Al Pacino will make his first local stage appearance at the Mark Taper Forum in Eugene O'Neill's Hughie, replacing the previously announced The Captain's Tiger by Athol Fugard in the June 27-July 25 slot.
Pacino, who will also direct Hughie, first appeared in the play in 1996 at the Long Wharf Theatre and later performed it in New York at the Circle in the Square Theatre. "We are so fortunate that he has decided to reprise his remarkable production of Hughie for the Taper," said artistic director Gordon Davidson in a statement. "It's a tour de force performance."
Hughie is a long one-act play set in a rundown Manhattan hotel. Pacino plays a Broadway gambler and scam artist just coming off a drinking binge. Paul Benedict will play the night clerk whose ear Pacino bends in a long, almost unbroken monologue. Hughie won praise from most Broadway critics.
Regarding The Captain's Tiger, Davidson said, "I originally selected it ...because it is such a beautiful memory play, a very personal story that had special significance because Athol was supposed to appear in it. But a few months ago, he expressed to me that he felt the need to take a break from acting to give himself more time for writing. And since that conversation he has publicly stated that he will not act again. He won't be able to appear in our production and I don't want to do it without him."
The Taper's next production is Paula Vogel's How I learned to Drive, playing Feb. 25-April 4. Call (213) 628-2772.