Cyrano de Bergerac

His nose knows, and so do New York’s toughest critics. Assessing Kevin Kline’s latest foray into the treacherous waters of Broadway, this time as Edmond Rostand’s proboscisly challenged, 17th-century warrior-poet Cyrano de Bergerac, The New Yorker cheered “Kevin Kline is sensational.” A “deeply satisfying pleasure” echoed Newsday, while The New York Times spoke for all: “The show goes down so easily, you’re misty-eyed before you know it.”

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The sold-out engagement, also starring Jennifer Garner and Daniel Sunjata, closed last January, but captured in HDTV by Thirteen/WNET New York’s GREAT PERFORMANCES for PBS. The results can be savored Wednesday, January 7 at 8 p.m. ET (check local listings).

“I’ve wanted to play this part ever since I saw it in high school,” Kline says. “He’s living a life as large as life gets, if not larger. I think it’s very romantic.”

David Leveaux’s stylish production, with sumptuous costumes and sets by Gregory Gale and Tom Pye respectively, remains true to Rostand’s 1897 heartbreaker of a play, bursting with swashbuckling gascons and duplicitous noblemen, fops and ruffians. Its tale of the eponymous philosopher-swordsman (Kline), who pines for his beautiful cousin Roxane (Garner), yet is too ashamed of his large nose to tell her, is an actor’s dream role. He pens poetry and love letters to her in the name of the man she loves, the tongue-tied Christian de Neuvillette (Sunjata). Many years later the truth is revealed – in a sure-fire, four-hankie finale.

The late Anthony Burgess translated and adapted the 2007 production, which was recorded on stage in performance at the Richard Rodgers Theater, January 3 and 4, 2008.

An Ellen M. Krass Production with Thirteen/WNET New York, Cyrano de Bergerac is produced by Ellen M. Krass, with Bonnie Comley, Stewart F. Lane and David Horn as executive producers. Matthew Diamond directs for television, with Gary Bradley as editor.

Oscar- and Tony Award-winner Kline (A Fish Called Wanda, The Pirates of Penzance, On the 20th Century) made his GREAT PERFORMANCES debut in another sword-wielding classical role, Hamlet (1990). He starred in and directed (with Kirk Browning) the telecast

GREAT PERFORMANCES is funded by the Irene Diamond Fund, the National Endowment for the Arts, Vivian Milstein, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, public television viewers, and PBS.

  • Mimi

    Kevin Kline…………. Oh! Kevin Kline, one of the underrated best actors; thanks thirteen for bringing us this jewel.

  • Jane

    Saw this on Broadway. Great performance!

  • Fay Lods

    I am not happy with the new format on Channel 13. There is much too much time introducing what is going to be on, and too much repetitive programing. Also, let Jim Lehrer, do what he does best, the news. Forget him telling jokes!
    Also, Channel 13 loyal viewers have been thrown into a tizzy – Charlie Rose was scheduled for 11 pm EST, and Tavis Smiley at Midnight. Now one never knows when their shows are scheduled, so one can’t plan to watch. Also, if Tavis is given more time, perhaps he wouldn’t have to speak so rapidly that he is often not understandable. Basically, he has a good show, but not enough time. Also, perhaps he should become more balanced in who he interviews, and stop talking about whitey and blacky and talk more about human beings.

    I enjoy the Jane Austin series.

  • Skyler

    I just happened to look in my TV Guide and saw Great Performances had a show on tonight. Seeing the name Cyrano I became excited since it is a favorite play of mine. I had no idea that it was the same production with Kevin Kline and Jennifer Garner that I had read about, then imagined what a wonderful production it would have been to see.

    Once again I say thank you to Public television and to those who bring Great Performances into out homes. You are my gateway to the arts which I love so well!!! Thank you very much and PLEASE do continue to bring us more productions of plays such as this one. The last I saw was The Women which was excellent but very difficult to find now.

  • KeltHighland

    It was very late when it came on and I had to get up in a few hours for work, but it was so captivating I watched the whole thing. The lovely Jennifer Garner is one of my favorites and to see her in the role of Roxanne was a treat. Kline did a wonderful job of capturing the unrequited lover.

