Hughie

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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 Sweden at the Royal Dramatic Theatre with Bengt Eklund as Erie Smith. It was first staged in English at the Theater Royal in Bath, England in 1963 with Burgess Meredith as Erie.[1]

The play was first presented on Broadway in 1964 starring Jason Robards as Erie and directed by José Quintero. Robards received a Tony Award nomination for his performance, and revived the production in 1975 in Berkeley, California with Jack Dodson as Charlie Hughes. Robards and Dodson returned to perform it at the Hyde Park Festival Theatre in 1981 and the Trinity Repertory Theatre in Providence, Rhode Island in 1991,[1] also televising their performances in 1984 for PBS.

Hughie has been produced on Broadway 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 Theatre in a production directed by and starring Al Pacino. The designers for that production were David Gallo (sets), Donald Holder (lights), Candice Donnelly (costumes) and John Gromada (sound). The Goodman Theater in Chicago put on the play in January and February 2010, with Brian Dennehy in the title role.[2] The production was variously well-reviewed, with emphasis on Dennehy's strong performance.[3][4][5] The play was revived in 2013 at the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, D.C. with Richard Schiff as Erie. [6]

Hughie has been televised at least four times in addition to the 1984 Robards/Dodson version: in 1959 (for Swedish television), 1960 (Norwegian television), 1963 (Dutch television) and 1983 (French television).[7]

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