PCS Blog

The Cast and Creative Team of “Cyrano”

Posted by Alice Hodge | 25 March 2015

By Edmond Rostand
Translated by Michael Hollinger 
Adapted by Michael Hollinger and Aaron Posner 
Directed by Jane Jones


Andrew McGinn*......................................Cyrano

Jen Taylor*................................................Roxane

Colin Byrne*..............................................Christian and others      

Brian Gunter*.............................................Le Bret

Leif Norby*.................................................De Guiche and others

Darius Pierce*.............................................Ragueneau and others

Chris Harder*..............................................De Valvert and others

Gavin Hoffman*..........................................Ligniere and others

Damon Kupper............................................Desiree and others


Creative Team

Avital Shira................................................Assistant Director and Dramaturg

William Bloodgood....................................Scenic Designer

Deborah Trout............................................Costume Designer  

Nancy Schertler..........................................Lighting Designer

Casi Pacilio.................................................Sound Designer

Brian Gunter..............................................Original Music and Musical Direction 

John Armour..............................................Fight Director

Emily N. Wells*..........................................Stage Manager

Kim Freimoeller.........................................Production Assistant

Brandon Woolley.......................................Casting


*Member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.


Cast Biographies

Colin Byrne                       
Christian and others
Previous credits include Bug, Robin Hood (Theater Schmeater), A Streetcar Named Desire (Intiman Theatre), Pride and Prejudice, Giant (Book-It Repertory Theatre), blahblahblahBang! (Washington Ensemble Theatre). Colin is an Affiliate Artist of New Century Theater Company. Colin is currently enrolled in the Washington State Law Clerk Program and will soon be fighting injustice everywhere. Thanks to Emily Goodweasel.


Brian Gunter                     
Le Bret
Brian Gunter is happy to be working with Portland Center Stage for the first time. This year marks Brian's 25th year as a proud member of Actor's Equity. Recent credits include Truth Like the Sun and I am of Ireland with Book-It Repertory Theatre in Seattle; productions of Hank Williams: Lost Highway with Cincinnati Playhouse-in-the-Park and the Lone Tree Performing Arts Center in Colorado; and the premier production of East Towards Home at Theatre for the New City in New York. Raised in Kansas, he holds a bachelor’s degree in Theatre from Wichita State University and a Masters in Theatre from Northwestern University. 


Chris Harder                     
De Valvert and others
Chris Harder is delighted to return to Portland Center Stage. Theater credits include: Othello, The Receptionist, Antigone, JAW (PCS) Intimate Apparel, Ten Chimneys, The History Boys, Chasing Empire's Soul (Artists Repertory Theatre) The Snowstorm, Fool For Love (CoHo Productions) Mother Teresa is Dead, Angels in America (Portland Playhouse) Fishing for my Father, The Centering (solo works), Shining City (Third Rail Repertory Theatre), One Day (Sojourn Theatre). Film/TV credits: Everyman's War, Extraordinary Measures, Grimm, Leverage, Music Within, Rid Of Me, Recovery, Restless. Chris is a Resident Artist at Artists Repertory Theatre. He served seven seasons as Ensemble Member with Sowelu Theatre and is a current faculty member at Portland Actors Conservatory. He teaches acting to teens and adults through PCS, Oregon Children's Theatre and private classes. www.chrisharder.com


Gavin Hoffman                
Ligniere and others
Gavin is very happy to be back at Portland Center Stage where he played Iago in Othello and Karl/Steve in Clybourne Park. PORTLAND: Dieter in The Monster-Builder, Artists Repertory Theatre; Ellard in The Foreigner, Lakewood Theatre (Drammy Award 2011, Supporting Actor); Wolf/Red in To Cape, The Tripping Point, Shaking the Tree (Drammy Award 2012, Solo Performance); Ken in Fifth of July, Profile Theatre; Frank in Body Awareness, CoHo; Hank in A Noble Failure, Third Rail. He has worked regionally and in New York City. Gavin has guest-starred in The Big Easy (USA) and Leverage (TNT), and co-starred in Grimm (NBC). He is a member of Actor’s Equity and SAG-AFTRA. Gavin is a graduate of P.C.P.A. and has a B.F.A. in acting from Ithaca College. 


