Review Roundup: CYRANO DE BERGERAC at American Players Theatre

Review Roundup: CYRANO DE BERGERAC at American Players Theatre

CYRANO DE BERGERAC at American Players Theatre's newly renovated Hill Theatre is a timeless romance filled with wit and heart-stopping action. The cast features James Ridge as Cyrano, Danny Martinez as Christian, Laura Rook as Roxanne, Alejandro Cordoba as Brissaille, Robert R. Doyle as Cuigy / Ensemble, Ty Fanning as D'Artagnan, Chike Johnson as LeBret, Andrew Rathgeber as Ligniere, Sarah Day as Cassandace / Ensemble, Elizabeth Reese as Barthenoide / Ensemble, Colleen Madden as Urimedonte / Ensemble, David Daniel as Ragueneau, Casey Hoekstra as Valvert, John Taylor Phillips as DeGuiche, Kelsey Brennan as Duenna / Ensemble, and Brian Mani as Montfleury / Ensemble.

The cast also includes Kipp Moorman (Poet / Ensemble), Cage Sebastian Pierre (Poet), Tim Gittings (A Musketeer), Olivia de Waart (Sister Mary), Cher Desiree Alvarez (Sister Claire / Ensemble), Eduardo Curley-Carrillo (Cadet), Josh Krause (Cadet), Marcus Truchinski (Cadet), and Xavier Roe (Cadet / Ensemble).

See what the critics had to say!

Sharon Kilarski, Epoch Times: James DeVita, who drew from four translations of the play to write his adaptation, emphasizes the character's (Cyrano's) admirable bravery, his wit, his poetic gestures, his flights of rapid-fire fancy, and his irrefutable honor, upheld with tenacity... James DeVita, who drew from four translations of the play to write his adaptation, emphasizes the character's admirable bravery, his wit, his poetic gestures, his flights of rapid-fire fancy, and his irrefutable honor, upheld with tenacity.

Lawrence B. Johnson, Chicago On The Aisle: To say a plain thing plainly, the production of Edmond Rostand's "Cyrano de Bergerac" on display this summer at American Players Theatre would be worth the three-and-a-half-hour drive from Chicago even if you didn't stick around for any other show - which would be a mistake... Ridge's portrayal of Rostand's sad but proud hero, who prides himself first and last on his panache, is at once earthy and ethereal. No doubt Ridge's empathic Cyrano owes much to the naturalism of this adaptation by James DeVita, who also directs the show, which largely dispenses with the rhymed couplets of the original French text in favor of rhythmically sprung dialogue that moves forward with fluid grace on every hand. And still, it is Ridge's image of profound humanity, his portrait of Cyrano's unassailable pride and nobly borne heartbreak, that sweeps us along and remains fixed in memory.

Aaron R. Conklin, Madison Magazine: American Players Theatre's current production of "Cyrano," playing on the Hill Theater stage through Oct. 6, also woos its audience through the combination of two men-both of whom happen to be named "Jim." The first is Jim Ridge, who plays his Cyrano with a heartbreaking mix of bluster, bravado and aching self-awareness. The second is director Jim DeVita, who's responsible for trimming De Rostand's weighty script and adding some modern touches to make it zip. But DeVIta's done more than just frame the script-he seems also to have framed Ridge's performance in his own image... Ridge's Cyrano doesn't use his wit as armor so much as a weapon at the ready, a rapier that's always whirling several feet in front of him, slashing nearly everyone in its path. This is a man who's first to dish the hurt rather than be subject to it.His aggressive bluster's more than enough to unsettle those around him, whether it be John Taylor Phillips' oily Count DeGuiche, a nobleman with his own creepy designs on Roxane, or Danny Martinez's earnest Christian, who takes most of the play to realize why Cyrano's so willing and eager to aid his romantic conquest. The interplay between Ridge and Martinez generates most of the play's gut-bustingly funny moments, especially during the pivotal balcony scene.

Lindsay Christians, The Cap Times: Director Jim DeVita, an APT company member who has long been a playwright as well, sets "Cyrano" in his own new adaptation. Drawn from four separate translations, DeVita's script blends classic poetic language with quick contemporary asides ("you've noticed that?")... This "Cyrano" rests on the capable shoulders of Ridge. Cyrano has a quick wit but a quicker temper. With a tendency to bluster and a damsel-in-distress streak of misogyny, he could be highly unlikable in lesser hands than Ridge's, who plays him with a tenderness and vulnerability that coax him back to earth... But though DeVita connects with Cyrano's integrity, there's Roxane to consider. As Rook plays her, she's smart and uncompromising in her affections, with a streak of pride and stubbornness Cyrano must recognize in himself.

Alexis Bugajski, Picture This Post: Each of the actors in CYRANO is a joy to watch on stage as they work together to create the world of the play. The ensemble surrounding the featured actors are just as fun to watch from the boisterous Gascon battalion to the baker's wife fed up with Raguenaeu's lack of business sense. Also Cyrano's best friend, Ragueneau, played by David Daniel, is a budding poet and so sweet we can't help but wish him all the best in his various artistic endeavors. Roxane's friend, played by Kelsey Brennan, has an insatiable sweet tooth and her interactions with Cyrano have us laughing as he tries to have a moment alone with Roxane but she remains painfully oblivious. Roxanne, played by Laura Rook, has great comedic instincts and a full range of emotions. She is in the midst of the action rather than idly sitting by. She asks for what she wants and gets it, not settling for less than true love. When her man is off at war she is sure as hell going to find a way to see him. She's perfectly charming and fierce!... The costumes, designed by Mathew J. LeFebvre, are mix of fancy, over the top brocade jackets and full ballgowns for the upperclass right alongside the simple, rough costumes for the soldiers. Lights, designed by Michael A. Peterson, perfectly compliment the nature surrounding the outdoor stage. They fade as naturally as the dusk falls at The Hill Stage at American Players Theater. When we're at the battle scene it's incredible to experience, especially sitting underneath the stars. The trees light up blue and red as the sound of gunfire takes over.

Catherine Capellaro, The Isthmus: Cyrano, played with heartbreaking panache by James Ridge, is witty and brave beyond compare. His goal, not humbly stated, is "to be the best at everything." But by his own admission, he is ugly (the prosthesis used for his nose is a tad distracting). The one thing he cannot bear is to be rejected by Roxane... I have always been devastated by the romance, but this time, I was able to understand another reason why the play endures. The play is inherently political; it speaks to our desire to live independently. At a time when artists and soldiers were all beholden to wealthy patrons, Cyrano refused to bow to anyone. He lived his convictions. As DeVita puts it in his director's notes, "I cannot think of a time when we need Cyrano more than now."

Photo: americanplayers.org


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