The theatrical adaptation of Of Mice and Men took to Broadway last night for the first time in 40 years. The production features James Franco as George, Chris O’Dowd as Lennie and Leighton Meester as Curly’s Wife.
The production closely follows the plot of John Steinbeck’s 1937 novella, which many people will remember from high-schoool English classes: George and the dimwitted Lennie are two migrant workers who gain employment on a ranch and dream of saving enough to purchase their own land. Curly’s wife is beautiful but discontent with her rural life. Throughout the book, all of the characters strive to achieve their goals…
The play originally debuted on Broadway in 1937, the same year John Steinbeck’s novella was published. When George and Lennie last took the stage, they were portrayed by Kevin Conway and James Earl Jones in 1974. (A few years before James Earl Jones became the voice of Darth Vader.)
Director Anna D. Shapiro thought to revive the show a few years ago, but waited until James Franco’s schedule cleared. During that time, she also got the perfect person to play Lennie: Chris O’Dowd (of Bridesmaids and Girls fame) looks absolutely perfect in the role.
Last night’s performance at the Longacre Theater was a preview. The show opens to the public on April 16 and will only run for 18 weeks.