The Broadway Review: Of Mice and Men

Date Seen: Saturday May 10, 2014
Seating: Row E, Orchestra
Cost of Tickets: $35 each
Ticket Source: Student Rush
Rating: Two Thumbs Up
Last Show Date: July 27, 2014

James Franco as George
Chris O'Dowd as Lenny
Leighton Meester as Curley's Wife
Of Mice and Men is set in California during the Great Depression, and follows two migrant workers George, a sharp but uneducated, short-tempered man, and Lennie, a large but simple-minded man. Together they hope to one day acquire their own piece of land. But when Lennie stirs up trouble on the job, George must choose between protecting his friend or staying the course towards his version of the American dream.
~*~Journey to the Tickets~*~

This journey was really an interesting one. Friday night into Saturday was simply one of those nights where I couldn't sleep. Everyone has them. The impending stress of finals on top of the fact that I was in the midst of my last weekend of freedom in New York City made it hard to fall asleep instead of taking advantage of what the city had to offer. I get a text from my friend Tara around 3:30am that night because she was pulling an all-nighter due to how much work she had left. 

After a long conversation I discovered that Tara had never rushed a Broadway show. She really wanted to see OF MICE AND MEN because she has an obsession with Chris O'Dowd and I wanted to see it because I adore the play. We decided on rushing it since she would be awake for it anyway, but I didn't know if it was a serious decision or not. It was a way to go out of New York City in style, you know?

I went to sleep shortly after that and woke up to a knock on my door around 6:15 am. Yeah, this thing was happening.

Tara and I sat down on plastic bags and read for four hours to guarantee that we would get orchestra seats to OF MICE AND MEN for $35 dollars. I got to observe her reading Shatter Me while I reminded her that if she doesn't like it I may have to disown her as a friend.

After a breakfast run and a Starbucks run, the box office doors opened at 10am on the dot. We got our seats, took some quick naps back at school, and showed up for the 2pm showing. It was absolutely amazing. Afterwards we waited to get pictures with the stars. Unfortunately, only James Franco came out, but I got this gem (including me being soaked from all the down-pouring) right here:

Excuse my wet hair and the fact that my eyes look like they're fully black. I'm secretly an evil being, obviously.

~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

OF MICE AND MEN was my favorite play in high school. Actually, my favorite play that I have ever read for school. It was the first play that invoked really strong emotions in me and also the first play that I was truly engrossed in. I think this also has to do with my fascination of interpretations of the "American Dream." I actually wrote an award-winning essay in high school about the comparisons of different American Dreams throughout history and lifestyles as evidenced by The Great Gatsby and Death of a Salesman. This topic is just one of those topics that I am drawn to, thus I was very worried about this play. I wanted to make sure that these big names did it justice.

And I am so happy to report that they did. I would not change a damn thing about this performance.

Chris O'Dowd was the absolute perfect Lenny. This was made very clear by the very first scene when you see this gentle giant on stage for the first time. Several audience members actually teared up around me right then and there because it was obvious this would not be an easy performance to get through emotionally thanks to Chris O'Dowd. While I feel as if the entire cast was perfect, he was on an entirely different level than any of the other actors. He deserves his Best Actor Tony nomination and as someone who has seen many of the nominees in action, I truly think he deserves to walk away with it. Who would have thought the nerd in the basement on THE IT CROWD would someday turn into this?

James Franco also captured George's attitude perfectly. He was constantly angry and screaming, but he loved that big fella more than life itself. He never wanted him hurt despite the fact that he was the source of all his troubles. Though he flubbed a line or two, I give him major credit. He had some major dialogue in there and worked with it damn well. I wouldn't really want anyone else to play George.

If you've read the play at all, you know that Curley's wife is a very important character though she isn't in many scenes. Leighton Meester played her very well and almost made me wish she was more present in the play. Annoying and naive, yet very desperate for a friend, she enacted her perfectly. On a side note, there's a pivotal moment in the play involving her character and it's pretty funny to figure out those who have not read the play because they gasp in shock when it happens since they never saw it coming. But girl needs to gain a little bit of weight, she's so busy she's turning into a toothpick.

All other side characters were cast phenomenally, but I think the only other aspect of this play worth noting without risking any spoilers is the genuineness of it all. It's very true to script, yet certain mannerisms and the way people deliver certain lines added some light humor to the play that was not present when I read the play out loud in a classroom during September of my freshman year of high school. This made George all the more frustratingly respected and Lenny even more endearing, making the ending of the play all the more powerful.

Bravo, guys. I so greatly wish this was not on a limited run because so many people deserve to see this.


Don't hesitate to check out my other Broadway Reviews here!

You can read more about OF MICE AND MEN here.

Please note: This is a new feature dependent on audience feedback about whether you want me to continue it or not. At this point, I will most likely be ending it this summer due to lack of audience enjoyment and how time consuming the posts are.

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