  • sarah

    your performance moved my soul

  • Max Planck

    Hardly a “Great Performance.” Overacted, with too many anachronistic cliches. Barely watchable.

  • Elizabeth Bailey

    Even my rolling-eyed husband sat down and enjoyed this performance. Kevin Kline was fantastic. Thank you tremendously! Where would we be without PBS? (doomed)

  • dna

    At the end of the performance (which was very good) a phone number / address was given if you want to purchase a DVD. Does anyone know where to get this information?

  • Richard Saunders

    I watched Cyrano, and at the end it said, For more info go to I wanted to see a complete listing of the cast and the director. But none of these seem to be available at What gives?

  • Nick

    Bravo! Bravo! Klein was amazing. A true blessing of our time. He actually cried in the last scene. I was crying with him.

    I couldn’t tell if Garner was directed that way or just her odd acting on stage. Her Roxane was original, if anything.

    I’m watching this again on TIVO tonight.

  • Dawn Murphy

    Kevin Kline was beyond brilliant! Thank you PBS!

  • Paul

    Thank you so much PBS! This is exactly the sort of thing I wish was on more often. I turned on the TV about a quarter of the way in and watched the rest. Some parts (Roxanne!) may have not been the best I’ve ever seen, but it’s not every day you get to watch a Broadway performance on TV. So thank you, PBS, for bringing Great Performances back!

  • The Geek Within » Blog Archive » Cyrano de Bergerac

    [...] night, PBS’ Great Performances showed Kevin Kline and Jennifer Garner’s performance of Cyrano de Bergerac from the Broadway run in late 2007/early 2008. I thought Kline was magnificent as Cyrano. However, [...]

  • Jennifer Embers

    I thought it was truly a “Great Performance.”

  • Tom

    Oh Captain, My Captain…. If there ever was a Captain who could inspire his men to their best despite the odds it is Cyrano. If any one could play his character it is Kevin Kline. Thank you Great Performances and everyone who had a hand in this production.

  • Charlene

    Fantastic! I felt as if I had a sixth row center seat! Thanks for this treat!

  • Linda

    Watching Cyrano last night felt as if I was in the Richard Rodgers Theatre with everyone else. )I so miss going to the theatre!) Kevin Kline was superb and Jennifer Garner was a wonderful surprise. Now I will have to consistently check our TV schedule to see when the next “Great Performance” is!

  • Rose

    Wonderful . . . . Thanks to all.

  • Patricia Anne Buard

    Yes, overacting by everybody but Kevin Kline, expecially in the vocal department. Sounded like they were projecting for a four thousand seat theater. The pacing had no variety. I dislike the Anthony Burgess translation, but then the British don’t do Romanticism very well. Overall, disappointing.

  • dustin

    Cyrano is supposed to be overacted, it is a farce. I thought it was one of the best versions I have ever seen. by the way, anyone know where to get a pattern for Christians leather coat?

  • Ross Chamberlain

    I disagree with Max Planck, who should perhaps stick to arithmetic. It’s true, it was played somewhat too broadly for my taste, with perhaps too much emphasis on the rhyme scheme, even by Kevin Kline whose measured performance stood out. I think the camera was better to him than for much of the rest of the cast: television is not wholly kind to a performance intended for a theater audience. But the hanky still came out soaking at the end, as always. My thanks to all.

  • Michelle G.

    Thank you for airing this. This was a truly enjoyable performance of a great classic. While I was unable to watch the whole show (young children with needs), I laughed and cried through all of what I could watch. I regret that I didn’t tape it! Kevin Kline was fantastic!

  • vickie

    2nd time seeing this on PBS…LOVED IT!!!

  • Lisa Pettersson

    Stunning and moving performance! So glad I stumbled on it. MORE straight theater on PBS please!!!

  • Fred Laughter

    Thank you to PBS, the actors, and everyone who contributed to the broadcast of this engaging and memorable performance. When will we get to see this program again on PBS? Soon, I hope.

