OFFBEAT: 'Cyrano' begins romancing audiences at Chicago Shakespeare next week

Phil Potempa's daily entertainment news column
2013-09-21T00:00:00Z OFFBEAT: 'Cyrano' begins romancing audiences at Chicago Shakespeare next weekBy Philip Potempa, (219) 852-4327

Chicago Shakespeare Theater has "Cyrano de Bergerac" in the stage spotlight this week to launch the theater's 2013-2014 Season.

CST's new production of Edmond Rostand's timeless classic, adapted and translated by Anthony Burgess, marks the return to CST of director Penny Metropulos and film and stage actor Harry Groener, the duo behind the Theater's award-winning 2011 production of "The Madness of George III."

Featuring some of the most romantic and witty verse written for the stage, "Cyrano de Bergerac" is best described as a poignant and entertaining homage to poetry, love and panache and will run in CST's Courtyard Theater Tuesday through Nov. 10.

"We have long wanted to bring this beautiful play to our audiences at Chicago Shakespeare, but we hadn't found our Cyrano or the director to realize the complexity of this character," said CST Artistic Director Barbara Gaines.

"That is, until we experienced the chemistry and the artistry of Harry Groener and Penny Metropulos. Cyrano is a role of a lifetime and a story that touches every heart. The stars have aligned to reunite this powerhouse team who, when combined with a first rate cast and the award-winning team of designers, will breathe fresh life into this masterwork."

"Cyrano de Bergerac" tells the tale of the iconic nobleman whose gift for romance is shadowed by his all-too-prominent nose. Feeling unworthy of the love of the beautiful Roxane, Cyrano uses his intellect and style wooing her for his comrade Christian to heart-wrenching effect.

Groener, who took home Chicago's Best Actor Jeff Award for his performance of King George, will tackle the title role of Cyrano, considered one of the hallmark roles for an actor. Groener's expansive stage career includes critically-acclaimed performances on Broadway in "Crazy for You," "Oklahoma!," "Sunday in the Park with George," "Imaginary Friends" and "Spamalot." He was last seen in Chicago creating the role of Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman in the 2012 world premiere of "The March" at Steppenwolf Theatre Company.  Groener is also a frequent face in film and television, most recognized as The Mayor in "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."

Metropulos returns to CST to direct the production after winning the Best Director Jeff Award for "The Madness of King George III."

Joining Groener as Cyrano's love interest Roxane is Julie Jesneck, who makes her CST debut. Jesneck has been seen on Broadway as Diedre in Trevor Nunn's production of "Rock ‘n’ Roll" and Off-Broadway in "Mary Broome and Love Goes To Press."

Tickets for Chicago Shakespeare Theater's "Cyrano de Bergerac" are $58–$78 with special discounts available for groups of 10 or more, as well as CST for $20 tickets available for patrons under 35. All patrons receive a 40 percent discount on guaranteed parking in Navy Pier garages. For more information or to purchase tickets or a season subscription, contact Chicago Shakespeare Theater's Box Office at (312) 595-5600 or visit

The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer. He can be reached at or (219) 852-4327.

Copyright 2014 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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