Of Mice and Men (play)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Of Mice and Men (play)
Written by John Steinbeck
Date premiered November 23, 1937
Place premiered Music Box Theatre, New York City
Original language English
Genre Tragedy drama
Setting California
IBDB profile

Of Mice and Men is a play adapted from John Steinbeck's 1937 novel of the same name. The play, which predates the Tony Awards and the Drama Desk Awards, earned the 1938 New York Drama Critics' Circle Best Play. Its revivals failed to earn Tony or Drama Desk recognition.

Background[edit]

The 1937 production opened while the novel was still on best seller lists.[1] At the time, George S. Kaufman was the top director in the country.[2]

Plot[edit]

George, an affable migrant farm worker, and Lennie, a towering simple-minded pleasantly humble young man, are the subjects. They are bound by George's devotion and Lennie's "pathetic helplessness". George's guardianship keeps Lennie out of trouble, but we soon see this is a slippery slope. Lennie's displays of love result in several deaths ranging from mice and puppies to a beautiful woman. Eventually, in the face of a lynch mob, George kills Lennie to put him out of his misery.[1]

Productions[edit]

Steinbeck adapted the play from the novel.[3][1]

The play had its world premiere circa October 1937 by the San Francisco Theatre Union[4] The play premiered on Broadway at the Music Box Theatre on November 23, 1937 and closed in May 1938 after 207 performances. Directed by George S. Kaufman, the cast starred Broderick Crawford as Lennie and Wallace Ford as George. In 1939 the production was moved to Los Angeles, still with Wallace Ford in the role of George, but with Lon Chaney, Jr., taking on the role of Lennie. Chaney's performance in the role resulted in his casting in the movie.

There have been several revivals, with another Broadway revival scheduled for 2014, directed by Anna D. Shapiro with James Franco (George), Chris O'Dowd (Lennie)[5]and Leighton Meester (Curley’s Wife).[6]

Theatre Opening Date Closing Date Perfs. Details
Music Box Theatre, Broadway November 23, 1937 May 1938 207[3] Broadway debut
Brooks Atkinson Theatre, Broadway December 18, 1974 February 9, 1975 61[7] Broadway revival
Union Square Theatre, Off-Broadway October 7, 1987 December 6, 1987 67[8] Off-Broadway revival
Longacre Theatre, Broadway April 16, 2014 July 27, 2014 tba[5] Broadway revival

Historical casting[edit]

The following tables show the casts of the principal original productions:

Role Music Box
1937[3]
Brooks Atkinson
1974[7]
Union Square
1987[8]
Longacre
2014[9]
George Milton Wallace Ford Kevin Conway John Savage James Franco
Lennie Small Broderick Crawford James Earl Jones Jay Patterson Chris O'Dowd
Candy John F. Hamilton Stefan Gierasch Edward Seamon Jim Norton
Slim Will Geer David Gale Mark Metcalf Jim Parrack
Curley Sam Byrd Mark Gordon Clifford Fetters Alex Morf
Curley's wife Claire Luce Pamela Blair Jane Fleiss Leighton Meester
Crooks Leigh Whipper Joe Seneca Roger Robinson Cephas Jones
Carlson Charles Slattery Pat Corley Matthew Locricchio Joel Marsh Garland
Whit Walter Baldwin James Staley Ron Perkins James McMenamin
The Boss Thomas Findlay David Clarke Joseph Warren Jim Ortlieb

Awards[edit]

The production was chosen as Best Play in 1938 by the New York Drama Critics' Circle.[10] The 2014 production earned two Tony Award nominations at the 68th Tony Awards (O'Dowd - Leading Actor and Japhy Weideman - Lighting Design).[11]

Critical review[edit]

Brooks Atkinson of The New York Times wrote "...Steinbeck has caught on paper two odd and lovable farm vagrants whose fate is implicit in their characters."[1]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Atkinson, Brooks (1937-11-24). "John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men in a production staged by George S. Kaufman". The New York Times. p. 20.  as cited in McElrath, Joseph R. Jr, Jesse S. Crisler, Susan Shillinglaw, ed. (2009). John Steinbeck: The Contemporary Reviews. Cambridge University Press. pp. 112–3. ISBN 0521114098. Retrieved 2013-05-02. 
  2. ^ "1937–38 Theatre Season Boasts a Dozen Hits". Life. 1938-02-21. p. 90. Retrieved 2013-05-02. 
  3. ^ a b c "Of Mice and Men". IBDB.com. Retrieved 2013-05-01. 
  4. ^ Shedd, Margeret (October 1937). "Of Mice and Men". Theatre Arts 21. pp. 774–80.  as cited in McElrath, Joseph R. Jr, Jesse S. Crisler, Susan Shillinglaw, ed. (2009). John Steinbeck: The Contemporary Reviews. Cambridge University Press. p. 109. ISBN 0521114098. Retrieved 2013-05-02. 
  5. ^ a b Gans, Andrew. James Franco and Chris O'Dowd Will Make Broadway Debuts in Revival of Of Mice and Men" playbill.com, November 26, 2013
  6. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Leighton Meester Will Join James Franco and Chris O'Dowd in Broadway Revival of 'Of Mice and Men'" playbill.com, December 9, 2013
  7. ^ a b "Of Mice and Men". IBDB.com. Retrieved 2013-05-01. 
  8. ^ a b "Of Mice and Men". Lortel Archive. Retrieved 2013-05-01. 
  9. ^ "Of Mice and Men". IBDB.com. Retrieved 2013-05-01. 
  10. ^ "Past Awards". New York Drama Critics' Circle. Retrieved 2013-05-01. 
  11. ^ "http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/people/2014/06/08/2014-tony-awards-winners-list/10205531/". USA Today. 2014-06-08. Retrieved 2014-06-09. 

External links[edit]