  • JSK

    I didn’t even know this was going to be on, but luckily enough, I caught it in progress and I was very pleased. I hope this makes some repeats as a “Viewer Request” favorite, because others will also surely enjoy it. Sorry you didn’t like it Max, but I think you are going to be in the majority here!

  • JSK

    I didn’t even know this was going to be on, but luckily enough, I caught it in progress and I was very pleased. I hope this makes some repeats as a “Viewer Request” favorite, because others will also surely enjoy it. Sorry you didn’t like it Max, but I think you are going to be in the minority here!

  • Grace Kirby

    Thank you for such an extraordinary experience! I stumbled upon Cyrano in the middle of the night, and was entranced by this wonderful performance and especially Kevin Kline’s protrayal. I am going to tape the show tonight and share it with my whole family.

  • Rob D’Arc

    Will this repeat and when? I only saw the end on KCTS Seattle and want to see the whole thing!

  • neglectarino

    The scenes with Jennifer Garner were practically unwatchable. She had a couple of moments where she seemed to get it right (berating Christian for repeating that he loved her, for example). Her facial expressions and body movements were bizarrely over-animated and she practically shouted all of her lines. She seemed a caricature.

    Kline played Cyrano Lite, none of the bitterness or cynicism of the character seemed deeply felt or expressed, and the performance reminded me of Steve Martin’s Roxanne, a little too much of the comic tinged with melancholy. Kline’s always a pleasure to watch, but this is one of my favorite plays and I wasn’t happy with the change in tone. He just didn’t seem dangerous, as Cyrano should.

    Still, worth watching for Kline and Chris Sarandon, among others playing minor characters.

  • James Watson

    When will Kevin Kline’s Cyrano de Bergerac air again?

  • Diana

    I saw this on Broadway the night the strike ended last November. LOVED IT!

  • Gary

    Sorry, I was too caught up in the story to whine about the channel format or overacting. We all know the story, but instead of commenting on the brilliant work of a genius, there is a fixation on the physical act of watching the play. Isn’t that part of what the play is about? Some are so shallow as to only see the surface, while others focus on what they want to be there, they see it whether it is there or not? What about how selfish Cyrano is to undermine Roxanne’s life so that she never has any more exposure to love than Cyrano does, under the pretense of allowing her to keep her memory of pure soul contained in pure body. I hope that Shakespeare’s soul realizes how far beyond the grave he can reach to touch people he never knew would exist, and I thank the actors and directors and PBS for helping to keep it alive.

  • W.Hoffmann

    Wonderfully lavish production. Throughly enjoyable. Chris Saradon and Kevin Kline are masters of their characters and reveal their skill and subtlety. Jennifer’s beauty fits well, but perhaps the Director should have worked on her vocal over projections and toned her down a bit.

  • don warner saklad

    In school I had been called “The Nose”. The words of Cyrano de Bergerac heartened me.

  • steve

    I don’t like plays, but I’ve watched this one every time it’s on. I’m actually watching it right now.

  • Michael


  • DeWayne Nix

    In the early 50’s I watched as a child the great plays of our time performed on a small Bendix black and white TV and Cyrano took me back–outstanding castand performance.

  • Lisa Tait

    Great Performance’s broadcast of Cyrano was more than worth my annual membership. I have long loved this play, and Kevin Klein is the best Cyrano yet – simply superb. He so clearly and completely understands this character he made me cry. I had to watch it more than once. And your production team did a top notch job of capturing his performance. Thank you all SO MUCH for this and all the wonderful work you do … bravo!

  • rich

    will this be on again? when??

  • susan g

    to dna (#9)

    the number I jotted down was 800-336-1917.

  • Christine

    Please, please repeat this! I was unable to watch it, and though my favorite Cyrano is none other than Gerard Depardieu, I would love to also see (and perhaps own) this version.

    Please add information on your website about previous performances (for example, The Little Prince) and when these may repeat. Thank you.

  • catherine

    very please the play again, turly it is a great performce and enjoy of it. Thank you.

