The most intriguing element in the new production of O’Neill’s Hughie, which marks Forest Whitaker’s Broadway debut, is Christopher Oram’s set. This is not just because the hotel lobby is meticulously detailed; it also serves as an apt metaphor for the play – a dusty relic now, but never truly grand even at its peak….
Whitaker’s character’s self-delusion seems obvious, the stories he tells not especially vivid, the relative slightness of O’Neill’s effort tilting it towards a theatrical exercise (even while the $149 for an orchestra seat comes out to almost $2.50 a minute.) The audience is in danger of identifying too closely with the night clerk, who stops listening, his mind drifting, while Erie prattles on.
Update: Hughie will close on March 27 (instead of June 12) after 55 performances