouse, bracing for the third Annie coming Nov. 8); Brooke Shields, fresh from a "Good Morning America" guest-shot and a grueling week of The Exonerated; Simon Jones (uttering words no one ever expected to hear from him: "My new CD is out" — referring to the Encores! cast recording of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes); Sam Tsoutsouvas, on his night off from God of Vengeance; Laura Osnes; the once-Presidential Ben Walker, now bound for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof; birthday girl Jane Krakowski, Adelaide to Hodge's Nathan Detroit; Mark Junek and David West Read; lyricist Sheldon Harnick, promising a new ending when Encores! encores Fiorello! in January.



The opening night party was held four doors down from the theatre at B.B. King (or, as we say en francaise, Bebe King). In addition to placards about the fun things you can do with Rokk Vodka — Swashbuckler Libation (with orange juice) and Baiser de Roxane (with cranberry juice) — there were some that mentioned the unmentionable (that is, the notorious nose!).

I leave you with a few of my favorites:

"He that has a great nose thinks everybody is speaking of it." (Thomas Fuller)

"I am thankful for laughter, except when milk comes out of my nose." (Woody Allen)

"Mathematics are well and good, but nature keeps dragging us around by the nose." (Albert Einstein)

"When I want any good head work done, I always choose a man, if possible, with a long nose." (Napoleon Bonaparte)

"My nose itched, and I knew I should drink wine or kiss a fool." (Jonathan Swift)

"There is nothing so difficult to marry as a large nose." (Oscar Wilde)