Oscar nominee James Franco (127 Hours) and Chris O’Dowd (Bridesmaids) will make their Broadway debuts in a revival of John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men with previews beginning March 19 at the Longacre Theatre. Mice, which officially opens on April 16, will be directed by Tony winner Anna D. Shapiro (August: Osage County).
Franco and O’Dowd will play George and Lenny respectively, two drifters struggling to survive in the farmlands of 1930s California. They appear to be settled in their latest position, but when the simple-minded yet incredibly strong Lenny encounters the foreman’s flirtatious wife, the pair’s dreams of finding a place of their own are dashed.
Steinbeck adapted the script from his own short novel and it opened on Broadway in 1937. Directed by George S. Kaufman, it ran for 207 performances. It was last on Broadway in 1974 when James Earl Jones played Lenny and Kevin Conway was George. The 1939 film version starred Lon Chaney, Jr. and Burgess Meredith. A 1992 remake featured John Malkovich and Gary Sinise.
The multitalented Franco recently directed film versions of William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying and Cormac McCarthy’s Child of God, and is appearing in Palo Alto, a movie based on his book of short stories. He first came to prominence in the cult TV series Freaks and Geeks and won a Golden Globe for TNT’s TV-movie on James Dean. In addition to Bridesmaids, O’Dowd has appeared in the hit HBO series Girls and on stage in his native Ireland in Playboy of the Western World and Under the Blue Sky in London.