Damon Kupper                
Desiree and others
Damon's previous work with Portland Center Stage includes Othello, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Pillowman. He is a proud company member of Third Rail Repertory Theatre and performed most recently in their productions of The Night Alive, Middletown and The Beauty Queen of Leenane. Locally, Damon has also acted with Corrib Theatre, Artist Repertory Theatre, Portland Playhouse, Profile Theatre, Oregon Children's Theatre and the Well Arts Institute. Over the years, Damon has also worked as an instructor for various educational theater programs both domestically and abroad, through Young Musicians and Artists, Stop-Gap Theatre, Vietnam American Theatre Exchange, and many others.


Andrew McGinn             
Andrew McGinn is delighted to be with Portland Center Stage in this production. Recent performances include the role of Dr. Watson in The Hound of the Baskervilles at Seattle Repertory Theatre and George Banks in Mary Poppins at The Village Theatre. He holds an M.F.A. in directing from University of Washington and will soon be directing All’s Well That Ends Well and Indian Ink in Seattle. A Juilliard graduate in Acting, he has over 150 New York City performance credits, including five performances with NYSF/The Public Theater, Lincoln Center’s Tony Award record-breaking Coast of Utopia, and Invention of Love on Broadway.  Andrew teaches at Cornish, Freehold Studio, Jack Straw Studios and privately. He is associate director of Freehold’s Ensemble Training Intensive for actors in Seattle. 


Leif Norby                          
De Guiche and others
Cyrano marks Leif’s sixth appearance with PCS. Previous appearances include Roderigo in Othello, Benny Southstreet in Guys and Dolls, Tateh in Ragtime, Richard Hannay in The 39 steps and ensemble in Sunset Boulevard. Other Portland credits include Verne/George in And So it Goes … and Frank Keller in Red Herring (Artists Repertory Theatre); Javert in Les Miserables, Kit in No Way to Treat a Lady and Will Rogers in Will Rogers Follies (Broadway Rose Theatre); John in Lips Together, Teeth Apart and Chris Keller in All My Sons (Profile Theatre); Beast in Beauty and the Beast (Pixie Dust); Charlie in The Scene (Portland Playhouse); Sam in Grace and Jane/Edgar in Mystery of Irma Vep  (Third Rail Repertory Theatre); Sweeney Todd in Sweeney Todd and Cervantes in Man of LaMancha (Lakewood Theatre Company). Leif sends Love to his wife Susie and thanks you, the audience, for supporting live theater.


Darius Pierce                    
Ragueneau and others
Darius’s past productions at Portland Center Stage include Beard of Avon (Drammy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor), Twelfth Night, 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, The 39 Steps, Frost/Nixon, How to Disappear Completely and Never Be Found, Misalliance, The Santaland Diaries, A Christmas Story and A Christmas Carol. Elsewhere, favorite productions include Stupid F**king Bird (Woolly Mammoth Theatre); Comedy of Errors (Folger Theatre); Lips Together, Teeth Apart (Profile Theatre); Les Misérables (Broadway Rose); Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (Portland Playhouse); The Long Christmas Ride Home (Theatre Vertigo). Darius is a co-creator of Anonymous Theatre and his on screen credits include Leverage, Portlandia, Grimm, Mock Trials and Train Master II. He is excited to be telling this story with these people and appreciates your spending some time with us!


Jen Taylor                          
Previously at Portland Center Stage: Doubt (Sister James), Twelfth Night (Viola), Pride and Prejudice (Elizabeth Bennet)and The Beard of Avon (Ensemble). In Seattle, Jen has worked at ACT Theatre, Intiman Theatre, Book-It Repertory Theatre, Seattle Shakespeare Company, The Village Theatre, The Empty Space, Seattle Children’s Theatre and New Century Theatre Company (founding member). Jen works as a voice actor in radio, television, audiobooks, and numerous video games including the Halo series as Cortana and Dr. Halsey. If you have a Windows Phone, she is the voice of your personal assistant.  


