Kevin Kline is Cyrano in the limited 10-week run of Cyrano de Bergerac on Broadway. Kline embodied the droll and tragic large-nosed hero so magnificently in the masterfully-directed play that I can’t imagine anyone better in the role. The actor is simply brilliant on the stage.
The first act of this classic story tipped perhaps a little too much toward the comic than the romantic, but the set design was perfectly dingy, and the second act was dramatic and powerful. Jennifer Garner was decent as Roxane, but she paled in comparison to Kline. While she has an adorable charm, she lacks the soulfulness to be a character on a dramatic stage. Her style is much more well-suited for the screen.
After a steady diet of big-budget family-friendly musicals, Cyrano was a refreshing, intelligent treat. Ever since I read it in high school, it’s been one of my favorite plays, and this production was the first time I’ve actually seen it staged. David, on the other hand, would have preferred the musical stage version of Steve Martin’s Roxanne. Dramatic plays just ain’t his thang.
But alas, a theatre-goer can not be influenced by the stage alone. The Richard Rogers Theatre is a compact, vertical theatre and seating is tight. If I had closed my eyes, I would never have imagined I was sitting in center mezzanine but rather attending the play at a tuberculosis ward. The women directly behind me, to the left of me and in front of me all hacked continually—unceasingly—throughout the show. It was mindbogglingly distracting, and I won’t be surprised when I wake up with horrific bronchitis on Saturday or Sunday. The woman to the right of David coughed throughout the first act, and then left with her husband at intermission. Unfortunately her husband returned alone to her seat for the second act and reeked of cigarette smoke and offensive body odor. That spoiled the rest of the show, particularly for David.
Perhaps most startling and appalling was the elderly gentleman across the aisle in the left mezzanine who yelled out, midway through the first act, “LOUDER!!!” The actors were taken aback, but remained in character—until the curtain call. Kevin Kline came back out for a solo bow, and quipped, “You’ve been a wonderful audience—except for one!”