True, Steinbeck’s 1937 masterpiece has been done many times and in several variations – plays, films, television productions – but this timeless and tragic story still conveys its message with a freshness on the stage of New York’s Longacre Theatre.  I think it can be attributed to the youthfulness of its leading players, James Franco and Chris O’Dowd.  While Franco is known for his tongue-in-cheek pretentious “I’m an art guy” persona (exemplified by his character, “James Franco”, in This Is The End), his no-nonsense, world-weary portrayal of George Milton is powerful and gripping.  Chris O’Dowd, the brilliant comic star of HBO’s now-cancelled Family Tree, amongst other parts, plays Lennie Small with a charm and childlike innocence that is intense, emotional and heartbreaking.  The chemistry between the two lead actors is believable and strong which propels the story along with a greater sense of urgency.


Of equal worth and applause is Jim Norton, the Irish theatre and film actor for his portrayal of the elderly but still-hopeful-for-a-better-life Candy; Ron Cephas Jones as the cynical, yet wryly humorous, Crooks and Leighton Meester, the star of Gossip Girl, as a very sympathetic Curley’s Wife.  The stage production and set were believable and well-orchestrated – all in all, another evening of simply fine theatre.

Of Mice and Men is in a limited run on Broadway – do not miss the opportunity to see it if you can.


About the Author

Rob Ross

Rob Ross has been, for good, bad or indifferent, involved in the music industry for over 30 years - first as guitarist/singer/songwriter with The Punch Line, then as freelance journalist, producer and manager to working for independent and major record labels. He resides in Staten Island, New York with his wife and cats; he works out a lot, reads voraciously, loves Big Star and his orange Gretsch. Doesn't that make him neat?

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