A Moon for the Misbegotten
Set in a dilapidated Connecticut house in early September 1923, the play focuses on three characters: Josie, a domineering Irish woman with a quick tongue and a ruined reputation, her conniving father, tenant farmer Phil Hogan, and James Tyrone, Jr., Hogan's landlord and drinking companion, a cynical alcoholic haunted by the death of his mother.
The play begins with Mike, the last of Hogan's three sons, leaving the farm. As a joke during one of their drunken bouts, Tyrone threatens to sell his land to his hated neighbor, T. Steadman Harder, and evict Hogan. Hogan creates a scheme in which Josie will get Tyrone drunk, seduce him, and blackmail him. Josie and Tyrone court in the moonlight.
The scheme falls through when Josie finds out that Tyrone isn't going to sell the land to Harder after all. Tyrone tells Josie the story of how, after his mother died, he traveled back East on the train, and hired a blonde prostitute for $50 a night to overcome his grief.
Tyrone leaves for New York and the theater, apparently to die soon of complications from alcoholism.
As in Journey, the Tyrone character is based on Eugene O'Neill's older brother, Jamie O'Neill.
A Moon for the Misbegotten had its world premiere at the Hartman Theatre in Columbus, Ohio in 1947.
The play has been produced five times on Broadway. The original production opened on May 2, 1957 at the now-demolished Bijou Theatre with lighting by Lee Watson, where it ran for 68 performances. The cast included Cyril Cusack, Franchot Tone, and Wendy Hiller. There was a well-reviewed Off-Broadway revival in the late 60's with Salome Jens as Josie.
After four previews, the first Broadway revival, directed by José Quintero, opened on December 29, 1973 at the Morosco Theatre, where it ran for 313 performances. The cast included Colleen Dewhurst who won a Tony Award, Jason Robards, and Ed Flanders. The cast reprised their roles in a Quintero-directed production for television, broadcast by ABC on May 27, 1975. One of their affiliates in the state of Florida pre-empted the film controversially because it contained adult language. It garnered five Emmy Award nominations, including Outstanding Special—Drama or Comedy, with Flanders winning the award for Outstanding Single Performance by a Supporting Actor in a Comedy or Drama Special.
After nineteen previews, the second revival, directed by David Leveaux, opened on May 1, 1984 at the Cort Theatre, where it ran for 40 performances. The cast included Ian Bannen, Jerome Kilty, and Kate Nelligan.
After fifteen previews, the third revival, directed by Daniel Sullivan, opened on March 19, 2000 at the Walter Kerr Theatre, where it ran for 120 performances. The cast included Gabriel Byrne, Roy Dotrice, and Cherry Jones.
A fourth revival, starring Kevin Spacey, began previews on March 29, 2007 and closed on June 10, 2007 at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre following a 112 performance run at the Old Vic Theatre in London 15 Sep 2006 - 23 Dec 2006, featuring Eve Best, Billy Carter, Colm Meaney, Eugene O'Hare, and Kevin Spacey.
Between October 13 and November 15, 2013, A Moon for the Misbegotten wil be produced for the first time in Low German under the title Lengen na Leev (Longing for Love) at the Ohnsorg Theater in Hamburg.