Cyrano
A swashbuckling romp with a case of hidden identity, a passionate love story and one unforgettable nose.
Show Essentials
9
Roles
+ Ensemble
PG
Rated
2
Acts

Full Synopsis

Act One

After a rousing overture, the scene opens on a crowd gathering in a Parisian street for a new play from Montfleury's production company. Rageuneau and Christian enter looking for the beautiful Roxana, who finally arrives with her guardian, Comte de Guiche, nephew of Cardinal Richelieu. It appears as though De Guiche is completely smitten with Roxana but is already wed, so he proposes to marry her to a certain Viscount, Monseigneur de Valvert. This way, he can have access to her whenever he wishes. Rageuneau and Christian exit when they see Roxana and De Guiche looking at them.

The play begins with Montfleury's narration, which is interrupted suddenly by Cyrano brandishing a sword. He demands that the play be stopped because it insults his and everyone else's intelligence. Cyrano makes such a big scene that Montfleury and his actors finally leave. De Guiche has words with Cyrano and chastises his manners. Cyrano calls him a philistine. It seems that Cyrano strives for a higher understanding and has no time for trivialities. De Guiche presses him further, and Cyrano finally asks him at what he and everyone else is looking – his enormous nose? He isn't offended by this and has no problem telling them just how big his nose is ("Nose Song").

De Valvert accuses Cyrano of being crude and arrogant, slapping him in the face with his gloves. Cyrano asks if De Valvert would mind if the two had a little sword fight. Cyrano also says that he would like to compose a poem while the fight is happening and kill De Valvert on the last line. De Valvert accepts the challenge, Cyrano starts to recite his poem and a sword fight begins. Finally, when he feels that the poem is finished, Cyrano goes in and kills De Valvert. De Valvert's body is carried away as the crowd disperses.

Roxana has watched the entire proceedings from her balcony and thanks Cyrano for killing De Valvert. Her guardian, De Guiche, wanted her to marry him; however, she had no desire to do so. She retires to her room. leaving Cyrano and his friend, Le Bret, to talk. Le Bret tells Cyrano that he must be careful with his behavior because Cardinal Richelieu will eventually get him. Cyrano only wants do whatever he wants, whenever he wants – this doesn't seem unreasonable, does it? He also confesses to Le Bret that he loves his own cousin, Roxana. Le Bret tells him that he should tell Roxana of his love; however, Cyrano thinks this is ridiculous because his appearance is so revolting that Roxana would never love him. His nose is just too big. No woman would ever love him ("Tell Her").

Roxana's governess, Duenna, enters and delivers a message to Cyrano, saying that Roxana needs to see him very much – in private. Cyrano is shocked and happy about this and, with Le Bret's coaching, arranges a time and place – tomorrow, after morning mass. Duenna leaves, and Le Bret tells Cyrano that he must tell her that he loves her tomorrow. Yes, he will do it! Rageuneau then enters in terrible condition and falls to the floor. It appears that a hundred men were chasing him just because he wrote a poem that offended them. He can't go home. Cyrano tells him that he should carry on his life as usual. Cyrano will help him out and fight the one hundred men at the Port de Nesle – alone. With Roxana in love with him, there is nothing he can't do ("From Now Till Forever").

At seven o'clock the next morning at Ragueneau Bakery, Ragueneau reenacts his imagined version of Cyrano's encounter with the one hundred men at the Porte de Nesle. The workers there are not too amused as they watch their boss simulate a fight and create a new poem. A wounded Cyrano enters but he is more concerned about his appearance than he is with attending to the wound on his head – he is about to meet Roxana for their scheduled encounter. As Cyrano nervously scrolls a letter to Roxana in case he can't face her, bakery apprentices enter to tell of the mad fighting that occurred at the Porte de Nesle. Eight men were killed, and 92 ran off, screaming like cats. Cyrano obviously did his work.

