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Poster from the 1996 Broadway production of Hughie starring Al Pacino.


Hughie is a short two-character play by Eugene O’Neill set in the lobby of a small hotel on a West Side street in midtown New York during the summer of 1928. The play is essentially a long monologue delivered by a small time hustler named Erie Smith to the hotel’s new night clerk Charlie Hughes, lamenting how Smith’s luck has gone bad since the death of Hughie, Hughes' predecessor. O’Neill wrote Hughie in 1942, although it did not receive its world premiere until 1958, when it was staged in Swedenmarker at the Royal Dramatic Theatre with Bengt Eklund as Erie Smith. It was first staged in English at the Theater Royal in Bath, Englandmarker in 1963 with Burgess Meredith as Erie. Hughie: Robards' Monte Cristo?

The play was first presented on Broadwaymarker in 1964 starring Jason Robards as Erie and directed by José Quintero, who were famous for their depictions of O’Neill’s plays. Robards received a Tony Award nomination for his performance, and revived the production in 1975 in Berkeley, Californiamarker with Jack Dodson as Charlie Hughes. Robards and Dodson returned to it at the Hyde Park Festival Theatre in 1981 and the Trinity Repertory Theatre in Providence, Rhode Islandmarker in 1991, also televising their performances in 1984 for PBS.

Hughie has been produced on Broadwaymarker twice since the 1964 Robards/Quintero production. In 1975 it was paired in repertory with another short play, Duet, this time with Ben Gazzara as Erie (who also won a Tony Award nomination for the role), and in 1996 by the Circle in the Square Theatremarker in a production directed by and starring Al Pacino.

Hughie has been televised three times in addition to the 1984 Jason Robards/Jack Dodson version: in 1959 (for Swedishmarker television), 1960 (Norwegianmarker television), and 1983 (Frenchmarker television).

References

  1. Hughie on the Internet Movie Database
In 2008, Brian Dennehy took over the lead role to great critical acclaim at the Stratford Festival in Stratford, Ontario, Canada

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