Long Day's Journey Into Night was first performed by the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm, Sweden. During O'Neill's lifetime, the Swedish people had embraced his work to a far greater extent than had any other nation, including his own. Thus, the play had its world premiere in Stockholm on February 2, 1956, in Swedish (as Lång dags färd mot natt), in a production directed by Bengt Ekerot, with the cast of Lars Hanson (James Tyrone), Inga Tidblad (Mary Tyrone), Ulf Palme (James Tyrone, Jr.), Jarl Kulle (Edmund Tyrone) and Catrin Westerlund (Cathleen, the serving-maid or "second girl" as O'Neill's script dubs her). The premiere and production were very successful, and the directing and acting critically acclaimed.
The Broadway debut of Long Day's Journey Into Night took place at the Helen Hayes Theatre on 7 November 1956, shortly after its American premiere at New Haven's Shubert Theatre. The production was directed by José Quintero, and its cast included Fredric March (James Tyrone), Florence Eldridge (Mary Tyrone), Jason Robards, Jr. (“Jamie” Tyrone), Bradford Dillman (Edmund), and Katharine Ross (Cathleen). The production won the Tony Award for Best Play and Best Actor in a Play (Fredric March), and the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best Play of the season.
The play’s first production in the United Kingdom came in 1958, opening first in Edinburgh, Scotland and then moving to the Globe Theatre in London’s West End. It was directed again by Quintero, and the cast included Anthony Quayle (James), Gwen Ffrangcon-Davies (Mary), Ian Bannen (Jamie), Alan Bates (Edmund), and Etain O'Dell (Cathleen).
Other notable productions
- 1970: Memorial Art Center (Atlanta); with Robert Foxworth (James), Gerald Richards (Jamie), Jo Van Fleet (Mary), directed by Michael Howard.
- 1971: Promenade Theatre (Broadway), New York; with Robert Ryan (James), Geraldine Fitzgerald (Mary), Stacy Keach (Jamie), James Naughton (Edmund), and Paddy Croft (Cathleen), directed by Arvin Brown.
- 1971: National Theatre, London; with Laurence Olivier (James), Constance Cummings (Mary), Denis Quilley (Jamie), Ronald Pickup (Edmund), and Jo Maxwell-Muller (Cathleen), directed by Michael Blakemore. This production would be adapted into a videotaped television version, which aired 10 March 1973; the cast was as above, excepting the substitution of Maureen Lipman (Cathleen). The TV version was directed by Michael Blakemore and Peter Wood. Laurence Olivier won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Single Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role.
- 1973: The South Australian Theatre Company's Melbourne production is considered one of the landmark productions in Australian theatre, largely due to Patricia Kennedy's Mary, which was described as "the best female performance on the Melbourne stage in 1973".
- 1976: Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn, NY; with Jason Robards, Jr. (James), Zoe Caldwell (Mary), Kevin Conway (Jamie), Michael Moriarty (Edmund), and Lindsay Crouse (Cathleen), directed by Jason Robards, Jr.
- 1982: ABC-TV; with an all African-American cast of Earle Hyman (James), Ruby Dee (Mary), Thommie Blackwell (Jamie), and Peter Francis-James (Edmund).
- 1986: Broadhurst Theatre (Broadway), New York; with Jack Lemmon (James), Bethel Leslie (Mary), Kevin Spacey (Jamie), Peter Gallagher (Edmund), and Jodie Lynne McClintock (Cathleen), directed by Jonathan Miller. A television version of this production was aired in 1987.
- 1988: Neil Simon Theatre (Broadway), New York; with Jason Robards, Jr. (James), Colleen Dewhurst (Mary), Jamey Sheridan (Jamie), Campbell Scott (Edmund), and Jane Macfie (Cathleen), directed by José Quintero. This production ran in repertory with O’Neill’s play, Ah, Wilderness!, (in which the author’s youth and family are depicted as he wished they had been), featuring the same actors. Dewhurst was also the real-life mother of Campbell Scott (by her marriage to actor George C. Scott).
- 1988: Royal Dramatic Theatre, Stockholm; with Jarl Kulle (James), Bibi Andersson (Mary), Thommy Berggren (Jamie), Peter Stormare (Edmund), and Kicki Bramberg (Cathleen), directed by Ingmar Bergman.
- 1991: National Theatre, London and Bristol Old Vic co-production; with Timothy West (James), Prunella Scales (Mary), Seán McGinley (Jamie), Stephen Dillane (Edmund), and Geraldine Fitzgerald (Cathleen), directed by Howard Davies.
- 1994: Stratford Festival of Canada, Stratford, Ontario; with William Hutt (James), Martha Henry (Mary), Peter Donaldson (Jamie), Tom McCamus (Edmund), and Martha Burns (Cathleen), directed by Diana Leblanc. This production was made into a film in 1996, directed by David Wellington.
- 2000: Lyric Theatre, London; with Jessica Lange (Mary), Charles Dance (James), Paul Rudd (Jamie), Paul Nicholls (Edmund), and Olivia Colman (Cathleen).
- 2003: Plymouth Theatre (Broadway), New York; with Brian Dennehy (James), Vanessa Redgrave (Mary), Philip Seymour Hoffman (Jamie), Robert Sean Leonard (Edmund), and Fiana Toibin (Cathleen), directed by Robert Falls.
- 2005 Centaur Theater, Montreal; with Albert Millaire (James), Rosemary Dunsmore (Mary), Alain Goulem (James Jr), Brendan Murray (Edmund), Laura Teasdale (Cathleen), directed by David Latham
- 2007: Druid Theatre, Galway; with James Cromwell (James), Marie Mullen (Mary), Aidan Kelly (Jamie), Michael Esper (Edmund), and Maude Fahy (Cathleen), directed by Garry Hynes.
- 2010: Co-production with Sydney Theatre & Artists Repertory Theatre, Sydney Theatre Company; with William Hurt (James), Luke Mullins (Edmund), Robyn Nevin (Mary), Emily Russell (Cathleen) and Todd Van Voris (Jamie), directed by Andrew Upton.
- 2010: Riksteatret (Norway); with Bjørn Sundquist (James), Liv Ullmann (Mary), Anders Baasmo Christiansen (Jamie), Pål Sverre Valheim Hagen (Edmund) and Viktoria Winge (Cathleen), directed by Stein Winge.
- 2011–2012 Apollo Theatre, London (UK); with David Suchet (James Tyrone) and Laurie Metcalf (Mary Tyrone), Trevor White (Jamie Tyrone), Kyle Soller (Edmund Tyrone) and Rosie Sansom as Cathleen, directed by Anthony Page. In Glasgow the production played at the Theatre Royal (26–31 March 2012).