Roxana does come to meet her cousin, Cyrano, and the two recall a time gone by when they were children spending summers together, playing in "Bergerac." Roxana attend to Cyrano's wounded head and tells him of the real reason for her visit. It appears that she is in love with someone whom she has never met. She has only seen him at the theatre. He is a soldier, just like Cyrano, and, in fact, is in his regiment. His name is Baron Christian de Neuvillette, and she is afraid for him. He is new in the guards but is not a Gascon. She fears that he will be picked on. She knows that everyone is afraid of Cyrano and, after what she saw him do last night while fighting in the street, she knows that he can protect Christian. She asks Cyrano to promise to be Christian's friend and make certain that he (Christian) writes her. He agrees, and she leaves.

This is hardly the meeting that Cyrano had in mind; however, before he gets too distraught, Le Bret and all of the other cadets enter to celebrate Cyrano's victory over the one hundred men at the port. The fight apparently was tremendous. Everyone wants to meet Cyrano. De Guiche enters and tells Cyrano that even Cardinal Richelieu would like Cyrano to join his retinue. Cyrano turns down all interviews and even sends word to Cardinal Richelieu that he "does not join retinues." He is indeed too proud. De Guiche leaves, insulted and ready for revenge. This was a chance for Cyrano, but he didn't take it. Le Bret reminds Cyrano that all he does is make enemies. Yes, Cyrano loves hatred! He wants everything to be on his own terms ("No Thank You").

Le Bret tells Cyrano that he may enjoy being bitter and proud; however, the real reason he is upset is because Roxana doesn't love him. With that, Roxana's secret love, Baron Christian de Neuvillette, enters and is questioned by the other cadets, who learn that he comes from the north. The soldiers trick him into mocking Cyrano's nose as Cyrano tells the story of his fight with one hundred men the night before. At first, Cyrano is angry that Christian would dare to insult him; however, after learning his identity, he lets him continue with his insults. Cyrano finally tells everyone to leave – they all do, even though they are rather confused. He sits and talks with Christian and tells him who he is and that Roxana is his cousin. Christian is overjoyed to hear this and apologizes for insulting Cyrano. Cyrano informs Christian that Roxana is expecting a letter from him – tonight. This terrifies Christian since he is, in fact, terrible when it comes to words. Cyrano volunteers to write the letters for Christian and romance Roxana on his behalf. Grateful, Christian embraces Cyrano, and the two go off to begin their newfound collaboration.

Act Two

Cyrano and Christian stand outside of Roxana's house as Cryano coaches Christian in a song he that will sing to her ("Roxana"). Tonight is the first time that she hears his voice. Christian sings the song; unfortunately, Duenna, hears it, instead. Cyrano tells Christian to go off and wait for his signal. Roxana comes down and talks to Cyrano, telling him how marvelous Christian's writings are. In fact, she has memorized them all. Just as Cyrano is ready to go and get Christian, Duenna enters with news that De Guiche has arrived. Cyrano informs her that, with the help of his uncle, Cardinal Richelieu, he has had his wife put away. Before anything else can happen, Roxana needs to get rid of him. Cyrano leaves for a short time.

De Guiche talks with Roxana and tells her that he has been promoted to colonel of the Gascons and is off to battle to fight the Spaniards. Upon hearing the news, Roxana is distraught thinking of the possibility that Christian could be injured in battle. She reminds De Guiche that he wants revenge on Cyrano for snubbing him not that long ago and convinces him that the ultimate revenge would be to leave Cyrano's company behind while the rest go off to battle. Cyrano loves danger and would be devastated at not being able to go. De Guiche loves the idea and is convinced that Roxana must really love him to dream up a scheme like that. De Guiche further plans that he won't go off to battle but, rather, will hide in an a nearby abbey and visit Roxana, masked, later that night. She tells him that he must go and fight and be her hero. He leaves. Roxana tells Duenna to say nothing because Cyrano will be most upset if he finds that she kept him and his regiment from going to war; however, Christian's safety is far more important to her. Duenna agrees. Cyrano reappears, and Roxana leaves him, telling him to have Christian wait for her when he returns.

