Backstage on Broadway: Oscar winner Forest Whitaker makes Broadway debut in ‘Hughie’

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

He tackled high school in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High", he served his country in "Good Morning, Vietnam," and he murdered thousands as a deadly dictator in "The Last King of Scotland." He even served the President of the United States in "The Butler."

"I’m unbelievably excited actually," Forest Whitaker laughed.

But, Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker still gets nervous, even a little giddy, about making his Broadway debut.

Web extra: Sights and sounds from Hughie opening night

“I didn’t know what to expect, you know I’m hopeful because I’m a little nervous," he said.

He stars in the play, Hughie, by Pultizer-Prize winner Eugene O'Neil.

“Reading this place which I had never heard of, I though had an amazing story, dealt with so many different themes in a such a compact way,” Whitaker said.

The one-act show, set in New York City, shares the story of a small-time gambler and big-time drinker in 1928, as he reminisces with the new hotel night clerk.

“We met with some guys talking to us about craps, I met with someone about horseracing, and walking through the streets and doing research to understand the period and the speak,” he explained about his preparation.

He's learning quickly that Broadway is no joke.

“Each day I’m learning a new lesson about the character and about the relationships with everybody and working with everybody, trusting that things will come is one that I’m learning as we keep going through the process.” he explained.

While it seems Whitaker can adapt to all mediums, he hopes to make his biggest impact through his foundation, Whitaker Peace and Development Initative, and as a recently appointed Advocate for the UN's 'Sustainable Development Goals' initiative, working towards one goal.

“All over the world to bring equality and equity to everyone,” he said.

Hughie is currently playing at the Booth Theatre through June 12th.