Broadway Winter 2013/Spring 2014 Guide
by Whitney Spaner, 12/09/2013
Photo: Richard Phibbs
Of Mice and Men
For James Franco, Broadway is the final frontier. He has starred in almost everything there is to star in, from big-budget Hollywood movies to indie films to soap operas and art-house gay erotica. Now there is just one genre left for him to conquer: the New York stage, which he plans to do this spring when he stars in a Broadway revival of John Steinbeck's 1937 novella and play Of Mice and Men. Joining Franco on his journey will be Bridesmaids' Chris O'Dowd, who is also making his Broadway debut. The dynamic duo will play George (Franco) and Lennie (O'Dowd), the inseparable nomadic farmhands who dream of having their own land. (The play also features Gossip Gir's Leighton Meester.) They work as a team: George is the brains and Lennie is the brawn, but Lennie is mentally disabled and doesn't realize his own strength, which eventually gets them into trouble. Regulars on Funnyordie.com and in Judd Apatow movies, Franco and O'Dowd are fairly nontraditional choices to star in the classic play that has attracted "craft"-y actors like James Earl Jones and John Malkovich. But with Franco's passion for literature (he is completing his PhD in English from Yale during his spare time) and O'Dowd's puppy-dog pathos, this production should make both the Steinbeck stalwarts and the celebrity-stalking younger crowds happy.
Longacre Theatre, 220 W. 48th St. Previews start March 19; opens April 16.