Retro RFH Hughes Family Showfolk Legacy

When it comes to show biz, sometimes in the RFH area, just sometimes, it’s a family affair. Sometimes it just is.

Sometimes people just catch the bug at an early age. Sometimes it happens in high school or even a little later. Then it spreads rampantly — through a family … sometimes.

And sometimes an entire family becomes known for its talent on stage. Sometimes even in the same venue in the same show. Sometimes the talent gets passed on from moms and dads to brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, nieces and nephews.

You get the idea. Well, that kind of thing happened with the Hughes family of Rumson. There are three Hughes brothers. And, guess what? They have all performed on the same RFH stage as their dad, Paul — aaaaand their aunt, Nan, and their uncles Mark and Patrick.

And so it goes … The Hughes brothers, Matt, Liam and Brennan, have, in fact, all been on the RFH stage. Most recently, though, it was Liam and Brennan. The two played the younger and older Tarzan in, of course, Tarzan at RFH.

Decades ago (OK, I won’t stress how many), it was the boys’ dad, Paul, who was getting set to hit the stage in Fiddler on the Roof around this time of the year (OK, it was 1978). Paul played Perchick. And, ironically, it was another Hughes, Nan, who played his love interest, Hodel. Mark Hughes was in the show as well. Yours truly was Golde, “the mama.”

Even well before that, though, Mrs. Hughes (Mimi, who was also an English teacher at RFH) was gracing the community theater stage at The Barn Theater in Rumson, around the corner from RFH. And the kiddies joined Mom in many a show there and others on their own.

Many show a poster and program in both places listed all the Hugheses in the cast — Mark, Nan, Paul, Patrick and Mimi. Many rehearsal hours were spent at the high school and down the street at The Barn. It became a bonding theater family experience that extended to this “big sis,” as I was dubbed.

The Hughes family tradition continues, though Paul told us on closing day of Tarzan that the show marked the end of an RFH era. We’ll see what happens with that. There are, in all likelihood, going to be more Hugheses in the area (or not) when the kids have their own families.

And, we should not forget that the show biz bug has bitten the children of Nan Hughes who lives now, as her character in Fiddler sang, “far from the home I love.”

So it goes. A show folk tradition — passed down from mother, to sons and daughter and, again, from father, aunt and uncles to sons.

So, the Retro Pic(s) of the Day offers a few looks back at this merry band of show folk all in a family, and, one encapsulates the annual reuniting of the Hughes family and their former “big sis” and Fiddler mama.

Here they are again. Bravo! There’s no biz like show biz … all in a family — stage and home.

— Elaine Van Develde

John Caroli
BCS Wealth Management