Theater: 5 shows to catch before they close

Summer is hitting its stride, and we’re looking at a whole slew of exciting new shows opening this fall. In between now and then, you have a short window to catch a few of these plays, which are ending their runs soon:

1. “Of Mice and Men”

Of Mice and Men
“Of Mice and Men” is the Broadway debut of James Franco, but it’s Chris O’Dowd’s performance that you’ll take away.
Credit: Richard Phibbs

James Franco decided to try his hand at Broadway, and the results are actually not half-bad. Many of you probably associate this book with required reading in high school, but as adults you may take away more from seeing it staged with a talented cast that includes Leighton Meester. Chris O’Dowd is heartbreakingly convincing as the mentally challenged Lenny, leaving Franco with a comparatively easy straight-man part to fill without much heavy lifting. “Of Mice and Men” closes July 27.

2. “Buyer and Cellar”

Buyer and Cellar
Michael Urie is a fabulously troubled young man worshiping Babs in “Buyer and Cellar.”
Credit: Joan Marcus

This probably sounds familiar, even if you don’t know what it’s about. That’s because it’s the longest-running comedy off-Broadway, which opened in April 2013, and it’s grossed over $4 million in ticket sales. “Buyer and Cellar” is a one-man show about an out-of-work actor who takes up an odd job in Barbra Streisand’s basement. Yes. But now, at long last, it’s coming to a close on July 27. Do you want to be the only theatergoer who hasn’t seen it yet?

3. “Heathers”

Heathers The Musical
The Heathers, the original “Mean Girls,” got a new musical adaptation at New World Stages.
Credit: Chad Batka

“Heathers” is a musical based on the 1980s film, and while retaining all of the dated terribleness that made the movie a cult classic to begin with, it also breathes new life into the premise of the outcast joining and then overthrowing the world’s first “mean girls.” It’s laugh-out-loud funny, and worth seeing a few times (so maybe plan ahead and buy your tickets in bulk). Read our review to learn more, than buy your ticket(s) before Aug. 4.

4. “Holler If Ya Hear Me”

Tupac Holler If Ya Hear Me
“Holler If Ya Hear Me” is surprising nuanced and definitely worth seeing.
Credit: Joan Marcus

This new musical made a big splash when it came to Broadway earlier in the summer. Unfortunately, the world was not yet ready for a Tupac musical, and now the show is closing on July 20. Read our review (we actually liked it!) and then catch Broadway’s first rap musical before it moves on to its next life on a national tour.

5. “Rocky”

Andy Karl Rocky Broadway
Andy Karl plays this generation’s Rocky — and this Italian Stallion can also sing.
Credit: Matthew Murphy

Every Philadelphian’s dream came true when they announced that Sylvester Stallone’s star-making movie would become a musical on Broadway. Skeptics were held at bay with director Alex Timber’s amazing set, which brings the Italian Stallion’s big fight out into the audience. Read our review and form your own opinions on this adaptation before Aug. 17.

Follow T. Michelle Murphy on Twitter: @TMichelleMurphy.



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