Cyrano calls Christian out, says that he is ready to speak his own words to Roxana. Cyrano informs him that he is wasting his time; nevertheless, he is determined ("It's She and It's Me"). Roxana appears and speaks with Christian, who makes a complete fool of himself since he is unable to find the right words to use when talking with Roxana. Roxana leaves on the verge of tears. Cyrano promises to coach Christian through his next meeting. Christian calls Roxana to her balcony and, even though she doesn't want to see him, is instantly charmed by the new words that Cyrano whispers into his ear. She isn't quite convinced since Christian still sounds a bit awkward. Cyrano briskly takes Christian's hat and places it on his own head, proceeding to speak with Roxana in Christian's voice. Roxana is more and more swept away by Cyrano's words of love. She wants him to come nearer, but he stays away, finding it better being a "disembodied spirit." Roxana feels like she is reborn with this newfound love ("You Have Made Me Love").

Christian gets carried away and asks to go up the balcony for a kiss. He climbs up and takes Roxana in his arms. Cyrano pretends to have been walking by and notices Roxana and Christian. Roxana comes down to see Cyrano. Just then, a priest enters with a letter for Roxana from De Guiche. The letter tells Roxana that De Guiche will be along in a while to meet her. The priest is there so the two of them can get married and have at least one night of passion together before he goes off to battle.

Roxana, acting on an impulse, tells the priest that the letter is, in fact, an instruction from the Cardinal for him to marry Roxana and Christian. In order that the priest not question it any further, she also tells him that the abbey will receive 120 pieces of gold for his services. Roxana hears De Guiche coming and rushes Christian and the priest into the house after begging Cyrano to keep him distracted. The wedding should only take four minutes.

A masked De Guiche enters and is kept distracted by a disguised Cyrano, who rattles off a lengthy nonsense poem, acting like a madman ("Thither, Thother, Thide of The..."). The two men eventually reveal themselves to each other as the wedding party emerges from the house. A duped De Guiche informs Christian, the groom, that his regiment is leaving for battle tonight. Roxana is most upset; however, there is nothing that she can do but ask Cyrano to watch over her husband. He does promise to do all that he can. The only thing of which he can assure her is that he will make certain that Christian writes her every day.

("Pocadedious") Out on the battlefield, some time later, the cadets are bemoaning the fact that life in war is not all that they thought it would be. The only one who seems excited by it all is Cyrano, who is constantly out risking his life by mailing letters to Roxana from Christian. Everyone else is tired and hungry. Cyrano tries to reason with them – hard work is a way to redemption. They have no interest in hearing his words of wisdom – they just want to eat ("Paris Cuisine").

Christian enters with the information that De Guiche is on his way. De Guiche arrives and asks the men to prepare to lay down their lives for their country. Apparently, they are going to be attacked by the Spanish in a quarter of an hour – his spy has told him so. They will be grossly outnumbered. Cyrano tells De Guiche that he will at last have his revenge, for Du Guiche manipulated this attack. However, De Guiche sees this as just a normal day's work for Cyrano, who supposedly loves fighting when the odds are against him.

Christian then asks Cyrano to show him the next letter that he plans to send to Roxana. On the paper, Christian notices a little circle, which Cyrano confesses is a tear. He says that he is upset that he will never see Roxana again if the war continues in its current manner. Christian takes the letter from him, realizing that this entire thing is getting out of hand.

A coach is heard approaching and pulls into the camp. It's Roxana. She has come to be with her husband and is determined to stay, no matter how horrible things get. The cadets scramble to make her comfortable, and she tells them that she would like some pastry and wine. However, where are they going to get them? All the delicacies are in her carriage, and her driver – who is also the baker, Ragueneau – has prepared them.

Cyrano pulls Christian aside and tells him not to be surprised if Roxana talks of their letters. It appears that, in actuality, Cyrano did write her more often than he told Christian – twice a day. He risked his life by crossing enemy lines to make certain that these letters got to her, even though they have been blockaded for the past month. When Christian does talk with Roxana, he asks her why she risked her life coming to see him. It's because she wants his forgiveness for loving him for his beauty alone. She now realizes that love is more than just physical beauty. Based on his letters, she would love him even if he were ugly ("Love Is Not Love").

