By OnMilwaukee Staff Writers   Published Sep 03, 2007 at 5:25 AM

When we mention "famous noses," what names leap to mind?

Jimmy Durante? W.C. Fields? Pinocchio? Jamie Farr?

What about Cyrano?

Mr. De Bergerac -- the swordsman/poet/romantic immortalized in the eponymous play by Edmond Rostand -- will take center stage as the Milwaukee Rep kicks off its 2007-'08 season by staging "Cyrano De Bergerac" at the Quadracci Powerhouse Theater.

The play, which runs Sept. 5 to Oct. 7, is set in 1640 Paris. The story follows Cyrano's secret love for the beautiful Roxane. Roxane, in turn, is smitten with Christian, a handsome but dim-witted nobleman who joins Cyrano's company of guards, the Cadets of Gascoyne.

Cyrano helps Christian woo Roxane by forging love letters and disguising his voice to deliver poetry from beneath her window. Roxane and Christian are married, but the ruse eventually unravels in bittersweet fashion over 15 years. (There is no Hollywood ending attached to Steve Martin's 1987 movie adaptation "Roxanne," starring Daryl Hannah).

Sanford Robbins, founder of the Professional Theatre Training Program, directs the play, which features Lee E. Ernst as Cyrano, Erin Partin as Roxane and Andre Martin as Christian. Robbins recently wrote:

"Cyrano's continuing popularity is due in large part to its supreme theatricality - a quality I cherish (can you imagine a doctor being criticized for being too medical or a musician for being too musical?).

"The theater itself is central to "Cyrano De Bergerac" -- it is very much a play about performing, and about great virtuosity of gesture and language. "Cyrano De Bergerac" begins in a theater, with a theatrical performance at the Hotel de Bourgogne, where the first act is set; an act that includes Cyrano outperforming the actor Montfleury. Throughout the play Cyrano proves himself a far greater actor than any in that first act's play-within-the-play and his final exit is, like his entrance, filled with style, wit and . . . panache."

Tickets to "Cyrano De Bergerac" range in price from $9 to $56 and can be purchased at The Rep ticket office, by calling (414) 224-9490 or online at