Creative Team Biographies

Edmond Rostand

Edmond Eugène Alexis Rostand (1868 – 1918) was a French poetic dramatist who attended Collège Stanislas in Paris and was elected into the French Academy. His first play, written at the age of 20, was a one-act comedy, Le Gant rouge (The Red Glove) first performed in 1888. His other works include the charming love story, Les Romanesques (The Romantics, 1894, Théâtre Français), which served as the basis for The Fantasticks, the long-running American musical by Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt that originally premiered Off-Broadway in 1960. Rostand’s La Princesse lointaine (The Princess Far-Away) opened in 1895 at the Théâtre de la Renaissance, starring Sarah Bernhardt in the role of Mélissinde. Bernhardt also originated the role of Photine in Rostand's La Samaritaine (The Woman of Samaria, 1897), and produced and starred in Rostand’s L'Aiglon (The Eaglet), a play in six acts about Napoleon's son. Rostand’s allegorical play Chantecler (the main character is a rooster)debuted in 1910 in Paris with Lucien Guitry and opened on Broadway in 1911 with Maude Adams (adaptated by Louis N. Parker). A volume of Rostand’s poems, Les Musardises, was published in 1890. Rostand is best known for his heroic comedy Cyrano de Bergerac, which had its premiere in 1897 starring Benoît-Constant Coquelin in the title role.


Michael Hollinger
Michael Hollinger is delighted to return to Portland Center Stage, where his play Opus was seen in 2001.  Other plays include Red Herring and Incorruptible (both staged at Artists Repertory Theatre), Hope and Gravity, Ghost-Writer, Tooth and Claw and An Empty Plate in the Café Du Grand Boeuf, which together have enjoyed numerous productions around the country, in New York City (Primary Stages and Ensemble Studio Theatre) and abroad (London, Paris, Tokyo, Athens, Poland and Slovenia). His new play Under the Skin premiered this winter at Philadelphia’s Arden Theatre Company, and his musical A Wonderful Noise (co-authored with Vance Lehmkuhl) premiered at Creede Repertory Theatre in 2009. Awards include a Steinberg New Play Citation from the American Theatre Critics Association, a Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award, a Mid-Atlantic Emmy, an Edgerton Foundation New American Plays Award, four Barrymore Awards (including the F. Otto Haas Award for an Emerging Theatre Artist), nominations for Lucille Lortel and John Gassner awards, and fellowships from the Independence Foundation, Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation and Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. Michael is an associate professor of theatre at Villanova University, and a proud alumnus of New Dramatists.


Aaron Posner
Aaron is proud that this is the third adaptation of his to be produced by PCS. The previous ones were Sometimes a Great Notion and The Chosen. Aaron is a freelance director and playwright, the founding artistic director of Philadelphia's Arden Theatre Company, and an associate artist at the Folger Theatre in Washington, D.C., where this new translation and adaptation of Cyrano premiered. Aaron has won numerous awards as both a director and playwright including an Outer Circle Critics Award, The John Gassner Award, the inaugural Theatre Bay Area Award for directing, three Barrymore Awards, and Helen Hayes Awards as director or playwright four of the last ten years. His published and produced plays include Stupid F**king Bird, Life Sucks (Or the Present Ridiculous), My Name is Asher Lev, Who Am I This Time? (And Other Conundrums of Love), A Murder, A Mystery & A Marriage, and several others. Aaron has directed more than 150 productions at major regional theaters across the country including Actor's Theatre of Louisville, The Alliance, American Players Theatre, The American Repertory Theatre, Arena Stage, Cal Shakes, Folger Theatre, Milwaukee Rep, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Signature Theatre, Studio Theatre, Theatre J, Woolly Mammoth and more. Aaron is originally from Eugene, is an Eisenhower Fellow, a graduate of Northwestern University, and lives outside Washington D.C. with his wife, actress Erin Weaver, and his amazing three-year-old daughter, Maisie.  



