Leighton Meester of TV’s Gossip Girl will be making her Broadway debut along with James Franco and Chris O’Dowd in the upcoming revival of John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, beginning preview performances at the Longarce Theater on March 19 in advance of an April 16 opening. Anna D. Shapiro, who a Tony for her staging of August: Osage County, will direct. Additional casting is to be announced.
Franco and O’Dowd play George and Lenny, two drifters struggling to survive in the farmlands of Depression-era California. They appear to be settled in their latest position, but when the simple-minded, but incredibly strong Lenny encounters the foreman’s flirtatious wife (Meester), 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. The play 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.
In addition to playing Blair Waldorf on Gossip Girl from 2007 to 2012, Meester has appeared in such films as Country Strong, The Roommate, Monte Carlo, That’s My Boy and The Oranges. The 27 year old started acting and modeling at age 11, including appearances on such shows as Tarzan, Crossing Jordan, Numb3rs and 24.