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 takes his turn, in his own adaptation, scheduled to open Dec. 9. (Several previous dates were announced and then changed, due to a cast change -- Marcus Chait has taken over the role of Christiane from Gabriel Macht -- and the crowded November schedule.)
Langella, star of last season's Present Laughter, plays the big-nosed tragicomic hero of Edmund Rostand's drama in a new chamber version Langella is adapting and directing himself. This 12-character Cyrano de Bergerac began previews Oct. 29 and runs to Jan. 18, 1998.
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), Lisa Leguillou (Lise), 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
* Here's the latest on the rest of the Roundabout season:
After a successful recent revival of All My Sons, New York's Roundabout Theatre Company will continue its investigation of Arthur Miller's works with a Stage Right revival of A View From The Bridge starring Anthony LaPaglia (The Rose Tattoo).
Allison Janney and Stephen Spinella also star, alongside Brittany Murphy, Gabriel Olds, Adam Trease (pronounced "Tracy") and Mark Zeisler. Spokesperson Erin Dunn told Playbill On-Line an ensemble will also be onstage to create the atmosphere of a town.
Janney starred opposite Frank Langella in Present Laughter and Off Broadway in Blue Window, New England and Five Women Wearing The Same Dress. Spinella, who plays Alfieri, is a two-time Tony winner, both for the same play -- sort of. He won a best featured actor Tony for Angels In America, Part I and a best actor Tony for Angels In America, Part II. Other roles include Tony Kushner's adaptation of The Illusion, and New York Theatre Workshop's mounting of David Rabe's A Question Of Mercy.
Penned as a long one-act in 1955 and then expanded the following year, A View From The Bridge, concerns a man afraid of losing his niece - and the security of his own sexuality. The show begins Broadway previews Nov. 25, opens Dec. 14 and runs to Feb. 1, 1998 (with a brief extension possible). Though author Miller came to the first reading, he hasn't revised the play (as he did Signature Theatre's current revival of The American Clock Off Broadway).
Michael Mayer directs Bridge -- a real coup, since he also directed the Broadway musical Triumph Of Love, which opened Oct. 23. Mayer also staged Craig Lucas' Missing Persons in 1995 at NY's Atlantic Theatre Company, and he conceived and staged the WPA revue, Hundreds Of Hats.
After Bridge ends, the Stage Right will see a revival of Terence Rattigan's 1952 Deep Blue Sea, starring Blythe Danner and beginning Feb. 25, 1998. Other plays by Rattigan include French Without Tears and Separate Tables.
Renowned mime and physical comedian Bill Irwin will direct the Feydeau farce, A Flea In Her Ear, in late winter at the Laura Pels, where he directed and appeared in Scapin last season. Previews are targeted for Feb. 11, 1998 making Flea the first show there after Frank Langella's current Cyrano de Bergerac.
Irwin's other roles include Waiting For Godot, half of Fool Moon (with David Shiner), and his solo, In Regard Of Flight.
The Roundabout hasn't yet announced what show will be done at the Laura Pels after Flea In Her Ear. Sometime in the summer, a contemporary musical fable" -- that is, a new musical featuring the hit songs of Burt Bacharach and Hal David -- will arrive. Gillian Lynne will direct and choreograph the revue, which will have a book by Kenny Solms, based on an idea by Solms and Lynne.
No doubt interest in Bacharach & David's work was rekindled by the wildly acclaimed Encores! concert staging of < Aes, Promises in March. Songs by the pair include "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head" and "I'll Never Fall In Love Again."
Lynne is the director of Cats and Phantom Of The Opera.
Long rumored for the Roundabout -- and still up in the air -- is a production of Harold Pinter's latest, Ashes To Ashes, which opened at London's Royal Court Theatre, Sept. 1996. According to a story in Variety (June 30), because Pinter wants to direct, and because the Roundabout wants original stars Stephen Rea (Someone Who'll Watch Over Me) and Lindsay Duncan to appear, setting a date for this season has been extremely difficult.
Roundabout spokesperson Erin Dunn told Playbill On-Line (July 3) that several different scenarios could happen at this point. "It's very up in the air and may or may not happen, though, of course, we hope it does."
The author of The Miss Firecracker Contest and Crimes Of The Heart may return to New York with Impossible Marriage, about a woman married to a man "over twice her age, balding, overweight and rumored to be a philanderer." The comedy/drama will star Holly Hunter, best known for her film-work in The Piano and Broadcast News. She also starred in Henley's The Wake Of Jamey Foster on Broadway in 1982.
Postponed from this season to the next is a revival of James Goldman's The Lion In Winter, concerning the sparring match between King Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine, circa 1183. Katharine Hepburn and Peter O'Toole starred in the famous 1968 film. No word on whether the Henley or Goldman plays will be presented on Broadway or Off.
Roundabout has announced that theatregoers who purchased memberships (i.e., subscriptions) to the 1996-97 season at the now-defunct Circle In The Square, can buy $10 tickets to shows in the 1997-98 Roundabout season. Circle is closed indefinitely due to an outstanding $2 million debt that could not be overcome.
Circle members should fax -- (212) 869 8817 -- or mail their name, address and a copy of their membership card to the Roundabout Theatre: 1530 Broadway, New York, NY 10036. The idea is to keep nurturing an audience for not-for-profit theatres, and to keep encouraging subscriptions in an era when upfront money is important to theatres.
--By David Lefkowitz