Cyrano Through the Ages


This blog post is part of a series presented in partnership with the Guthrie Theater, connecting the latest stage productions with the library's collections.

Edmond Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac made its stage debut in 1897 and has since made appearances on film, television, and stages across the world. On stage now at the Guthrie is an adaptation written and helmed by Artistic Director Joseph Haj, filled with wit, wordplay, and epic battle scenes. Read on to learn more about how this story has touched culture over the last century and why Cyrano remains a heroic tale for the ages.

Following the timeline, check out our staff-recommended reading list inspired by Cyrano de Bergerac.

By Guest Blogger Kaitlin Schlick, Guthrie Theater

1897: Edmond Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac debuts in Paris to immediate acclaim. Within a year, a production is staged on Broadway in English. 

1950: United Artists releases a film version starring José Ferrer, who also played the title role onstage. He wins a Tony and an Oscar for playing the swashbuckling Cyrano.

1964: The cartoon character Mr. Magoo stars as Cyrano in his own version of the tale, which is released as part of “The Famous Adventures of Mr. Magoo” television series.

1973: The stage musical Cyrano, written by Anthony Burgess and Michael J. Lewis and starring Christopher Plummer, plays at the Guthrie before a short Broadway run for which Plummer wins a Tony.

1987: Steve Martin adapts and stars in the film Roxanne, an updated retelling of the story with Martin as C.D. Bales and Daryl Hannah as the leading lady.

1990: A faithful film adaptation in French stars Gérard Depardieu as Cyrano.

1996: The Truth About Cats & Dogs, starring Uma Thurman and Janeane Garofalo, takes inspiration from Cyrano but switches the genders of the principals.

2006: Inspired by Cyrano, Michael Golamco’s play Cowboy Versus Samurai is set in Wyoming where the only two Asian-American men in town vie for the affection of new arrival Veronica Lee. 

2018: Netflix releases the film Sierra Burgess is a Loser— a riff on Cyrano that takes place in a high school and swaps letters for text messages. 


List created by SPPL_Recommends

Romance, comedy, swashbuckling adventure, and crippling self-loathing: Cyrano de Bergerac has it all. Cyrano is on stage at the Guthrie Theater March 16 - May 5, 2019. Adapted and directed by JOSEPH HAJ

Jay O. Sanders, who plays Cyrano, lends his profile to create the iconic nose. Performances begin March 16 ➙

A modernization of Cyrano starring Daryl Hannah, Steve Martin, and Rick Rossovich as a graduate student in astronomy and the two firefighters who love her. Less fencing, more tennis rackets.

Want to hear Cyrano in French? Gerard Depardieu and Anna Brochet bring Anthony Burgess' translation to vivid life.

The 2007 Broadway revival of Cyrano, filmed and distributed by PBS, using the Burgess translation.

For those inspired by Ragueneau, learn the techniques and history of crafting French Pastry.

Why, magnificent, my nose!

The translation by Brian Hooker, written in blank verse and used to wide acclaim in both stage and film.

Billed as "updated and gender-reversed variation on Cyrano de Bergerac," a radio show host who's insecure about her appearance enlists her attractive neighbor to help her date the man who fell in love with her voice.

Like Cyrano, but instead of two men coming together to woo a woman, it's two men coming together to bring down the KKK.

Written before Rostand's play, this novel gave Cyrano a model to draw from, mock, and, eventually, collaborate with...

D'artagnan and Cyrano unite! The first in a series of novels bringing together the two swashbuckling heroes, written by Paul Feval, fils.

Written after Cyrano, and taking place during the French Revolution, this novel still plays with themes of identity and romance, as well as tapping into a hearty amount of adventure.

"An elegant weapon, for a more civilized age." Tap into the same nostalgia that inspired Rostand, and join in a renowned sport. Part of the Cyrano Starter Kit.

It is Cyrano's poetry that speaks to Roxane's heart and impresses Christian. Start learning to write your own with this book. Part of the Cyrano starter kit.

Need to queue up some quips in the middle of a duel? Learn to think on your toes? Try what's been called the bible of Improvisation! Part of the Cyrano starter kit.

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