THE WEEK AHEAD July 26-Aug. 1: James Franco Says Goodbye to Broadway and Rock Out With Hedwig's Lena Hall | Playbill

Inside Track THE WEEK AHEAD July 26-Aug. 1: James Franco Says Goodbye to Broadway and Rock Out With Hedwig's Lena Hall's weekly planner reminds you that James Franco takes his final Broadway bow… a last look at Barbra's basement… John Leguizamo brings Broadway outdoors (for free!)… and Anna Gunn and Billy Magnussen try Sex With Strangers.
Jan Maxwell and Kevin O’Rourke
Jan Maxwell and Kevin O’Rourke Photo by Stephanie Berger

August is upon us this WEEK AHEAD!

Saturday, July 26
LAST CHANCE→ Jan Maxwell, the gifted stalwart of New York stages, stars as political mover and shaker Hester Ferris in Anthony Giardina's The City of Conversation. The Doug Hughes-helmed production spans three decades of American political histrionics from the disappointing end of the Carter administration through to the beginning of "Hope and Change" with the Obama White House. (Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater, 50 Lincoln Center Plaza, 65th St., btwn. Broadway & Amsterdam. Info/tickets.) 

Sunday, July 27
LAST CHANCE→ James Franco and Chris O'Dowd head the cast of the Broadway revival of Of Mice and Men. The John Steinbeck classic features Franco as George and O'Dowd as the simpleton, Lennie — a part that earned him a Tony nomination. Tony winner Anna D. Shapiro directs the strong cast, which also includes "Gossip Girl" star Leighton Meester and Tony winner Jim Norton. (Longacre Theatre, 220 W. 48th St., btwn. Broadway & 8th Ave. Info/tickets.) 

LAST CHANCE→ Jonathan Tolins' hit Off-Broadway comedy Buyer and Cellar has a struggling actor (Barrett Foa) paying a fictional visit to the very real underground playground that is the basement of Barbra Streisand's Malibu mansion. The show continues on tour with its hilarious original leading man, Michael Urie. (Barrow Street Theatre, 27 Barrow St., off 7th Ave. Click here for Playbill Club discount tickets.) 

John Leguizamo
photo by Carol Rosegg
Monday, July 28
GO (FREE)→ John Leguizamo's Ghetto Klown, which played Broadway in 2011 and earned both Drama Desk and Outer Critics Awards for Outstanding Solo Performance, returns to New York City in a free performance as part of NYC's SummerStage series. (8 PM, Rumsey Playfield, Central Park, enter at 71st St. and 5th Ave. Info.)  GO→ Tony winner Lena Hall performs with her band The Deafening for a return of the rock-meets-musicals concert, Broadway the Hardway. Rock of Ages' Tony-nominated star Constantine Maroulis (who returns to the 80s tuner later this summer), Emmy-winning composer-lyricist Lance Horne and "RuPaul's Drag Race" finalist Courtney Act join Hall to rock it out! (42West, 514 W. 42nd St., btwn. 10th & 11th Aves., tickets start at $10. Info/tickets.) 

Tuesday, July 29
GO→ Playbill's own Renaissance man Seth Rudetsky shares his secrets for nailing auditions in a series of summer weekly master classes. Seth got his start as a rehearsal pianist and has seen the best (and worst) of auditions since 1986! Get a taste of what's on offer with Seth's Top 5 Worst Audition Mistakes! (Noon, Ripley Grier Studios, 131 W. 72nd St., btwn. Amsterdam & Columbus Aves. Info/tickets.) 

Wednesday, July 30
OPENING→ "Breaking Bad" Emmy winner Anna Gunn stars with Tony nominee Billy Magnussen in Laura Eason's Sex With Strangers. "Friends" star David Schwimmer directs the drama about a sex blogger (Magnussen) who falls for an older woman (Gunn). (Second Stage's Tony Kiser Theatre, 305 W. 43rd St., btwn. 8th & 9th Aves. Click here for Playbill Club discount tickets.) 

Thursday, July 31
GO (FREE)→ This week's summer Broadway in Bryant Park offerings include a performance from the 2014 Tony Award-winning Best Musical, A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder. Also on the Main Stage will be the casts of the Tony-winning tuner Once, Rock of Ages and the Off-Broadway musical comedy Heathers. (12:30 PM, Bryant Park, Bryant Park, 6th Ave., btwn. 40th & 42nd Sts. Info.

Friday, August 1
GO (FREE)→ Freestyle Love Supreme, the rap-comedy troupe created by Tony winner Lin-Manuel Miranda, begins taping their new television show for Pivot, and you can be a member of the live studio audience! (Through Aug. 7, NYC. Info/tickets.) 

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