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NEW YORK — The Broadway revival of John Steinbeck‘s Of Mice and Men may have gone home empty-handed from last night’s Tony Awards, but the production headlined by James Franco and Chris O’Dowd has turned a profit, recouping its $3.8 million initial investment in just three months on the boards.
Directed by Anna D. Shapiro, the revival of Steinbeck’s 1937 tragedy about a pair of itinerant farm workers chasing an elusive American Dream in Depression-era California opened on April 17 at the Longacre Theatre after a month of previews. The limited engagement is scheduled to play its final performance on July 27.
THEATER REVIEW: ‘Of Mice and Men’
Making their Broadway debuts, Franco and O’Dowd play George and Lennie, respectively, while the ensemble cast also features Leighton Meester, Jim Norton and True Blood regular Jim Parrack. The production scored Tony nominations for lead actor O’Dowd and lighting designer Japhy Weideman but failed to win in either category.
Reviews were mostly positive for the show, which has played to near-capacity houses throughout its run, grossing close to $10 million to date. The production’s policy of making discounted $35 student tickets available at every performance means the revival has been seen by more than 100,000 people.
Lead producer on Of Mice and Men is David Binder, who scored a big night at the Tonys with his other new production this season, Hedwig and the Angry Inch. That cult musical bagged four awards, including best revival, lead actor in a musical for Neil Patrick Harris and featured actress in a musical for Lena Hall.
PHOTOS: ‘Of Mice and Men’: James Franco, Chris O’Dowd Make Their Broadway Debuts
While less than half of the productions seen on Broadway yield a profit, the 2013-14 season has been a relatively strong one for commercially produced non-musicals.
Last week, best play Tony winner All the Way announced recoupment of its $3.9 million capitalization shortly after its 100th performance. Other plays that recouped earlier in the season included The Glass Menagerie; the Shakespeare’s Globe double of Twelfth Night and Richard III; the revival of Harold Pinter‘s Betrayal, with Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz; and the return engagement of Billy Crystal‘s solo show 700 Sundays.
While no official announcement has been made, best play revival Tony winner A Raisin in the Sun, starring Denzel Washington, has been doing sellout business of $1 million-plus per week throughout its run, which means the limited engagement is sure to close in profit when it ends this Sunday.
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