Regional Reviews: Florida - West Coast
Also see Bill's review of How I Got Over
I was surprised when I read about this offering last spring, an updating of Edmond Rostand's classic Cyrano de Bergerac because I was aware of another version, Calvin Berger, which seemed to have a little more prominence via a cast recording on Ghostlight Records. Cyrano de Burgershack uses existing pop songs and has a stronger book which sticks closer to the important pieces of Rostand, while Calvin Berger has a fine original score. Songs originally performed by the likes of Carly Rae Jepson, Bruno Mars, Garth Brooks, and others are used in this version. As this is not where my musical tastes lead me, most of them were unfamiliar to me. For me the best song was the first act closer, Pat Benetar's "Hit Me with Your Best Shot" with its clever lyrics.
This show is written to be performed by high school age casts and The Players cast were lively and talented. Most of the kids have ties to Booker High School's Visual and Performing Arts program, and the night I attended at least two teachers were there to cheer on the kids. Bronson Byerley was Cyrano, a little lacking in self confidence but so wanting the lovely Roxanne played by Paige Galdieri with a terrific belt voice for these songs. Christian was played by Storm Tracy. The friends from the drama club included Marcela Ozan as DJ, Jake Silver as Pickles, Naomi Glatzer as Wanda, Penn Petrowicz as Dani, Olivia Yagy as Chloe, Kaley Rio as Zoe, Ricky Bizzaro as Hot Todd, and Anna Fleece and Pattrick Tancey. Each had some solo opportunities and they showed themselves as talents to watch in the future.
Cyrano de Burgershack was directed by Teresa O'Connell and choreographed by Brian Finnerty. The show was sung to a pre-recorded music track which caused some difficulty with pitches at times. I can sympathize with these kidssinging karaoke is much harder than singing with live accompaniment. No one is credited with costumes, so I guess the kids brought their own wardrobes, but what was on stage looked effective and appropriate. Set design by Jeffrey Weber was a step up from the ordinariness of that for Cosi, lighting design by Nick Jones kept everything bright and sunny. I have noticed a lack of financial resources for Summer Sizzler productions, but the problem was less noticable for Cyrano de Burgershack.
It's great to see kids get a chance to shine in the spotlight, and Cyrano de Burgershack gave them lots of opportunities as well as introducing Sarasota to this new musical.
Cyrano de Burgershack ran through July 24, 2106 at The Players Theatre, 838 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL. Box Office (941) 365-2494. For more information visit www.theplayers.org.
Director: Teresa O'Connell