Arden Theatre Company 2011/12 mainstage season closes Edmond Rostand's Cyrano in a new version translated by Michael Hollinger, co-adapted with director Aaron Posner. This French love story re-imagined for an American audience ends tonight, April 15, 2012.
Cyrano marks Hollinger's first full-scale translation, for which he used his fluency in French to develop the play with Posner's lean and athletic directorial style in mind. "Of course, for my first translation, I had to start with a universally-beloved five-act masterpiece," Hollinger jokes. "My goal was to release the energies of the play and make it feel immediate and accessible to a contemporary American audience." Both Hollinger and co-adaptor/director Aaron Posner have long histories with Arden Theatre Company. Hollinger has premiered seven plays at the Arden including three Barrymore Award winners for Outstanding New Play: Opus (one of American Theatres Top 10 most produced plays in 2009), Ghost-Writer, and Red Herring.
Posner co-founded the Arden in 1988 and is the award-winning writer of such adaptations of My Name Is Asher Lev, The Chosen (1999 Barrymore Award for Outstanding New Play), and A Murder, A Mystery, and a Marriage. He is also known for his rousing and imaginative Shakespeare productions such as A Midsummer Nights Dream, As You Like It, and Twelfth Night.. "I'm thrilled to be working with my good friend Michael Hollinger on this amazing emotional adventure story", says Posner. "I am looking forward to everything about the production-- being back at the Arden, working with many old friends and longtime collaborators, and sharing this astonishing story with the Arden's outstanding audience."
An ensemble cast of nine actors brings a rollicking theatricality to this epic story, originally written by Rostand to be performed by dozens. Eric Hissom returns to the Arden after August: Osage County and A Moon for the Misbegotten to play the heroic Cyrano, reprising the role he played at Washington D.C.'s Folger Theatre last spring. As his love interest Roxane, Jessica Cummings (Broadway's The Seagull) makes her Arden debut. Completing the famous love triangle as Christian is Luigi Sottile (Arden debut, Barrymore nomination for The Vibrator Play at Wilma Theater). Playing bakers, soldiers, nuns and more are Philadelphia favorites Scott Greer (The Flea and the Professor, Romeo and Juliet), David Bardeen (Wanamaker's Pursuit), Ben Lloyd (Picasso at the Lapin Agile), Doug Hara (The Threepenny Opera, Something Intangible), Justin Jain (former Arden Professional Apprentice, writer and performer with the Berserker Residents) and in his Arden debut Keith Randolph Smith (Broadway's Fences, King Hedley II, and The Piano Lesson).
The creative team, who adds a contemporary edge to the play's classical foundation, includes set designer Dan Conway (August: Osage County, My Name Is Asher Lev), costume designer Devon Painter (Cyrano at Folger Theatre), lighting designer Thom Weaver (August: Osage County, A Moon for the Misbegotten), and sound designer James Sugg (August: Osage County, Romeo and Juliet).