Broadway ‘Hughie’ Closing Early After Box Office Struggle

Hughie,” the Broadway play starring Forest Whitaker that opened last week, has posted a closing notice for the end of the month, abbreviating its run after weeks of very slow sales.

The show, which suffered from some bad buzz during previews, earned favorable reviews from many major papers, but those notices didn’t spur enough advance sales to keep the production alive. It’s been a tough season for plays on Broadway, and the “Hughie” closing underscores the fact that casting a star doesn’t guarantee a profit in a competitive season. This year a wide array of notable names are appearing on stage, with Lupita Nyong’o outing “Eclipsed” opening Sunday and Jeff Daniels and Michelle Williams opening in “Blackbird” March 10.

Directed by Michael Grandage, “Hughie” is a 55-minute one-act by Eugene O’Neill, the playwright far better known for massive stage epics like “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” and “The Iceman Cometh.” Touching on many of the same themes of those two works, “Hughie” centers on a down-on-his-luck hustler (Whitaker) delivering what is essentially a long monologue to the new night clerk (Frank Wood) at a New York hotel.

Michael Grandage, who has directed previous star-driven Broadway outings including Jude Law’s “Hamlet” and Daniel Radcliffe’s “The Cripple of Inishmaan,” staged “Hughie” with a design team that won the most consistent accolades from the critics.

Originally set to play into June, “Hughie” will now close March 27. In the three weeks since it began performances, the show has never topped weekly sales of $350,000.

Popular on Variety

More Legit

  • Broadway-Breakfast-Split

    Variety to Celebrate Second Business of Broadway Breakfast With Thomas Schumacher, Diane Paulus and Diablo Cody

    Variety has announced the lineup for its second annual Business of Broadway breakfast presented by City National Bank. Joining the breakfast on Oct. 7 is the president and producer of Disney Theatrical Productions Thomas Schumacher, who will take part in the event’s keynote conversation. In his position, Thomas oversees the company’s worldwide stage productions, which [...]

  • Sue Wagner John Johnson

    Tony-Winning Producers Sue Wagner and John Johnson Announce New Venture, Wagner Johnson Productions

    Sue Wagner and John Johnson, seven-time Tony award-winning producers, announced Wednesday that they have embarked on a new theatrical business venture, Wagner Johnson Productions. Under the name, they will produce and general manage a wide scope of theater productions. One of Wagner Johnson Productions’ current projects is a musical rendition of “Almost Famous,” which will [...]

  • Sam Rockwell and Laurence Fishburne

    Sam Rockwell, Laurence Fishburne Starring in Broadway Revival of 'American Buffalo'

    Laurence Fishburne and Sam Rockwell will star in an upcoming Broadway revival of David Mamet’s “American Buffalo.” The show marks Rockwell’s first appearance on the Great White Way since his 2014 performance in the revival of Sam Shepard’s “Fool for Love.” The five-year absence saw him pick up an Oscar for “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, [...]

  • Secret Derren Brown review

    Broadway Review: 'Derren Brown: Secret'

    Audiences love to be fooled, whether it’s with clever plotting with a twist, the arrival of an unexpected character or even a charming flimflam man with a British accent. The latter is Derren Brown, and he’s entertaining audiences for a limited run at the Cort Theatre, where he is playing head-scratching mind games and other [...]

  • Matthew Broderick, Sarah Jessica ParkerNew York

    Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker to Reunite on Broadway for 'Plaza Suite'

    Real-life couple Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker are hitting the Broadway stage again for a reboot of the late Neil Simon’s 1968 play “Plaza Suite.” The staging will mark the Broadway directorial debut of Tony award-winner John Benjamin Hickey. Set in New York City’s Plaza Hotel in Suite 719, “Plaza Suite” is comprised of [...]

  • Derren Brown

    Listen: Derren Brown Spills His Broadway 'Secret'

    Derren Brown has spent a lot of his career performing magic shows on theater stages — but he’ll be the first to tell you that magic usually doesn’t make for great theater. Listen to this week’s podcast below: “If you’re a magician of any sort, you can make stuff happen with a click of your [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content