Forest Whitaker (Southpaw, The Last King Of Scotland, Bird, etc.) announced in August the plan to make his Broadway debut this season in a revival of Eugene O’Neill’s dark two-hander, written in 1941 but not presented until after the playwright’s death. Now he and director Michael Grandage (Red, Frost/Nixon) have found their perch and co-star.
Producers Darren Bagert and Michael Grandage Company say that Whitaker will be joined by Tony Award winner Frank Wood (Side Man, Angels In America, Clybourne Park) at the Shubert Organization’s Booth Theatre. Performances will begin February 5 and the drama will open on February 25 for a limited engagement. (The Booth booking probably takes that intimate house out of the running for Scott Rudin’s planned transfer of The Humans, unless that play holds off for the post-season, not likely.)
Set in the pre-dawn hours at a grim hotel on Manhattan’s West Side, Hughie is essentially a monologue about the dive’s recently deceased night clerk (the Hughie of the title), who’s still mourned by Erie Smith (Whitaker), a grandiose drunk keen on impressing Hughie’s replacement with reminiscences of past high jinks and adventures.
Jason Robards Jr. created the role and it was last presented on Broadway in 1996, in a production staged by and starring Al Pacino.