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James Franco and Chris O'Dowd Star in OF MICE AND MEN, Opening Tonight on Broadway

James Franco and Chris O'Dowd Star in OF MICE AND MEN, Opening Tonight on Broadway

Academy Award nominee and Golden Globe winner James Franco and Chris O'Dowd make their Broadway debuts in Of Mice and Men, a new production directed by Tony Award winner Anna D. Shapiro. Of Mice and Men, one of the greatest and most enduring American classics, has not been seen on Broadway in 40 years.

Performances began March 19, 2014 and the show officially opens tonight, April 16, 2014 at the Longacre Theatre (220 West 48th Street, NYC). This is a strictly limited engagement through July 27, 2014.

David Binder is producing Of Mice and Men on Broadway with Kate Lear, Darren Bagert, Adam Zotovich, Barbara Whitman and Latitude Link. 101 Productions, Ltd are the executive producers.

James Franco (George) is an actor, director, screenwriter, producer, teacher and author. He began his career on the cult television program "Freaks and Geeks" and received a Golden Globe Award for playing the title character in the TV biographical film "James Dean." Notable film credits include playing Oz the Great and Powerful, Spring Breakers, "Harry Osborn" in the Spider-Man trilogy, Milk and 127 Hours for which he received an Academy Award, SAG and Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor.

Chris O'Dowd (Lennie) was most recently seen starring in award winning feature film The Sapphires, to be released in the US on March 22nd, and is well known for his starring role in Bridesmaids and the HBO/BBC series "Family Tree." His theatre credits include the critically acclaimed and sold out Druid production of The Playboy of the Western World directed by Garry Hynes and the Royal Court production of Under the Blue Sky.

Anna D. Shapiro (Director) returns to Broadway following her acclaimed productions of August: Osage County (Tony Award winner for Best Direction) and The Motherfucker with the Hat (Tony Award nomination for Best Direction). Her production of Bruce Norris' Domesticated is currently playing at Lincoln Center Theatre.

David Binder (Producer) produces live performance experiences: Broadway shows (Hedwig and the Angry Inch with Neil Patrick Harris, 33 Variations with Jane Fonda, A Raisin in the Sun with Sean "Puffy" Combs, Phylicia Rashad, and Audra McDonald), Off-Broadway shows (Hedwig and the Angry Inch, De la Guarda, Fuerza Bruta), festivals (the Dutch New Island Festival on Governors Island, The High Line Festival curated by David Bowie), and one night events (IBM's 100th Anniversary at Lincoln Center). His interest in producing abroad has taken him to the Sydney Opera House where he produced This is Our Youth with Michael Cera and Kieran Culkin and London where he co-produced three Donmar Warehouse-West End transfers. He is on the faculty at the Yale School of Drama and last year was a teaching fellow in American Studies at Princeton. He is a four time Tony nominee, has been honored by Performance Space 122, and is the recipient of the Robert Whitehead Award for Outstanding Achievement in Commercial Theatrical Producing. David is the original producer of Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

John Steinbeck (Playwright). Born in Salinas, California, in 1902, John Steinbeck grew up in a fertile agricultural valley about twenty-five miles from the Pacific Coast-and both valley and coast would serve as settings for some of his best fiction. In 1919 he went to Stanford University, where he intermittently enrolled in literature and writing courses until he left in 1925 without taking a degree. For a year he supported himself as a laborer and journalist in New York City, and then he returned to California to write his first novel, Cup of Gold (1929). After marriage and a move to Pacific Grove, he published two California fictions, The Pastures of Heaven (1932) and To a God Unknown (1933), and worked on short stories later collected in The Long Valley (1938). Popular success and financial security came only with Tortilla Flat (1935), stories about Monterey's paisanos. A ceaseless experimenter throughout his career, Steinbeck changed courses regularly. Three powerful novels of the late 1930s focused on the California laboring class: In Dubious Battle (1936), Of Mice and Men (1937), and the book considered by many his finest, The Grapes of Wrath (1939). Early in the 1940s, Steinbeck became a filmmaker with The Forgotten Village (1941) and a serious student of marine biology with Sea of Cortez (1941). He devoted his services to the war, writing Bombs Away (1942) and the controversial play- novelette The Moon Is Down (1942). Cannery Row (1945); The Wayward Bus (1947); The Pearl (1947); A Russian Journal (1948); another experimental drama, Burning Bright (1950); and The Log from the Sea of Cortez (1951) preceded publication of the monumental East of Eden (1952), an ambitious saga of the Salinas Valley and his own family's history. The last decades of his life were spent in New York City and Sag Harbor with his third wife, with whom he traveled widely. Later books include Sweet Thursday (1954), The Short Reign of Pippin IV: A Fabrication (1957), Once There Was a War (1958), The Winter of Our Discontent (1961), Travels with Charley in Search of America (1962), America and Americans (1966), and the posthumously published Journal of a Novel: The East of Eden Letters (1969), Viva Zapata! (1975), The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights (1976), Working Days: The Journals of The Grapes of Wrath (1989), and Steinbeck in Vietnam: Dispatches from the War (2012). He died in 1968, having won a Nobel Prize in 1962.

Adapted from his own classic novel, John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men is an essential adventure, an inspirational portrait of the American spirit and a heartbreaking testament to the bonds of friendship. Of Mice and Men tells the story of George (James Franco) and Lennie (Chris O'Dowd), an unlikely pair of friends drifting from job to job across The Farms and fields of California, holding fast to their dream of one day having an acre of land they can call their own.

Of Mice and Men is one of the most read books in schools across the country despite appearing on the American Library Association's list of Most Challenged Books of the 21st Century. Of Mice and Men began as a novella published in 1937 by Nobel Prize winning author John Steinbeck. Of Mice and Men was adapted for the screen several times and adapted as a radio play for the BBC. The first stage production was directed by George S. Kaufman in 1937 and ran for 207 performances.

David Binder is also represented on Broadway this season with Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Similar to Of Mice and Men, David's Tony nominated record-breaking production of A Raisin in the Sun with Sean Combs, Phylicia Rashad and Audra McDonald hadn't been seen on Broadway in over 40 years and brought new audiences to the theatre.

Photos by: REX USA/Ray Tang/Rex, REX USA/David Fisher/Rex

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