Saturday, December 22, 2007

Nose for the arts

It's been many years since I've enjoyed theater on Broadway. I was once actually a firemarshall for an off-broadway show, Ram in the Thicket, and lived in NYC for six weeks in my youth. But no doubt, you've read about the numerous concerts I hear in NY and around the east coast - so it is not too wild that I went and saw Cyrano de Bergerac. Call it a Christmas present to myself.
You also may remember me hearing ads about Cyrano on the radio while in awful traffic in October. So I was excited when the strike ended and Cyrano would be running again. But then I was panicked, because it became THE show to see, and very popular. I was lucky to find a ticket though, and actually plan to go again with some friends before it closes.
You see, live theater is just like live music, very special - very breathing - and something that should be savored. Cyrano is no exception, especially with this cast.
I originally was excited because Jennifer Garner was Roxanne. And getting her autograph and speaking with her briefly outside the stagedoor left me so euphoric that I ended up driving back to Harrisburg because I knew I couldn't sleep - I was very hyped and wired and happy, and drove back that night instead of staying at a friend's apartment.
Truth be told, Kevin Kline is the true star of Cyrano, not that Jennifer wasn't good, because she was stunning. The play though is after all called Kevin's character Cyrano. I should say that the whole cast is special and just right. But Kline delivers the lines with depth, humor, sadness and a plethora of emotions. And his staging is magnificent: swashbuckling, pratfalling from the moon, and heartbreaking in his death.
Garner portrays innocence, beauty, strength, and love with her smile, voice and natural abilities. Signing my playbill, I asked how she was doing. She replied, "I'm wiped! That final scene is so much!" I replied it was emotional and I cried. [uh, that is during the last scene, not while she was signing my program. ;) ] She is perhaps more beautiful in person than she is on screen if that can be believed, and her voice is such a hoot. I had been in the second row of fans, and she had been by once on our side and three of us moved up to the barrier to get autographs, as she was signing at the end (pictured on the right), she was about to go to the other side, the new folks at the barrier called out "Jen!" I said pleadingly, "One more?" She replied, "Oh, did I miss some?" She was sweet and came back over. She then went over to the other side for her fans and I went to drive back home.
At intermission, I had asked one of the ushers about autographs, and he directed me where to go, and I also asked if the cast was good about signing, and he smiled and nodded. I marvel at Jennifer who has family, just performed a 2 hour play, and then spends time talking and signing programs for fans on a cool NYC winter night - what a sweetheart.
Anyway, the production is stellar and I recommend it highly.

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