Of Mice and Men started previews on Broadway last week, and co-star Chris O’Dowd is taking his role as Lennie in the John Steinbeck classic quite seriously.

O’Dowd was pictured strolling around the streets of New York last week, Starbucks in hand, looking unrecognizable with a scruffy beard and serious buzz cut.  He undergoes a pretty extreme transformation onstage as well, with make-up artists filling his face with cuts and bruises as the show goes on.

The preview performances have been doing well at the box office. Last week the show grossed nearly $690,000, which is 97 percent of the weekly target.  Of Mice and Men opens on April 16, eight days before the Tony Awards deadline, and should do quite well given that James Franco and Leighton Meester are also co-starring.

The Co. Roscommon-born O’Dowd told Playbill magazine on Monday that he was familiar with Steinbeck’s work. “We studied it in school, I remember,” he said.

“It was in the syllabus. I remember reading The Pearl as well. The Grapes of Wrath — I know we did that. I guess that teacher was just a Steinbeck fan.”