Citing a New Haven tryout and "lengthy" preview period (since July 25), Daily Variety jumped the critics' embargo on Al Pacino's revival of Eugene O'Neill's Hughie, and reviewed the Broadway revival Aug. 15, one week before the intended opening night of Aug. 22.
The Circle in the Square (Uptown) production, which played three weeks at Long Wharf Theatre in early July, not only stars Pacino, an Oscar-winner for The Scent of a Woman, but also marks Pacino's debut as a Broadway director.
Greg Evans' review of the 55-minute drama said, "With its hard-boiled and streetwise milieu, Hughie is no more or less than a showcase for an actor unmatched in conveying exactly what the play's main character is about: gritty, desperate intensity layered over hard-learned resignation and loss"
Evans wrote, "With his hangdog face looking as worn and rumpled as the cheap suit he wears, Pacino inhabits O'Neill's gambler as completely and (seemingly) effortlessly as he does the Circle's troublesome performance space. If his debut as a stage director is somewhat less impressive than his performance, it's more the fault of the talky, motionless text."
Evans also noted that the $55 ticket for the one-act drama worked out to a dollar a minute. In explaining his reasons for reviewing the show while still technically in previews, Evans noted that the show had been in previews since July 25, and had originally been schedule to run only a week beyond its Aug. 22 opening night.
Evans wrote that even with a recently-announced extension to Sept. 14, Hughie "will rack up more previews than regular performances," and explained, "Because of the tryout and lengthy previews, Daily Variety opted to see and review the show prior to official opening date, Aug. 22."
A spokesman for the producer said he had not seen the Variety review and could not comment.