Christian sends her off to talk with his friends since she is the last woman's smile that they will probably see. He talks with Cyrano and tells him that Roxana is not in love with him, but with his soul – and Cyrano is his soul. Christian begs Cyrano to tell Roxana everything, and let her choose between the two of them. The battle begins, and Christian goes off to fight as Cyrano talks with Roxana and learns the truth about her love. Yes, she would love Christian even if he were hideous. As the battle gets more intense, Roxana is escorted away before Cyrano can tell her the truth. Christian is injured and carried back to die. As he dies, Cyrano tells Christian that Roxana loves him and always has. Even though this really isn't the truth, it is the noble thing for Cyrano to do. He then goes to avenge Christian's death (and his own) just as De Guiche announces that the reinforcements have arrived.

The scene shifts to a convent, where nuns are caring for Roxana ("Autumn Carol"). It is fourteen years since Christian's death, and Roxana is still pining away for him. De Guiche comes to see her and tries to pick up her spirits. It seems that Cyrano still visits Roxana weekly and acts as her gazette. Le Bret also comes to visit and tells Roxana that Cyrano is not well; he just continues to sit alone, writing satires, which make him more enemies. De Guiche is determined not to let Cyrano be pitied. He believes that Cyrano has chosen his own destiny and is living life as he wants.

As Roxana escorts De Guiche out, Ragueneau enters and informs Le Bret that Cyrano has been terribly beaten and is barely alive. They leave through a back exit to find him. Roxana returns and makes certain that the nuns set a chair for her weekly visit with Cyrano. He arrives a few minutes late. It's strange because he has never been late before. Cyrano gives her the week's news. He seems week and out of sorts; however, Cyrano tells her that it is simply an old war injury. He does ask if he could read Christian's last letter; she promised him that he could do so one day. Full of passion, he reads the letter to her – even without the aid of proper lighting. There, she realizes that Cyrano was her true love all the time – even though he says that he wasn't ("I Never Loved You").

Le Bret and Ragueneau return to find Cyrano barely alive. It appears that an angry peasant clobbered him. Roxana begs him to live because she loves him and she cannot lose him again. However, he tells her that it is too late. As the moon begins to glow, he sees God approaching him. People may have hurt him along the way and laughed at him, but they can never take his spirit and all that he stood for away from him.

"One thing unstained – by death, by doom Unfingered. See it there – a white plume Over the battle – a diamond in the ash. Of the ultimate combustion – my panache."

Casting

Casting

Cast Size: Flexible Cast Size
Cast Type: Ensemble Cast
Dance Requirements: Standard

Character Breakdown

Christian De Neuvillette
In love with Roxana and new to the Gascons. Handsome, quick-witted, and fearless.
Gender: male
Age: 25 to 35
Vocal range top: F5
Vocal range bottom: B3
Count De Guiche
Roxana's jealous and controlling guardian. He is married but in love and lust with his ward.
Gender: male
Age: 45 to 55
Cyrano De Bergerac
A swashbuckling poet deeply in love with Roxana. Loyal, proud, and dramatic.
Gender: male
Age: 35 to 45
Vocal range top: G5
Vocal range bottom: G3
Duenna
Roxana's handmaid and friend. She has a biting, sarcastic sense of humor.
Gender: female
Age: 35 to 45
Le Bret
Captain of the Gascon regiment. He is Cyrano's friend and is a nice guy, but possesses a seriously militaristic attitude.
Gender: male
Age: 30 to 40
Vocal range top: G5
Vocal range bottom: A3
Monsier Montfleury
An actor. Fat and unattractive, but thinks of himself as gift to the opposite sex.
Gender: male
Age: 35 to 45
Ragueneau
A baker, poet, and drunk. Cyrano's friend.
Gender: male
Age: 40 to 50
Roxana
Cyrano's cousin. She is young, beautiful, and loves to be doted on. Falls in love with Christian upon first sight.
Gender: female
Age: 20 to 30
Vocal range top: A5
Vocal range bottom: B3
Viscount De Valvert
A member of the French nobility. Set up by De Guiche to marry Roxana. A brutish snob.
Gender: male
Age: 25 to 35
Ensemble
Officers; Bakery Girls; Bakery Apprentices
Full Song List
Cyrano: Overture
Cyrano: Cyrano's Nose
Cyrano: Tell Her
Cyrano: Till Forever
Cyrano: Bergerac
Cyrano: No Thank You
Cyrano: Roxana
Cyrano: It's She And It's Me
Cyrano: You Have Made Me Love
Cyrano: Thither, Thother, Thide Of The&
Cyrano: Pocapdedious
Cyrano: Paris Cuisine
Cyrano: Love Is Not Love
Cyrano: Autumn Carol
Cyrano: I Never Loved You

