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  • David Zak

CYRANO’S Stars Can’t Rise Above The Score

I have always been thrilled by the story of CYRANO, as the title character with a big nose thinks his beloved Roxanne can never return his love. Since the play by Edmund Rostand premiered in 1897, it has been told in hundreds of ways, including some great efforts like Steve Martin’s film Roxanne from 1987. Alas, this new musical CYRANO, despite the excellent wattage of its unique star Peter Dinklage, never takes flight because, frankly, the musical score is not memorable.

Christian (Kelvin Harrison Jr.) is, as usual, heroic and handsome here, and Roxanne (Haley Bennett) is virginal with wild desire underneath. When Christian appeals to Cyrano to help him woo Roxanne by writing love letters to her, our tragic star finally has a chance to express himself. CYRANO generally scores because the rhyming couplets of the original are hilarious and are wonderfully self-deprecating. Great love and great loneliness are a linked pair.

The production design is top-notch all the way around. The costumes by Massimo Cantini Parrini for the large ensemble are lovely and plentiful. There are excellent sword fights, and the settings and production design are stunning. Some of the special effects - including flocks of letters in the streets and apartments are breathtaking.

However, the score by Aaron Dessner and Bryce Dessner is a colossal disappointment. Some of the choreographic choices - like the large ensemble of soldiers dancing romantically together - seem to come from another movie. I was stunned to learn that the project had been developed at Goodspeed Opera House and had an Off-Broadway run.

That illustrates the power of a star like Peter Dinklage. The concept sounds exciting, but without a memorable score performed by vocalists that can lift you out of your seats, the project remains interesting but earthbound.

To see CYRANO, pay an additional rental fee at Prime Video.

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