Hughie BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Sara Krulwich
  • NY TIMES

  • DEADLINE

  • TIME OUT

  • VARIETY

  • NY DAILY NEWS

Opening Night:
February 25, 2016
Closing:
March 27, 2016

Theater: Booth Theatre / 222 West 45th Street, New York, NY, 10036

Synopsis: 

Summer, 1928. New York City. Beyond the bright lights of the Great White Way, a small-time gambler and big-time drinker returns to the faded hotel he has made his home. He encounters a new night clerk at the front desk and as the early hours of the morning give way to another dawn, he continues to chase the American Dream in order to survive. "Hughie" is a rarely seen theatrical masterpiece that beautifully investigates the themes of loneliness and redemption and offers a unique insight into the human condition.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF Hughie

    In ‘Hughie,’ With Forest Whitaker, Two Desolate Lost Souls

    Ben Brantley

    February 25, 2016: The dim and cavernous hotel lobby is, as one of its two inhabitants puts it, “about as homey as the morgue.” But for Erie Smith, the fidgety man who comes up with that desolate description, this morgue is the only place to be. Outside there’s the brusque and bustling city, New York in 1928, where unfriendly creditors wait in ambush for him; upstairs, in Room 492, there’s the silence of the bed, where unwelcome thoughts can echo until they deafen. But here, amid the shadows of a deserted antechamber, a guy like Erie can pretend — at least fleetingly — that his life counts for something. In Michael Grandage’s gentle, churning dream of a revival of Eugene O’Neill’s “Hughie,” which sighed open on Thursday night at the Booth Theater, Erie is portrayed by that excellent actor Forest Whitaker, in a transfixing yet modest Broadway debut. Mr. Whitaker provides all the anchoring physical detail that you might expect from his meticulously observed screen performances (“Bird,” “The Butler”).

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  • DEADLINE REVIEW OF Hughie

    Forest Whitaker Spins Tall Tales Of Sex And Money In Broadway’s ‘Hughie’ Revival

    Jeremy Gerard

    February 25, 2016: The very fine actor Frank Wood is already onstage when we take our seats at the Booth Theatre for Hughie, perched nearly motionless behind the front desk of a New York hotel whose glory days are beyond memory. Predawn light suffuses the spooky lobby of Christopher Oram’s ornate, monumental set with a grim pallor, even as the lurid green of a neon HOTEL sign is visible through a begrimed window. Finally Erie Smith enters, incongruously jovial, eager to make the acquaintance of Wood’s Night Clerk, Charlie Hughes, new to the premises. I’ve been on a weeklong drunk, Erie explains, following the funeral of his best friend, confidant and, not coincidentally, the previous Night Clerk, Hughie. Forest Whitaker plays Erie, whose ensuing near-monologue takes up most of Eugene O’Neill’s brief one-act drama of a man whose fragile delusions crack and turn to dust under the stolid gaze of an indifferent stranger. It’s a brave, if odd, choice for a Broadway debut, this meager work that reads better than it plays and which more appropriately belongs in a display case next to the manuscript for "The Iceman Cometh" or "A Moon For The Misbegotten," the way artists’ sketches can shed light on their greater works.

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  • TIME OUT NEW YORK REVIEW OF Hughie

    Hughie Theater review

    David Cote

    February 25, 2016: Contrary to what you might assume, Forest Whitaker doesn’t play the title role in "Hughie," Eugene O’Neill’s 1942 portrait of a small-time crapshooter in a hotel lobby one desolate early morning. The name refers to a night clerk who recently died, leaving longtime boarder Erie Smith melancholy and haunted. Problem is, Whitaker doesn’t really play Erie, either. Yes, the accomplished film star is listed in the program and speaks Erie’s lines, but he misses the spirit of the character, leaving an unmistakable void not to be confused with the playwright’s poetic nihilism. To use gambling lingo, the revival is a king short of a royal flush. A lot goes well: Frank Wood provides able support as a new night clerk, also surnamed Hughes, who blankly listens to Erie’s elliptical, jazzy blather about his success with “dolls” and how much dough he spent on roses for Hughie’s funeral. Wood’s role is tricky, requiring long stretches of deadpan stillness and barely active listening, but he fills it well.

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  • VARIETY REVIEW OF Hughie

    ‘Hughie’ Starring Forest Whitaker

    Marilyn Stasio

    February 25, 2016: Forest Whitaker is blessed with an air of warmth and decency that shines through in film roles like the one he played in “The Butler.” Michael Grandage, for lauded his stagings of “Red” and “The Cripple of Inishmaan,” has directed him with considerable sensitivity as Erie, the forlorn gambler in Eugene O’Neill’s “Hughie.” Erie feels abandoned after the death of the hotel clerk who was his only friend and lucky mascot. But Whitaker’s warmth can also be a hindrance, as it is when the star, making his Broadway debut here, must also convince us that in better days he was a confident and happy-go-lucky sporting man. Erie Smith (Whitaker) is cut from the same cloth as Hickey Hickman, the brassy salesman who preaches salvation to the stewbums at Harry Hope’s Saloon in “The Iceman Cometh.” But the only audience for Erie’s self-deluding pipedream about his comeback as a Broadway tinhorn is Charlie Hughes (Frank Wood), the dour night clerk at a fleabag hotel in Times Square.

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  • NY DAILY NEWS REVIEW OF Hughie

    Forest Whitaker makes Broadway debut in Eugene O'Neill's 'Hughie'

    Joe Dziemianowicz

    February 25, 2016: This “Hughie” is hooey. It’s not that Forest Whitaker’s acting is bad in this high-profile revival. It’s that this likeable Oscar winner is not doing any discernible acting to speak of. The production marks Whitaker’s debut on Broadway and the fourth trip to the Great White Way for Eugene O’Neill’s one-act, set in 1920s New York. Whitaker, known for emotionally vibrant performances in “The Crying Game” and “The Last King of Scotland,” is simply reciting his lines rather than embodying Erie Smith, the small-time gambler trying to get back on a winning streak. Whitaker offers was no connection or depth. That’s a shame, since there’s plenty to play as Erie, who’s down on his luck and living on illusions. During a mostly one-side conversation with an overnight hotel clerk (Frank Wood), Erie talks of things revealing his insecurity, anger, boastfulness and more.

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