CHICAGO BoHo Theatre opens its 2018 season with the Chicago premiere of CYRANO, adapted by Michael Hollinger and Aaron Posner, based on the play by Edmond Rostand, and directed by BoHo Artistic Affiliate Steve O'Connell. This sharp, lean, nine-person translation of the classic French love story keeps the poetry, but ditches the pretension to create a work full of energy, passion, and theatrical artistry.
Set in 17th century France, CYRANO tells the story of a great swordsman with a beautiful soul who is handicapped by a huge nose that makes him feel incapable of being loved by the beautiful Roxane. When he learns that Roxane and a handsome young soldier named Christian are infatuated with each other, he concocts a plan to pen beautiful love letters to her on Christian's behalf, leading to a tragic love triangle.
Edmond Rostand's immortal CYRANO DE BERGERAC, penned in 1897 and based on the life of a French libertine of the same name, introduced the word "panache" into the English language. This new adaptation created by Philadelphia playwright Michael Hollinger ( GHOST-WRITER, OPUS ) and lauded director Aaron Posner ( STUPID FUCKING BIRD, THE CHOSEN, MY NAME IS ASHER LEV ) embraces the humanity and humor of the central story, staying true to Rostand's poetry but dispensing with the pretention. "My goal was to release the energies of the play and make it feel immediate and accessible to a contemporary American audience," Hollinger has said. "It was important to me that the play speak to us, here and now." Posner is well-known for bringing a fresh perspective and energy to his adaptations of classic works. His 2013 adaptation of Anton Chekhov's THE SEAGULL under the title of STUPID FUCKING BIRD has been produced by theatre companies and universities across the country. He has similarly adapted Chekhov's UNCLE VANYA and THE THREE SISTERS and William Shakespeare's THE MERCHANT OF VENICE.
BoHo Theatre Artistic Affiliate Steve O'Connell's guiding commandment for this production is found in a quote from Hollinger and Posner: "Everything that leads to passion and fullness should be your friend, and everything that leads away from it your enemy." BoHo's production of CYRANO uses stark and transparent theatricality to embrace the kind passion and spectacle that can only be found up close in an intimate theatrical setting. "Every storefront show I've seen, crammed in a small box of a place, that has moved me beyond words," O'Connell says, "has been because that company, on that evening, ran toward passion and fullness in every choice they made."
O'Connell has been a part of making theatre in Chicago for over a decade. As a writer his work has been seen at the Chicago Fringe Festival, Chicago Sketch Fest, and New York Fringe Festival. He has adapted and shaped work for Erasing The Distance, where he is a company member, and City Lit's Art of Adaptation Festival. As a musician, his original compositions have been heard on stage with Chicago Shakespeare, as well as Haven Theatre. As an actor he has performed with numerous storefront and Equity companies including The Hypocrites, Timeline, Victory Gardens, Chicago Shakespeare, The Paramount, Drury Lane, Stage Left, Lifeline, Signal Ensemble, Step Up and BoHo. His productions with BoHo include PYGMALION, AMADEUS, GHOST, and FLOYD COLLINS. He is a three time Jeff Award nominee.
Cyrano is by Edmond Rostand, translated by Michael Hollinger, adapted by Michael Hollinger and Aaron Posner and directed by Steve O'Connell. Fight choreography is by Jon Beal. The show runs March 3 to April 15, 2018 at Theater Wit, 1229 W Belmont Ave, Chicago. Previews will be March 3 to 9.
General Tickets on sale February 1 at www.BoHoTheatre.com or ( 773 ) 975-8150. Tickets are $20 for previews and $30 for regular performances
Michael B. Woods as Cyrano,
Vahishta Vafadari as Roxane,
Zach Livingston as Christian,
with Stephen Peebles, Kristin Hammagren, Matty Robinson, Christina Gorman, Henry Greenberg, and Eleanor Katz.
Produced by Meg Love
Scenic Design by Patrick Ham, Lighting Design by G. Max Maxin, Costume Design by Christina Leinicke, Sound Design by Joshua Wentz, Stage Managed by Dalton Long.
BoHo Theatre's mission is to create bold theatre that challenges convention through innovative storytelling and unites artist and audience in the examination of Truth, Beauty, Freedom and Love through the lens of human relationships. Its vision is to create a shared community of artists and patrons in which all members are moved through art to make thoughtful, well-examined, caring relationships the highest priority in their lives.
BoHo's 2018 season features CYRANO, a new translation of Edmund Rostand's play by Michael Hollinger and Aaron Posner, at Theater Wit; A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC by Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler at the Greenhouse Theatre Center; and 110 IN THE SHADE by Harvey Schmidt, Tom Jones, and N. Richard Nash at a venue to be determined.