'Cyrano': Classic romance for the Valentine season at MSU Riley Center

A French swordsman with a laughably long nose hardly seems the type of character to bring audiences flocking to the stage and screen. But for decades, the story of Cyrano de Bergerac has been a favorite among theatergoers.

The New York-based Aquila Theatre brings its interpretation of the late-19th century play to the MSU Riley Center in downtown Meridian on Sunday, Feb. 17, at 6 .pm.

Frenchman Edmond Rostand’s 1897 play is one of literature’s best known romances and is loosely based on an actual person. It tells of long-nosed Cyrano’s secret love for the beautiful Roxanne, which he is too ashamed to reveal because of his appearance. Instead, he pursues her vicariously by coaching Christian, a handsome friend who lacks Cyrano’s way with words.

Aquila Theatre’s rendition of his adventure carries the audience through the streets of Paris, into dramatic battlefield scenes, and finally, to a convent’s peaceful cloisters, where this amusing yet emotional tale of unrequited love comes to its heart wrenching end.

This performance is funded in part by a grant from South Arts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.

Tickets are $27 and $21 at the MSU Riley Center box office, which is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Tickets can be purchased online at www.msurileycenter.com or by calling the box office at 601-696-2200.

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