Review Roundup: CYRANO Opens Off-Broadway Starring Peter Dinklage - Read the Reviews!
The New Group's Cyrano is playing a limited Off-Broadway engagement through December 22 at The Daryl Roth Theatre. See what the critics are saying!
Cyrano, adapted by Erica Schmidt from Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand, with Music by Aaron Dessner and Bryce Dessner of The National, Lyrics by Matt Berninger of The National and Carin Besser, and Choreography by Jeff and Rick Kuperman, directed by Erica Schmidt, launches The New Group's 25th Anniversary Season.
Cyrano features Ritchie Coster, Josh A. Dawson, Peter Dinklage, Hillary Fisher, Josh Franklin, Christopher Gurr, Blake Jenner, Jasmine Cephas Jones, Nehal Joshi, Grace McLean, Erika Olson and Scott Stangland.
Johnny Oleksinski, The New York Post: The marquee names here aren't the composers, the National's Aaron Dessner, Bryce Dessner and Matt Berninger, however, but the lead actor: Peter Dinklage, the Emmy winner who played Tyrion Lannister on HBO's "Game of Thrones" for eight years. A talented performer full of gravitas, Dinklage could one day make a seismic Cyrano de Bergerac. But in this show, which is little more than black eyeliner set to music, he can't overcome its lifelessness.
Frank Rizzo, Variety: It's pride and not panache that drives this overly spare and gloomy musical adaptation of that classic tale of unrequited love and honor, "Cyrano de Bergerac." Despite a mesmerizing performance by Peter Dinklage, hot off "Game of Thrones," and a haunting score by members of the band The National, this "Cyrano" is so reductive - the musical runs just two hours - that instead of an epic narrative poem of yearning, brio and noble sacrifice, there's just a haiku of rue.
Chris Jones, The New York Daily News: The adaptation is not quite a musical, at least in the sense of selling legit numbers or requiring traditional Broadway voices, but more an underscored play with original music (the poetic lyrics are by Matt Berninger and Carrin Besser) that feels at one with the spoken text. The pervasive mood of most everything about Schmidt's unusual production is melancholy, surely by design; this likely will be the saddest Cyrano you ever have seen. And, frankly, the most emotionally revealing.
Robert Hofler, The Wrap: Having a Cyrano who doesn't sing much in a musical is like cutting most of Cyrano's poetry from the original play. Then again, considering Matt Berninger and Carin Besser's pedestrian lyrics, there's an advantage to not having your hero sing much. It would ruin his reputation as a poet.
Raven Snook, Time Out New York: Director-adapter Erica Schmidt mostly sticks to the story of the source material. Cyrano, a soldier equally skilled with swords and words but who believes he's too ugly to love, attempts to quash his crush on Roxanne (a ravishing Jasmine Cephas Jones) and helps the witless pretty boy Christian (Blake Jenner) woo her in his stead. But Schmidt has excised all the poetry and much of the nasty humor; the jokes about Cyrano's enormous nose are replaced with weak colloquial stabs at comedy ("Whaaa?").
Michael Sommers, New York Stage Review: Schmidt's dialogue is contemporary and terse. The score sounds handsome, though generally subdued in expression, and it possesses a pleasing folk-rock music quality enhanced by sonorous guitars and cello arrangements for a six-member band. Much of the dialogue is underscored and every so often the music rises into plaintive songs that paraphrase rather than heighten the action. (Incidentally, no swordplay ever erupts in this saga of a celebrated duelist.)
David Finkle. New York Stage Review: These "oh, wows!" wouldn't, however, be exclaimed in a positive way. The negative invocations would be in response to how short of the mark this Cyrano is. They would be in awed recognition of how thoroughly Schmidt, Dessner, Dessner, Berninger, and Besser, while futzing with the story, came up with nothing at all genuinely entertaining.
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