×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Busy Off Broadway

Doug Hughes, the busiest man Off Broadway, sits at the helm of four productions: John Patrick Shanley‘s “Doubt,” Stephen Belber‘s “For Reele,” Jon Robin Baitz‘s “The Paris Letter” and Bryony Lavery‘s “Last Easter,” which ended its run earlier this season at MCC.

“All of these are topical, indelible acts of imagination that make for vivid entertainment,” he says. “There used to be a routine place for this on Broadway.” That it no longer exists there, he opines, “I don’t know whether to evaluate it as recognition of the success of the institutional theater.”

Hughes took himself out of the running for George C. Wolfe‘s job at the Public Theater. “Right now my work is in the rehearsal hall,” he says. “It is comparatively novel for me to be out in the world directing plays, since most of my career was within the administration of the theater. Perhaps the stars will align and I’ll have that pleasure once again.” Among other gigs, Hughes was artistic director at the Long Wharf from 1997-2001.

In the past year, Hughes has been involved with seven productions. “Yes, it seems very busy to me. Which is the way I like it.”

Surprisingly, Hughes is not an avid play reader. He claims to read no more than 30 to pick the half-dozen or so he ends up directing in any given year.

Hughes also isn’t superstitious about viewing other directors’ interpretations: He plans to go to Culver City, Calif., to see the Michael Morris-helmed world preem of “The Paris Letter” in December.

“A director has the responsibility to see the play in performance,” he notes. With the exception of Ron Rifkin, Hughes expects to recast when he stages the Baitz play at the Roundabout next spring.

If anything links all the works Hughes chooses to direct, it is the theme of faith: “I’d better leave the realm of dog collars and genuflection sometime soon.” But not until he helms Alfred Uhry‘s new one, “Edgardo Mine,” based on the life of Pope Pius IX; it deals with “the absolute and unequivocal belief in God’s will.”

Full Circle

Except for the occasional big-ticket item like “Proof,” plays just aren’t made into movies anymore. That’s what makes the genesis of Johnny Depp starrer “Finding Neverland” so intriguing. It’s based on Allan Knee‘s seldom-staged “The Man Who Was Peter Pan,” which had its world preem in 1996 at American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Mass. The production starred Robert Stanton in the J.M. Barrie role. Knee called it a “painful experience” due to too much tinkering, in his opinion, from the director.

Two years later, his “Peter Pan” was retooled to more satisfactory results at the 42nd Street Workshop. More productions were proposed, but Knee decided to sell the option to film producers Nellie Bellflower and Tracey Becker, who in turn sold the project to Miramax.

Knee recalls that for the Workshop production he removed much of the play’s whimsy. “Which is now back in the film version,” he says. Miramax used David Magee‘s screenplay rather than the one by Knee, who is not complaining.

Miramax now is in talks with Knee about turning “Finding Neverland” into a stage musical.

This much is certain: “Little Women,” with a book by Knee, begins previews Dec. 7 at the Virginia, with opening night Jan. 23. Forever the optimist, Knee reports, “I’m guaranteed royalties for at least six weeks.”

More Voices

  • FX Confronts Streaming Thanks to Disney

    Kicking and Screaming, FX Is Forced to Confront Future in the Stream (Column)

    During his network’s presentation at the winter Television Critics Assn. press tour, FX chief John Landgraf made waves — and headlines — by mounting perhaps his most direct criticism yet of Netflix. Landgraf, whose briefings to the press tend to rely heavily on data about the volume of shows with which FX’s competitors flood the [...]

  • Longtime TV Editor Recalls Working for

    How a Bad Director Can Spoil the Show (Guest Column)

    I have been blessed with editing some of TV’s greatest shows, working with some of the industry’s greatest minds. “The Wonder Years,” “Arrested Development,” “The Office,” “Scrubs,” “Pushing Daisies” and, most recently, “A Series of Unfortunate Events.” I have earned an Emmy, ACE Eddie Awards, and many nominations. But whatever kudos I’ve received, over my [...]

  • Stock market Stock buyback

    Stock Buybacks Leave Firms Without Funds to Invest in Future (Column)

    Corporate giants on the S&P 500 have spent more than $720 billion during the past year on stock buybacks. Media and entertainment firms account for only a fraction of that spending, but even $1 million spent on share repurchases seems a foolhardy expenditure at this transformational moment for the industry. The record level of spending [...]

  • Hollywood Has Come Far With Diversity

    An Insider's Look at Hollywood's Diversity Efforts and How Far It Still Needs to Go

    I am a white man working in Hollywood. I grew up in Beverlywood, an all-white, predominantly Jewish, Los Angeles neighborhood sandwiched between 20th Century Fox Studios and MGM, where my elementary school had only one black student. I am compelled to write about diversity in Hollywood because “diversity” — in front of and behind the camera [...]

  • Venice Film Festival A Star is

    How Venice, Toronto and Telluride Festivals Stole Cannes' Luster (Column)

    In all the years I’ve been attending film festivals, I have never seen a lineup that looked as good on paper as Venice’s did this fall, boasting new films by Alfonso Cuarón (“Roma”), Damien Chazelle (“First Man”), Paul Greengrass (“22 July”), Mike Leigh (“Peterloo”) and the Coen brothers (“The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”) in competition, [...]

  • Black Women in Medicine BTS

    Hollywood Needs to Include People With Disabilities on Both Sides of the Camera (Guest Column)

    In five years, nothing has changed. Despite open calls for greater diversity and inclusion, recent research shows that there was little change in the number of characters with disabilities in popular films in 2017. A study conducted by the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative of the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism found that [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content