The Hairy Ape

Production history

The Hairy Ape was first produced by the Provincetown Players in 1922. The production, directed and designed by Robert Edmond Jones, was praised for its use of expressionistic set design and staging techniques, and was transferred to a theatre on Broadway. Actor Louis Wolheim became famous for his interpretation of Yank.

A 1930s London production featuring African American actor Paul Robeson playing the lead white role, was a critical success, despite having only five performances.[1]

A low-budget 1944 film version produced by Jules Levey, released by United Artists, starred William Bendix, Susan Hayward, Dorothy Comingore, and John Loder. According to a review in the New York Sun it had a "happy ending" and generally "made the story lighter and less loaded with social significance".[2]

Later notable productions include Peter Stein's 1987 revival, and a postmodern multimedia interpretation by the Wooster Group in 1996, with Willem Dafoe playing the protagonist.

In February 2004, The Hairy Ape received positive reviews at the San Pedro Playhouse, Cellar Theatre in San Antonio, Texas. Deborah Martin of the San Antonio Express News said of Brad Milne "His Yank is raw and hard to forget."

In fall 2006, The Hairy Ape was staged to positive reviews by the Irish Repertory Theatre in New York City. The Irish Voice declared, "O'Neill's spirit still resonates. [This] new production of The Hairy Ape reminds us why O'Neill is considered the first Irish-American playwright."

In February 2009, director Sean Graney of the Hypocrites Theatre Company staged a production of The Hairy Ape at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago.

On 6 December 2009 BBC Radio 3 broadcast a radio adaptation of The Hairy Ape directed by Toby Swift.[3]

The first major London revival for 25 years played from 16 May to 9 June 2012 at the Southwark Playhouse in London Bridge.[4]

In October 2012, Director Philip Boehm of Upstream Theater staged an acclaimed production of The Hairy Ape in St. Louis, Missouri.


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