Show History

Inspiration

Cyrano, with book and lyrics by Anthony Burgess and music by Michael J. Lewis, is based on the 1897 play, Cyrano de Bergerac, written by Edmond Rostand.  In the late 1960s, Burgess, most notably known as the author of the novel, A Clockwork Orange, had translated the play out of French for a production at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis.  The director of the production, Michael Langham, suggested that Burgess adapt his version of the play for the musical stage.  He enlisted the help of Lewis, a film composer, replacing the majority of the original dialogue with musical numbers.  The Guthrie was then the first venue to put up this new version of the classic French love story.

Productions

After a tryout run at the Colonial Theatre in Boston, Cyrano opened on May 13, 1973, at the Palace Theatre on Broadway.  The production ran for 49 performances, and included performances from Christopher Plummer, Mark Lamos and Tovah Feldshuh in her Broadway debut.  The musical was abridged almost twenty years later in September 1994, when it made its West Coast premiere at the Newport Arts Center in Orange County, California.

Cultural Influence

The Broadway production of Cyrano served as the debut for actress, Tovah Feldshuh.  Feldshuh would go on to win multiple awards for her work in shows like Yentl and Golda's Balcony.

The song, "You Have Made Me Love," was released on an album of Broadway standards from actress, Deirdre McGill, who played the role of Roxana in the West Coast production.

Critical Reaction

"Cyrano is a big, romantic and melodious musical! A rousing addition to the season!"
– CBS-TV

"Cyrano is a beguiling musical for sentimentalists of all ages. It orbits the same entertainment course set by such hits as Man of La Mancha and The Sound of Music. It is an affectionate confection."
– Associated Press

"Cyrano is a big and lavish musical. Anthony Burgess' adaptation has style, taste and flair."
– Newhouse Newspapers

"Cyrano is unabashedly sentimental and swashbuckling – great fun in its swordplay, horseplay and lovers' deceptions."
– Newsday

"An excellent and flamboyant job [with the book]"
– The New York Times

Drama Desk Award

1973 - Outstanding Performance, Winner (Christopher Plummer)

Tony® Award

1974 - Actor (Musical), Winner (Christopher Plummer)
1974 - Supporting Actress In A Musical Play, Nominee (Leigh Berry)
1974 - Best Actor in a Musical, Winner (Christopher Plummer)
1974 - Best Featured Actress in a Musical, Nominee (Leigh Berry)

Connect

Billing

Based on the play, Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand, as translated by Anthony Burgess

Requirements

You must give the authors/creators billing credits, as specified in the Production Contract, in a conspicuous manner on the first page of credits in all programs and on houseboards, displays and in all other advertising announcements of any kind.
Percentages listed indicate required type size in relation to title size.
CYRANO
 
Music by
MICHAEL J. LEWIS
Lyrics by
ANTHONY BURGESS
Book by
ANTHONY BURGESS
Based on the play "Cyrano de Bergerac by
Edmond Rostand, as translated by Anthony Burgess
The videotaping or other video or audio recording of this production is strictly prohibited

Included Materials

ItemQuantity Included
LIBRETTO/VOCAL BOOK30
PIANO CONDUCTOR'S SCORE2

Production Resources

Resource
HOW DOES THE SHOW GO ON-10/CS
HOW DOES THE SHOW GO ON?
LOGO PACK
LOGO PACK DIGITAL
REFERENCE RECORDING

STANDARD ORCHESTRATION

InstrumentationDoubling
BASS
CELLO
GUITAR
HARP
HORN
HORN 2
KEYBOARD 1
PERCUSSION
REED 1PICCOLO
REED 2CLARINET
REED 3BASSOON , CLARINET
REED 4BASSOON , CLARINET
TROMBONE
TROMBONE 2
TROMBONE 3
TRUMPET
TRUMPET 2
VIOLA
VIOLIN
VIOLIN 2