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Bright lights of Broadway beckon for O'Dowd

Chris O'Dowd has been lined up to tread the boards on Broadway.

The Irish actor, who just picked up an International Emmy gong this week, has been unveiled as a star in Of Mice And Men in New York.

It is the first Broadway production of the American literary classic in almost 40 years.

The rising Hollywood star from Boyle, Co Roscommon, has been cast in the role of simpleton Lennie Small in John Steinbeck's Depression-era saga of a pair of drifters chasing the elusive American dream.

James Franco, star of Oz The Great And Powerful" will make his stage debut as Lennie's sidekick and protector, George.

The play was adapted for the stage by the late Steinbeck himself, a Nobel Prize-winning writer and playwright.

While it is the first stage role for Franco, it will be O'Dowd's second major stage performance. He has previously starred in the Druid Theatre's production of JM Synge's classic Playboy Of The Western World.

The play opens at New York's Longacre Theatre on March 19.

The announcement comes just a day after O'Dowd won an Emmy award for his quirky comedy series Moone Boy.

The Roscommon-based show beat off competition from South Africa's Late Nite News With Loyiso, France's Workingirls and How To Enjoy The End Of The World from Brazil.

O'Dowd (34) was at the ceremony, which took place at the Hilton Hotel in New York, with his writing partner Nick Murphy. The pair seemed genuinely surprised with their win.

"We've been focused on drinking tonight," Murphy joked.

Earlier Chris revealed how 2011 was the best of times and the worst of times. He landed an incredible role in the Hollywood blockbuster comedy Bridesmaids but at the same time, he admitted he was so broke he couldn't afford to watch himself on cable TV.

Although the movie's success opened so many doors – he became particular about which roles to take next.



"At that time I had just done that job which I loved so much," he revealed. "I was being offered a lot of bad rom-coms.

"And a few things which I thought were going to happen just didn't end up happening."

"I got really picky and didn't take jobs I would normally take," he added. "And if you do that for long enough, you end up broke."