Hit Revival Long Day's Journey Into Night Recoups Investment

News   Hit Revival Long Day's Journey Into Night Recoups Investment
The road most traveled in Times Square may be the one leading to the box office of Plymouth Theatre. The celebrated revival of Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey Into Night has recouped its investment.

The exact date the production broke even could not be ascertained, but the happy day came a few weeks back and, according to a show representative, the revival has been well into profit ever since. Performances continue to Aug. 31 for the play that opened May 6 after previews from April 26. Journey won the 2003 Tony Awards for Best Revival of a Play, Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play (Vanessa Redgrave) and Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play (Brian Dennehy). Robert Sean Leonard and Philip Seymour Hoffman, and director Robert Falls, were nominated but did not win.

The rich family drama by O'Neill, inspired by events and tensions in his own family, is set in 1912, in the New England summer home of a retired penny-pinching actor who, born into poverty, gave up his artistic ideals to endlessly tour in a commercial melodrama. His poet son Edmund is tubercular and soon to be sent to a sanitorium, and his wife Mary, abandoned to years of loneliness as her husband toured, is addicted to morphine. Both ailments are due to ineffective treatments from the local quack doctor, used by the father because he's so affordable. Jamie, meanwhile, has long since been lost to a self-destructive life of bars and brothels. On a long summer day—starting at 8:30 in the morning and lasting well past midnight—the family members scratch and probe their pasts and their choices, searching each other's perceived crimes for the source of their ongoing misery and loss of faith.

O'Neill demanded the play not be performed until 25 years after his death (he died in 1953), but his widow agreed to an American premiere in 1956, directed by Jose Quintero. It won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The first New York staging starred Jason Robards Jr. as Jamie; he would later play the aged Jamie in the related O'Neill play, A Moon for the Misbegotten. The current mounting is the fourth to see Broadway. Many consider the play the finest drama ever written by an American playwright.

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