What Is the Story of Buyer & Cellar?
Inspired by Barbra Streisand’s My Passion for Design, Buyer & Cellar is part truth, part fiction. The facts? Streisand has a shopping mall in the basement of her Malibu home, featuring a doll shop, an antique clothing store and a sweets shop, complete with a frozen yogurt machine, as detailed in her 2010 book. Playwright Jonathan Tolins takes the wackiness a step further as he imagines a man who is hired to work in the basement of the mall…with Babs as his only customer. The one-man show tells the story of Alex More, a struggling Los Angeles actor who takes a gig working in the basement mall, and develops an unlikely and hilarious friendship with Streisand.
Tolins handles this subtext with such subtlety that we’re hardly aware of the chill that creeps into the basement of this fantasy world, and Urie gives such a nuanced reading of Alex’s devastating social blunder that it’s a big shock when the lights go out on Main Street.Review by Marilyn Stasio from Variety
A reflection on all of us 'struggling to make a perfect little world to fit our life into,' it’s a seriously funny and remarkably sustained slice of absurdist whimsy on which both Barbra lovers and haters will be sold.Review by David Rooney from The New York Times
What Is Buyer & Cellar Like?
Buyer & Cellar is set in a small, white room that transforms, with help from the audience’s imagination, into a number of lavish shops in Streisand’s basement. With almost no props (except for a Kit Kat bar), Michael Urie quickly whips the audience into a froth, taking on the roles of Alex, his Barbra-obsessed boyfriend Barry and of course, Babs herself. Although Urie doesn’t do a flat-out imitation of Streisand, his mannerisms are enough to evoke the legend inside the intimate Barrow Street Theatre. Running a brisk 90 minutes, Buyer & Cellar is a delightful night at the theater for Barbra Streisand lovers and haters alike.
Is Buyer & Cellar Good For Kids?
A few F-bombs are unleashed in Buyer & Cellar, and unless your child is a hardcore Barbra Streisand fan, it’s unlikely he’ll be interested in the storyline. Older teens may enjoy this production—especially those who love to blast the Funny Girl cast recording.