Jane Jones
Jane is the founder of Book-It and founding co-artistic director of Book-It Repertory Theatre in Seattle with Myra Platt. In her 25 years of staging literature, she has performed, adapted and directed works by such literary giants as Charles Dickens, Eudora Welty, Edith Wharton, Raymond Carver, Jim Lynch, Amy Bloom, John Irving, John Steinbeck and Jane Austen. Her directing credits include work with Seattle Repertory Theatre, Portland Center Stage (Drammy Award, Best Production and Best Director, Twelfth Night), Mark Taper Forum (Ovation Award, Best Director with Tom Hulce, The Cider House Rules), Atlantic Theatre Company, NYC (Drama Desk Nomination) and Book-It. Favorite Book-It productions include Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: Uncensored, The House of Mirth, The Awakening, Owen Meany's Christmas Pageant, Truth Like the Sun, A Tale of Two Cities, Howard's End and Pride and Prejudice. In 2008, she and Co-Artistic Director Myra Platt were honored to be named by the Seattle Times among seven Unsung Heroes and Uncommon Genius for their 20-year contribution to life in the Puget Sound region. She is a recipient of the 2009 Women's University Club Brava Award, a 2010 Women of Influence Award from Puget Sound Business Journal, and the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation's 20th Anniversary Founders Award. Jane was a finalist for Stage Directors and Choreographers’ 2012 Zelda Fichandler Award.


Avital Shira
Assistant Director and Dramaturg
Avital Shira’s recent directing credits include Echoes (Jewish Theatre Collaborative), Love's Labour's Lost (Post5 Theatre), Two Gentlemen of Verona (Disjecta), Twelfth Night (PAE) and Phantomwise (N.Y.C. Fringe). She has assisted at theaters including Lincoln Center, Denver Center, Writers Theatre and Book-It Repertory Theatre.  Avital holds a degree in Theatre Studies and English literature from Yale University, where she was awarded the Branford Arts Prize and the James S. Metcalfe Prize for Drama. She is an associate member of the SDC and a member of the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab.


William Bloodgood
Scenic Designer
William returns to Portland Center Stage for his thirteenth production, having previously designed the scenery for Misalliance (2007), The Beard of Avon and Twelfth Night (2008), Snow Falling on Cedars (2010), The Imaginary Invalid and Oklahoma! (2011), Sweeney Todd (2012) and Other Desert Cities (2015). William has designed for many regional theaters in the U.S. and abroad, including Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., Birmingham Repertory Theatre in the U.K., Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Alley Theatre in Houston, Arizona Theatre Company, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis, Denver Center Theatre Company, Hong Kong Repertory Theatre, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Intiman Theatre in Seattle, Kansas City Repertory Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, Old Globe Theatre in San Diego, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Syracuse Stage, and especially for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. In 2002 he was presented with The (Oregon) Governor’s Award for the Arts. He now teaches at the University of Texas in Austin.


Deborah Trout
Costume Designer
Deborah returns to Portland Center Stage where she previously designed The North Plan, How to Disappear Completely and Never Be FoundThe Beard of Avon, Twelfth Night, Pride and Prejudice and Much Ado About Nothing.  She resides in Seattle where she has designed shows for Seattle’s ACT Theatre, Intiman Theatre Company, Seattle Children’s Theatre, Seattle Repertory Theatre and Seattle Opera. Other collaborations include numerous shows at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, The Denver Center Theatre Company, Minneapolis Children’s Theater, Manhattan School of Music, Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Juneau’s Perseverance Theatre, Arizona Theatre Company, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, the off-off-Broadway scene and Yale Repertory Theatre, among others.  Deborah co-founded the New York-based millinery company Mackey and Trout, is a graduate of the Yale School of Drama, a member of USA 829, and on the design faculty at the University of Washington.


Nancy Schertler 
Lighting Designer 
Nancy Schertler is happy to be back at Portland Center Stage where she has designed A Christmas Story (2010 and 2011), The Beard of AvonTwelfth Night and The Importance of Being Earnest. Broadway productions include Bill Irwin’s Fool Moon and Largely New York, for which she earned a Tony nomination. Off-Broadway productions include Hilda (dir. Carey Perloff), Texts for NothingA Flea in Her EarThe Regard Evening (dir. Bill Irwin) and Falsettoland (dirJames Lapine). Regional theater credits include Scapin, Boleros for the DisenchantedAfter the WarThe GamesterLevee James, and Artistic Director Carey Perloff’s The Colossus of Rhodes (American Conservatory Theater); The Three Musketeers and The Sisters Matsumoto (Seattle Repertory Theatre); and A Christmas Carol and others (Milwaukee Repertory Theater). Nancy enjoys a decades-long association with the Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., where she has collaborated with directors Zelda Fichandler, Douglas C. Wager, Kyle Donnelly, Liviu Ciulei and Molly Smith. Opera credits include the world premieres of The Difficulty of Crossing a Field, ShadowboxerClara and Later the Same Evening, an opera inspired by paintings of Edward Hopper and a joint project commissioned by the University of Maryland and the National Gallery of Art.


