Based on the famous novel, Of Mice and Men is a powerful story about friendships and keeping your dreams alive. Set during the Great Depression, the story paints a picture of the American spirit and what it means to be a human being.
The play, written by John Steinbeck, follows the story of Lennie and George, two ranch workers who have a dream of owning their own ranch.
George is uneducated but an intelligent man. Lennie is a strong but mentally disabled man. Both friends have a dream of owning their own ranch someday, although Lennie is more interested in tending to the pet rabbits on the farm. He loves petting soft animals, but doesn’t know his own strength and winds up killing them.
Lennie’s display of love, which usually has a tragic end, results in numerous deaths, from puppies to mice and even a woman.
Lennie’s strength lands him in hot water after a fatal accident sends the friends fleeing. After George is faced with an impossible choice, their tale comes to a tragic end. But their friendship and dream lives on in a story that is still relevant to this day.
The stage production of the show is adapted from John Steinbeck’s novel, released in 1937. The play predated the Drama Desk Awards and Tony Awards, but earned the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Best Play in 1938.
The original play premiered in 1937 at the San Francisco Theatre Union. That same year, the play premiered on Broadway’s Music Box Theatre. The production ran for a year before closing after 207 performances.
The original play was directed by George S. Kaufman and starred Wallace Ford (George) and Broderick Crawford (Lennie). The show moved to Los Angeles in 1939, with Lon Chaney, Jr. replacing Broderick as Lennie. Chaney’s role in the stage production landed him a role in the film.
There have been several revivals of the play: Brooks Atkinson Theatre in 1974, Union Square Theatre in 1987 and Longacre Theatre in 2014. The most recent Broadway revival starred James Franco as George and Chris O’Dowd as Lennie. It has also earned two Tony Award nominations.
Of Mice and Men is touring the UK, with dates planned for Royal Theatre Glasgow, New Wimbledon Theatre, Theatre Royal Brighton and Opera House Manchester.
The show is produced by the same company that brought The Crucible, Avenue Q, Flashdance and American Idiot.