The Oscar winner will take on the lead role in a revival of the 1941 drama staged by British director Michael Grandage (Red, Frost/Nixon). Whitaker (Southpaw, The Last King Of Scotland, Bird, etc.) will play Erie Smith, the role created by Jason Robards Jr. in its 1964 Broadway premiere, over a decade after the Nobel Prize laureate’s death.
Set during the pre-dawn hours in a grim hotel on Manhattan’s West Side, Hughie is a two-hander — essentially a monologue — about the dive’s recently deceased night clerk who’s still mourned by Erie, a drunk and hustler keen on impressing Hughie’s replacement with reminiscences of past hijinks and adventures.
The play was last presented on Broadway in 1996, in a production staged by and starring Al Pacino at Circle In The Square. A 1975 double-bill (with David Scott Milton’s Duet) starred Ben Gazzara, who won a Tony nomination for his performance as Erie. Burgess Meredith played Erie in the play’s British premiere, a year before Robards’ portrayal.
Grandage will bring the creative team from Red, including Christopher Oram (sets and costumes), Neil Austin (lights) and Adam Cork (sound), all of whom won Tony Awards for that production. Additional casting will be announced soon. 101 Productions, Ltd. serve as Executive Producers. The producers are Darren Bagert, Michael Grandage Company and the Shubert Organization. The show will play a limited engagement at a Shubert theater, with dates and house to be announced shortly.