I forgot that I had one more Cyrano posting to go. This from the 1973 flop musical with a score by Michael J. Lewis and Anthony Burgess, who also wrote the book.
This is the final number in the show. If you don't know Cyrano de Bergerac and don't want a plot spoiler, stop here, because I'm going to give the ending away. But given that the play is 121 years old and world renown, I figure that most people have a pretty good idea.
Still, if you don't know and don't want to -- you should move on.
Okay, that's out of the way. So...
Cyrano, played here by Christopher Plummer who won the Tony Award for the show as Best Actor in a Musical, it dying. And his true love Roxana (played by Leigh Beery, who got a Featured Actress nomination) has learned that it was he who wrote all the love letters to her, not her late-husband Christian, who was killed in battle. Against every instinct, and in an act of self-sacrifice Cyrano refuses to acknowledge the truth to her, not wanting to allow her to lose the belief in her love of Christian. Yet even in his denial, the words here are deeply moving and difficult for him to totally deny, as he sings the achingly heartbreaking, "I Never Loved You."
And a couple of bonus pieces.
This first is the very end of the play, Cyrano's brief tribute to his plume high atop his hat, the symbol and heart of his credo, to live life with a sense of style and flourish.
And then I figure I should end with the beginning -- the overture.
I've read a bit on the show, and one of the better discussions of why the show failed came from the excellent musical theater historian Ken Mandelbaum, who wrote a great book on flop musicals, Not Since Carrie. He says that because Edmond Rostand's original play is so "musical" on its own through it's lush poetry of language, that no only are songs not needed, but they tended to slow down the action, breaking it for a song. That's a reasonable explanation. Though honestly, I suspect important, too, is that audiences in 1973 just didn't want to see a musical of Cyrano de Bergerac. Mandelbaum also isn't a huge fan of the score, though oddly he singles out a lot of the songs, mostly those I've posted here. And though I agree that all the songs aren't at this level, when you have that many wonderful songs, I would contend it's quite a good score. And besides, in the end, he recommends the cast album as being worthwhile.
Anyway, here's the rich and lively overture, how it all begins. If you're interested in the full show, you can get it here. Curtain down.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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