Originally produced on Broadway, revived to sellout houses in 1996 starring Al Pacino, HUGHIE was one of O'Neill's last works. It was originally intended as part of a series of short plays, but it became the lone survivor when O'Neill destroyed the others. It did not receive its American premiere until twenty years after its composition and ten years after the author's death. HUGHIE is set in the lobby of a seedy Times Square Hotel early one morning in the late '20s. Its characters are the hotel's gray, withdrawn night clerk, and "Erie" Smith, a penny-ante gambler who has spent most of his last fifteen years at the hotel between periods of drunkenness. His most recent bender was prompted by the death of the title character who was the night clerk's predecessor. Erie babbles through tales of his life's imaginary successes, as well as his panicky optimism towards the futile future. The night clerk can only listen to this study in fraudulent glibness which is touching, revealing, and a telling measure of what is behind this man's delusions.
"…it has a deep interest and importance for those fascinated by our foremost dramatist…" —NY Post. "Mr. O'Neill can keep us captivated with a single character and the power and persuasion of his language…" —NY Journal-American. "…uncoils with that persistent single-mindedness that was one of O'Neill's real theatrical virtues." —NY Herald-Tribune.