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Milwaukee Repertory Theater to Perform
'Cyrano' at UW-Eau Claire Nov. 4

 MAILED:  Oct. 21, 2004

EAU CLAIRE — The Milwaukee Repertory Theater will present "Cyrano," a poignant story about the nature of love, at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Thursday, Nov. 4. The Artists Series performance will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Zorn Arena.

A celebration of theatrical creativity and storytelling, "Cyrano" — presented by We Energies and directed by James Edmondson — reinvents the classic French story of Cyrano de Bergerac using only three actors and loads of imagination and panache. Cyrano de Bergerac has captivated audiences with his wit, poetry, chivalry and large nose since he first appeared on stage more than a hundred years ago. Considered the greatest work of Edmond Rostand (1868-1918), the epic tale was adapted into a sweeping 90-minute one-act play by Belgian theater artist Jo Roets.

Cyrano de Bergerac, swordsman and poet, is cursed with an enormous, blossoming beak of a nose. To compensate for his belief that no woman could ever love him because of his appearance, he has made himself renowned in Paris for his personal bravery and the charm of his verse. Cyrano's beautiful and wealthy cousin Roxane is much sought after. After a spectacular duel with a man who has been annoying Roxane, Cyrano receives an urgent message from her and is encouraged to believe Roxane may actually love him. He finds, instead, that she imagines herself to be in love with Christian, his newly enlisted brother guardsman — and she implores the heartbroken Cyrano to bring them together.

All three characters engage in a complicated triangle of feelings that seems impossible to untangle. Cyrano is forced to remain silent in his love, but finds an outlet when Christian seeks his help in writing to Roxane. Cyrano's pen helps Christian win Roxane's heart. The deception continues until Christian, realizing Cyrano's true feelings, takes matters into his own hands.

The ensemble cast includes Ted Deasy (Cyrano), Reese Madigan (Christian, Le Bret, Ragueneau, De Guiche, monk, narrator, and soldier) and Rebecca Spence (Roxane, Duenna, narrator).

"The drama mixes swashbuckling action with an incredibly bittersweet tale of gallant selflessness and romantic longing," wrote the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel following the play's Rep debut in September. "'Cyrano' is as contemporary as the original is a period piece. It's hip, funny, clever and smart, and, after about an hour, it takes hold of the audience and pulls it back into the 17th century, when the historical character on whom Rostand based his story actually lived.

"Although the acting is serious, the play's tone continues to be puckish and whimsical," the Journal Sentinel wrote. "But the focus slowly tightens, and the audience becomes aware that the little visual and aural jokes are gone. In the Rep's production, we are enthralled by the poignancy of a love so pure and a lover so thwarted by his own inaction. This is a deceptively difficult achievement, and credit must go to director James Edmondson and the cast ... The actors are remarkably facile and versatile as they move among characters, provide sound effects for one another and subtly change the show's tone."

Founded in 1954, Milwaukee Repertory Theater is a nationally recognized theater company that produces a critically acclaimed selection of compelling dramas, powerful classics, award-winning contemporary works and lively cabaret shows on three stages from September through May. Located in Milwaukee's Downtown Theater District in the Patty and Jay Baker Theater Complex, The Rep creates high-quality theater that explores and illuminates the human condition, provides an artistic home for a diverse company of theater professionals and offers a variety of educational programs for all ages. The Rep serves more than 240,000 people each season and is home to a resident acting company of 10 actors, who perform with The Rep throughout the season.

During The Rep's fall 2004 tour, the theater will visit nine communities in Wisconsin and Minnesota. The Rep has a long tradition of producing touring productions, although it has been 20 years since the last regional tour.

Admission is $15 for the public, $13 for those 62 and older and UW System or Chippewa Valley Technical College faculty and staff, and $5 for those 17 and younger and UW System or CVTC students. Reserved seats are available at the Service Center counter in the east lobby of Davies Center. The Service Center is open Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday 7:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Sunday 10:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Patrons may also charge their tickets to MasterCard or Visa when they order by phone. Call (715) 836-3727 — or, outside the immediate Eau Claire area, call toll-free (800) 949-UWEC. A $3 handling fee will be added to all telephone charge orders.

General admission tickets will be sold at the door.

The Artists Series is supported in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin. Wisconsin Public Radio and Community Television have contributed generous promotional support. Park Inn and Suites Eau Claire (715-838-9989) at 3340 Mondovi Road is the exclusive accommodations partner for the Artists Series.

Funded by the students of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, the Artists Series is administered by the Activities and Programs office.

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JS/NW

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 Judy Berthiaume, Director
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
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(715) 836-4741
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Updated: October 19, 2004