The long-awaited, star-studded revival of Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey into Night opens tonight, 21 November, at the West End s Lyric Theatre. The production stars Jessica Lange, Charles Dance, Paul Rudd and Paul Nicholls.

O'Neill's 1941 Pulitzer Prize-winning drama tells the story of a family on the edge, with a druggie mother, penny-pinching father and alcoholic son. Long Day's Journey into Night is considered one of America s greatest plays and in the National Theatre s recent survey of the 100 most significant plays of the 20th century, it was voted into fifth place.

Lange is the mother, Mary Tyrone (played by Katherine Hepburn in Sidney Lumet's 1962 film version), whose addiction becomes incurable after her actor husband, James (Dance), hires a quack doctor. The couple s two sons are played by Rudd and Nicholls, with Olivia Colman also in the cast as a parlour maid.

Lange made her West End debut in 1996 as Blanche Dubois in a sell-out production of Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire. However, she is best known for her films, which include The Postman Always Rings Twice, A Thousand Acres, Rob Roy, Cape Fear, Crimes of the Heart and Sweet Dreams. The American actress won Academy awards for her performances in Blue Sky and Tootsie.

Like Lange, Briton Dance is an accomplished stage actor though best known for his films, including Hilary and Jackie, Michael Collins, China Moon, Last Action Hero, White Mischief and Plenty. He made a critically acclaimed return to the theatre last year in the Donmar Warehouse revival of CP Taylor's Nazi morality tale, Good.

American Paul Rudd s film credits include The Cider House Rules, The Object of My Affection and Clueless, while the British Paul Nicholls has appeared in The Clandestine Marriage and The Trench on film and in the BBC s EastEnders on television.

Long Day's Journey into Night is directed by British director Robin Phillips who was, for six years, the artistic director of Canada's Stratford Festival, where he last directed the O'Neill classic in 1980. The production is designed by Simon Higlett, with lighting by Paul Pyant and sound by Matt McKenzie. It is currently booking up to 3 March 2001.