By Matthew Blank
12 Oct 2012
Jamie Lloyd directs the clear, colloquial rhyming-verse translation by Ranjit Bolt. Lighting designer Japhy Weideman's ambient side lighting — which picks up the burnished browns and golds in the work of set and costume designer Soutra Gilmour — makes the staging's physical world seem like a 17th-century Velázquez canvas brought to life (the play is set in the mid-1600s, after all). It's a visually sweet world in the bittersweet life of a swashbuckling yet deformed hero whose love for a beautiful woman named Roxane is unrequited.
Hodge, who won the Tony as Best Actor in a Musical for playing Albin in the recent revival of La Cage aux Folles, plays the title character, Cyrano, the nobleman with poetry in his heart but an ugliness that precedes him. Audiences in previews have been shocked and delighted by one of the most surprising Broadway entrances in recent memory, with swaggering Hodge exploding onto the scene and hidden in darkness for several minutes before we see his bulbous — almost cancerous — nose. The sound you hear at play's end is not just the skittering of falling leaves in Lloyd's autumnal setting, but sniffles from moved playgoers.
Paris-born Poésy (Fleur Delacour in the "Harry Potter" movies, Eva Coupeau in "Gossip Girl") makes her Broadway debut as Roxane, Broadway vet Patrick Page (Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, The Lion King) plays the romantic rival Comte De Guiche, Kyle Soller (Broadway debut) is the handsome but tongue-tied Christian, who woos Roxane with Cyrano's words. The cast also boasts Max Baker (Le Bret), Bill Buell (Ragueneau), Geraldine Hughes (Duenna & Marthe), Samuel Roukin (Valvert ), Peter Bradbury (Carbon de Castel-Jaloux), Mikaela Feely-Lehmann (Claire), Andy Grotelueschen (Montefleury & Friar), Frances Mercanti-Anthony (Amélie, Lise, Mother Marguérite), Tim McGeever (Lignière), Drew McVety (Man #2) and Ben Steinfeld (Musketeer).
This is a limited engagement through Nov. 25. The design team also includes Dan Moses Schreier (sound) and Charlie Rosen (music).
Here's how Roundabout bills the 1897 French classic: "An enduring masterwork with some of the wittiest lines ever written for the stage, Cyrano de Bergerac is a clever and touching story about the power of love, the art of wordplay and the joy of finding what you've always wanted right under your nose. Cyrano's a nobleman with a head for poetry and a nose for miles. All of Paris adores him except for his true love Roxane, who can't see past his all-too-prominent facial feature. Instead, she falls for a handsome young cadet named Christian. But when Christian admits he's tongue-tied with Roxane, Cyrano gives him the romantic words guaranteed to win her heart. With Christian's looks and Cyrano's language, it's a foolproof plan! Or is it?"
Hodge was recently directed by Lloyd in a sold-out run in John Osborne's play Inadmissible Evidence at the Donmar Warehouse in London, for which he received an Olivier nomination. Lloyd was associate director of the Donmar from 2008 to 2011. His recent theatre credits include The Duchess of Malfi (Old Vic); She Stoops to Conquer (National, Olivier Theatre); The Faith Machine and The Pride (Royal Court; Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement for The Pride).
Tickets are available by calling Roundabout Ticket Services at (212) 719-1300, going online at roundabouttheatre.org or at the American Airlines box office at 227 W. 42nd Street.