Casi Pacilio
Sound Designer
Casi keeps busy with a variety of work and play in Portland and around the country. PCS credits include The People’s Republic of Portland (2013 and 2015), Other Desert Cities, Threesome, Dreamgirls, The Last Five Years, Othello, A Small Fire, Twist Your Dickens (2013 and 2014), The Mountaintop, Fiddler on the Roof, Oklahoma!, The North Plan, Shakespeare’s Amazing Cymbeline, Black Pearl Sings!, Opus, Ragtime (PAMTA Award 2010), The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps, Snow Falling on Cedars, Crazy Enough, The Little Dog Laughed, Sometimes a Great Notion, Cabaret, The Pillowman, I Am My Own Wife, West Side Story and Celebrity Row; Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Chinglish and futura with composer Jana Losey; and eight seasons of JAW. National shows: Holcombe Waller Surfacing and Wayfinders; Hand2Mouth Theatre credits: Left Hand of Darkness, My Mind is Like an Open Meadow (Drammy Award 2011), Something’s Got Ahold Of My Heart and PEP TALK. Other theatrical credits include Squonk Opera’s Bigsmorgasbord-WunderWerk (Broadway, PS122, national and international touring); I Am My Own Wife, I Think I Like Girls (La Jolla Playhouse); Playland, 10 Fingers and Lips Together, Teeth Apart (City Theatre, PA). Film credits include Creation of Destiny, Out of Our Time and A Powerful Thang. Recordings: Glitterfruit’s fruit snacks.


John Armour
Fight Director
John is an actor and fight director who has been choreographing violence for more than 25 years. He is based in Portland, Oregon, where he choreographs for many local theater companies and teaches throughout the region at colleges, high schools and middle schools. John’s work has been seen regularly on stage at the Portland Opera, Portland Center Stage, Artists Repertory Theatre, Oregon Children’s Theater, Miracle Theater and many others. John’s work has twice been recognized within the Portland theater community for best fight design.


Emily N. Wells
Stage Manager
Emily is in her fourth season at PCS and is returning from a short stint with the national tour of Jersey Boys. Proud Equity member for 18 years, spent in NYC, on tour and regionally. Highlights on Broadway include Electra, Swan Lake and Jersey Boys. Off-Broadway credits include Adrift in Macao; The Right Kind of People; Dedication, or the Stuff of Dreams (with Nathan Lane and Marian Seldes); and String of Pearls at Primary Stages. Other Off-Broadway credits are Floyd and Clea Under the Western Sky at Playwrights Horizons and Summer of the Swans and Sarah, Plain & Tall at the Lucille Lortel. She has also stage managed readings and workshops for Playwrights Horizons, NAMT and North Shore Music Theatre. She was the PSM and production supervisor for Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story. Regional theater work includes Ordway Center, Ogunquit Playhouse, La Jolla Playhouse and Theatreworks/USA, among others. In June of 2014, Emily traveled to Memphis to be the artistic director for the Orpheum Theatre’s summer training camps. She also volunteers as an advocate for patients with congenital heart disease. www.achaheart.org  


Kim Freimoeller
Production Assistant
Kim Freimoeller is extremely proud to be joining Portland Center Stage as a production assistant for Cyrano. Kim is a freelance stage manager who has been living and working in Portland for the last year. She attended Southern Oregon University where she studied stage management, directing and psychology. Her Portland area credits include Skippyjon Jones, Fancy Nancy and The Magic Tree House: A Night in New Orleans with the Oregon Children's Theatre, and The Tempest with the Portland Shakespeare Project. Outside of Portland, Kim's credits include A Streetcar Named Desire, L'elisir d'amore, No Exit, Life Could Be A Dream and The Winter Wonderettes. Kim would like to thank her husband Peter for his constant love and support; she would not be where she is today without his encouragement and patience.

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