Of Mice and Men, Starring James Franco and Chris O'Dowd, Ends Broadway Run; Revival to Be Filmed

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27 Jul 2014

James Franco
James Franco
Photo by Richard Phibbs

The Broadway revival of John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, which marked the Main Stem debuts of co-stars James Franco and Chris O'Dowd, plays its final performance July 27 at 3 PM at The Longacre Theatre.

The production, which officially opened April 16 following previews that began March 19, was recently selected as the first Broadway show to be filmed by National Theatre Live. Filming is scheduled for July 29 in front of an invited audience.

Of Mice and Men was the first production of the spring to recoup its full capitalization, doing so in 12 weeks. Upon closing, the revival played a total of 118 performances.

In addition to Academy Award nominee and Golden Globe winner Franco and 2014 Tony nominee O'Dowd, the cast also features Tony winner Jim Norton, Leighton Meester, Ron Cephas Jones, Alex Morf, Joel Marsh Garland, James McMenamin, Jim Ortlieb and Jim Parrack.

The production received Tony nominations for co-star O'Dowd and for Best Lighting Design of a Play (Japhy Weideman).



"I think I could identify with a lot of the characters," Franco previously 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."

Read the full interview with Franco and O'Dowd.

The American classic, which has not been seen on Broadway in 40 years, is directed by Tony winner Anna D. ShapiroRead the Playbill.com Brief Encounter with Shapiro.

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.

Read about the history of Steinbeck's drama here.

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.

Chris O’Dowd (Lennie) was most recently seen starring in the award-winning feature film "The Sapphires," to be released in the U.S. March 22, 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 was 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. The Longacre Theatre box office is located at 220. W. 48th Street.

For more information visit ofmiceandmenonbroadway.com.

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James Franco and Chris O'Dowd
Photo by Richard Phibbs