Barbra Streisand Planning to See BUYER & CELLAR at the Taper in LA?
In an interview with the LA Times this week, playwright Jonathan Tolins and actor Michael Urie discussed their award-winning off-Broadway one-man show, Buyer & Cellar, and the possibility that the legendary Barbra Streisand may come to see it within the upcoming weeks. The show, which is playing at the Mark Taper Forum through August 17th, is about an unemployed Los Angeles actor who gets a job manning a pretend mall in Streisand's basement.
Read the original article here.
Urie plays all five roles in the show: struggling actor Alex More, his boyfriend, Streisand's husband James Brolin, her house manager, and Streisand herself. "It's daunting to play someone people know so intimately, or think they do," Urie told the LA Times. "It's sorta haahd to do her because I don't have a wig or the finganails," he continued in Streisand's famous Brooklyn accent.
It may be hard to portray such an iconic figure (especially of the opposite sex), but having Streisand in the audience would be an even more difficult feat. "It's the Heisenberg uncertainty principle: You put Barbra in the house and everything changes!" Tolins told the LA Times. "Everyone's under strict orders not to tell Michael if she comes."
As of now, Streisand has not directly spoken with Tolins nor Urie about coming to see the show. However, her publicist Dick Guttman has made it known that she does plan to see it now that it's playing so close to her house.
Urie agreed that knowing Streisand was in the audience would throw him off, but he'd be "more concerned if the audience knew she was there. Because that would ruin the experience."
"It could be arranged to bring her in right as the lights were going down," Tolins said. "She could sit on the aisle and after, if she hated it, she could storm out."
If Streisand ever did show up, Urie said he would thank her "for giving us so much inspiration. She's never been ashamed of her eccentricities, she's never shied away from anything. She's always been herself - out there and proud and a force to be reckoned with."
Under Stephen Brackett's crisply paced direction, Urie delivers a boffo performance in Buyer & Cellar. In about 100 minutes his emotional instrument runs the gammit from A to Z. Happy, inquisitive, ecstatic in a 360 turn to confused, bored and deeply disappointed, he never loses the connection. Voicing every role, he makes us feel Barbra's presence or that of her assistant Sharon, or Brolin and in his own world Barry and those other characters that make the plot tick. One of the funniest stories in the script involves a doll named Fifi that Streisand as a customer in her own store pretends to want but, like any stereotypical Jewish princess, at a lower price than the one suggested by salesman Alex. Each is putting the other to an extreme test of endurance, and when Streisand returns the next day with a coupon she has found on the internet, Tolin and Urie have the audience in stitches. What a hoot! On a somewhat serious - but still light - side, Alex walks away from his brief relationship having learned a valuable thing or two about taste, self-indulgence and personal happiness from his favorite diva.
Go see Buyer & Cellar for the sheer enjoyment that it brings. The nonstop funny patter and Urie's ingenious performance will have you entranced, just as the mystique of Barbra Streisand has been doing these past 50+ years. Just don't take any of it too seriously!