Jamie Lloyd's Olivier Award-winning production of Cyrano de Bergerac, starring James McAvoy, debuts in New York at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Get Cyrano de Bergerac tickets on New York Theatre Guide.
Cyrano de Bergerac is a play in which the title character is an intelligent and artistic man, but he believes himself unlovable. As such, he believes he cannot woo Roxane, the woman he loves. When his battle companion, Christian, confides in Cyrano that he has fallen in love with Roxane but lacks the words to express it, Cyrano volunteers to write letters to her in Christian's name. He gets to express his true feelings without risking getting hurt, even if it means letting Roxane go to another man.
The new version of Edmond Rostand's 1897 play has been adapted by Martin Crimp, taking plenty of liberties including the removal of Cyrano's most well-known feature: his large nose. In Rostand's original play, Cyrano believes his nose is what makes him ugly and unworthy of love; Crimp's version mentions this, but lets the audience imagine it. His Cyrano de Bergerac is also not a period piece that recreates the 17th century, when the real Cyrano lived. Instead, though still set during that time, the show is modernized, with the actors dressed in contemporary clothing. Staged swordfights and battles of wits remain, but the bulk of the story is told at microphones with slam poetry, rapping, and beatboxing.
Lloyd's Cyrano de Bergerac production first played London's West End in fall 2019. The play won the 2020 Olivier Award for Best Revival, and McAvoy was nominated for Best Lead Actor. Cyrano de Bergerac played a monthlong return engagement on the West End and a weeklong run in Glasgow, Scotland, McAvoy's hometown, before opening in New York City.
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Photo credit: James McAvoy in Cyrano de Bergerac. (Photo by Marc Brenner)