The Broadway revival of John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, which marks the Main Stem debuts of co-stars James Franco and Chris O'Dowd, officially opened April 16 at the Longacre Theatre following previews that began March 19.
"I think I could identify with a lot of the characters," Franco told Playbill. "They have this way of life that they were sort of OK without any approval from any authority figures. All these characters had created their own ideal worlds in circumstances that you wouldn't think were very ideal. When I was very young, that was very appealing to me. Before I declared I wanted to be an actor, I wanted to be a marine zoologist like Doc in 'Cannery Row.' When I got a little older, I realized it's not exactly the marine zoology that I like about this character. It's the way he turned his work into art, almost, and the way he conducts himself as a person. What I realized was that I wanted to be an actor and play characters like Doc, rather than be Doc."
The American classic, which has not been seen on Broadway in 40 years, is directed by Tony winner Anna D. Shapiro. Read the Playbill.com Brief Encounter with Shapiro.
The limited engagement continues through July 27.
Adapted from his own novel, Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, according to press notes, is an "essential adventure, an inspirational portrait of the American spirit and a heartbreaking testament to the bonds of friendship. Of Mice and Men tells the story of George (James Franco) and Lennie (Chris O'Dowd), an unlikely pair of friends drifting from job to job across the farms and fields of California, holding fast to their dream of one day having an acre of land they can call their own."
The production also features scenic design by Tony Award winner Todd Rosenthal, costume design by Suttirat Larlarb, lighting design by Japhy Weideman and sound design by Rob Milburn and Michael Bodeen.
"Of Mice and Men" began as a novella published in 1937 by Nobel Prize winner Steinbeck. It was adapted for the screen several times and adapted as a radio play for the BBC. The first stage production was directed by George S. Kaufman in 1937 and ran for 207 performances.
James Franco (George) is an actor, director, screenwriter, producer, teacher and author. He began his career on the cult television program "Freaks and Geeks" and received a Golden Globe Award for playing the title character in the TV biographical film “James Dean.” Notable film credits include "Oz the Great and Powerful," "Spring Breakers," Harry Osborn in the "Spider-Man" trilogy, "Milk" and "127 Hours," for which he received Academy Award, SAG and Golden Globe nominations for Best Actor.
2014 Tony award nominee Chris O’Dowd (Lennie) was most recently seen starring in the award-winning feature film "The Sapphires", and is well known for his starring role in "Bridesmaids" and the HBO/BBC series “Family Tree.” His theatre credits include the critically acclaimed and sold-out Druid production of The Playboy of the Western World, directed by Garry Hynes, and the Royal Court production of Under the Blue Sky.
Meester plays the role of Curley’s Wife. The actress began her career performing in regional theatre before receiving critical acclaim for her portrayal of Blair Waldorf on the hit show “Gossip Girl.” She had recurring roles on a variety of long-running shows, including “24,” “Entourage” and “House.” Meester is also a singer/songwriter and starred opposite Gwyneth Paltrow and Tim McGraw in the feature film "Country Strong."
Norton plays Candy. He won a 2007 Olivier Award and a 2008 Tony Award for his performance in The Seafarer. Norton was recently seen in Conor McPherson’s The Night Alive at the Atlantic Theatre Company.
Of Mice and Men is produced by David Binder, Kate Lear, Darren Bagert, Adam Zotovich, Latitude Link/Piedmont Productions, Raise the Roof, Paula Marie Black, Marc Turtletaub, Ruth Hendel/Barbara Whitman, Marianne Mills/Jayne Baron Sherman, Martin Massman, Judy Kent/Wendy Knudsen, Kevin Niu, Michael Watt and The Shubert Organization. 101 Productions, Ltd. are the executive producers.
For tickets call (212) 239-6200 or visit Telecharge.com. A limited number of $35 student tickets (inclusive of a $2 facility fee) are available for each performance when the box office opens for that day's performance(s) with student identification. Patrons are limited to one ticket per person.
The Longacre Theatre box office is located at 220. W. 48th Street.
For more information visit ofmiceandmenonbroadway.com.