Monday, July 15, 2013


Playwright Jonathan Tolins has fashioned a fascinating play based on superstar Barbra Streisand's recently published coffee table book on decorating, "My Passion for Design."  Focusing on one chapter where she reveals she has a shopping mall to hold all her incredible collectibles in her basement at her Malibu estate, Tolins has used that as a shopping list for his imaginative, clever and intriguing one man show "Buyer and Cellar" playing at the Barrow Street Theatre, 27 Barrow Street, New York City until Sunday, October 13.

Hopefully Ms. Streisand would be amused by his literary license and not in a litiginous mood.  As actor Michael Urie warns in the opening, playing Alex Moore, an out-of-work actor who agrees to work in said basement as a quasi-guardian, salesman, a man in charge of inventory, who can present the merchandise should Ms. Streisand wander downstairs, is heady business.  Perhaps she might like to purchase a French Fifi doll who blows bubbles, a costume suitable for Mama Rose in "Gypsy," find the perfect gift for a friend or enjoy a giant cup of coffee frozen yogurt bathed in rainbow sprinkles, they are all part of a dream job come true for Alex.

Urie is simply delightful and enthusiastic as he plays Alex, Alex's sarcastic boyfriend Barry, a slightly jealous James Brolin, Barbra's helpful assistant Sharon and the diva herself who  assumes the name of Sadie.  He switches personas with alacrity and skill, balancing the roles like a trained seal in a circus.  One moment he is dissing about Brooklyn and childhoods and the next he is offering performance advice and running lines, creating a friendship with a star who has found it lonely at the top of the tower.

Alex discovers on his journey that "we are all striving to create our own perfect little world so we can live in it," a personal Utopia if you will...and who better
to take lessons from than Barbra.  Stephen Brackett directs this 95 minute introduction to a heavenly land down below that will make you wish you could shop there yourself.

For tickets ($75-95), call the Barrow Street Theatre, 27 Barrow Street, New York City at 212-868-4444 or online at or SmartTix.  Performances are Tuesday - Sunday at 7:30 p.m., with 2:30 p.m. matinees Saturday and Sunday.

Take a stroll along Barbra's boutiques, her unique street of shops, like Bee's Doll Shoppe, with Michael Urie as your talented guide and learn first hand how to be "aspirational."

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