  • Matthew

    Absolutely a stellar performance by Kline. A favorite story of mine – we DVR’d it and keep it on there to watch again. My 8 year old loved it also.

  • denns wong

    I wish I had seen this on PBS but I didn’t know that it was broadcast on Jan 7; please let me know when this will be repeated or come out on DVD

  • Jean W

    Mr. Kline’s performance was amazing, and the majority of the cast back him up splendidly! We could not change the channel once we started watching this program, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Thank you!

  • A Nose is a Nose is a Nose | Online Movies Cafe

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  • Amber

    Kevin Klein’s performance was breathtaking! I began to cry as started his speech for the balcony scene. The power that he put into it was amazing. The final scene took me 5 minutes after watching to stop balling. It was a truly magnificent performance and to anyone who says differently, I ask you did you understand watch they were saying or did you purely not “enjoy” the performance?

  • Martha T.

    I love this show, but I happened to miss it. I loved the scene they have here online, and just hope they broadcast the show again some time.

  • Dr. William Nottingham

    We saw this on March 22, 2009, and compliment Kevin Kline and the cast. The staging was fantastic. Jennifer Garner made Roxane particularly enjoyable. We saw Cyrano first in the movies in 1950 with José Ferrer. We have been privileged to see it more than once at the Comédie Française in Paris. Kevin Kline was better than Gérard Depardieu in the film of 1990. We noted the modernizations, but that is O.K. It took some trimming. But in the end, Cyrano says, “Ce soir quand j’entre chez Dieu,” this is changed to “my last lodging place.” Do we need this concession to sophisticated agnosticism? Also, “mon panâche” was made an attribute rather than the white plume which swept the heavenly threshold. But we cried like fools, anyway. Pat and Bill Nottingham, Highlands Ranch, Colorado.

  • Alex

    for more info on the cast and crew of CYRANO, check it out on

    Also, for purchasing info, you can get it anywhere DVD’s are sold. It is widely available.

  • Matt

    I just saw a re-broadcast today and was so pleased that I just had to say thanks out loud (or at least in writing). Thank you, thank you, thank you, PBS!!!

  • Val

    I got excited to catch this play on PBS but I found it hard, too hard to watch. Had to lower the volume and put the captions on to enjoy it. Why are the actors yelling? Someone said to catch the perfect diction but it degrades the whole play, makes it amateurish. I don’t like Jennifer Garner at all – she is not cut out for this. Roxane is firm, eloquent and smart but she if feminine and soft. Garner fails to portray this altogether. I do like Kevin Kline as Cyrano. It was the only pleasant acting to see.

  • Freelance Sam

    She is without doubt my favorite movie star right now. What a great superstar. Just fantastic!

  • Kevin


  • love#1

    Hey just get over it was the movie good ?

  • love

    YES, I cried when Christian died boo-who

  • Medono

    Just saw Cyrano de Bergerac for the first time and really enjoyed it! Kevin Kline is fantastic ! So is “Christian!” Who plays Christian?. I’ve seen him in other shows including Grey’s Anatomy, other shows?

    I would also love to see Andrew Davies’ Jane Austin series again! Will that be repeated soon?

  • Britt

    Jennifer Garner is a vision; She is very believable as a woman who is worthy of devotion and as a woman who is in love with a shadow.

    Her performance is full of reality. Opposite Kevin Kline, she shows the level of longing that he, as Cyrano, displayed. The performance was a triumph at every leve.

  • Britt

    I happened upon Cyrano and was delighted.

    The cast was strong and each believable. This was one of the greatest presentations of Cyrano de Bergerac that I’ve seen.

    The display of emotion was exaggerated, as required on the stage. However, it worked on many levels for Kevin Kline.

    In the last scene. Mr. Kline’s performance was truly remarkable. His subtle emotional expressions and showing emotion in action and interplay worked in both the closeup and in the widescreen, broad strokes required on the screen. I loved this!.

  • donald

    Looking forward to seeing it, but wish you had captured the Guthrie production with Ben Hecht. Possibly the best performance of anything ive ever seen by a male actor. Still. am looking forward the Kevin kline. .

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