by: Sandi Durell 

Isn’t it every gay actor’s dream to, one day, meet the larger-than-life Ms. S in person?  If you happen to be an unemployed actor named Alex More, you’ll take any job and, in this case, it’s a mysterious one somewhere in Malibu – – down, down deep in the innards of a basement created in a barn on a large estate. 

Loosely and cleverly based on Barbra Streisand’s coffee table extravaganza “My Passion for Design” (based upon her love of Winterhur – an art museum of little shops), the brilliant Jonathan Tolins (The Twilight of the Golds) wrote this non-stop laughter-filled wacky comedy that turned out to put a permanent stamp on Michael Urie (Ugly Betty) as the genius interpreter.

Urie plays all the roles – Barbra, Josh Brolin, Sharon (Barbra’s secretary), Barry (Alex’ Barbra aficionado boyfriend), but first letting the audience know that what they’re about to witness is all fiction – all the conversations that never really took place – and that we can just fill in the rest.  However, once Urie gets started he inhabits each and every character, like a quick-change artist who never forgets one stitch of accessory.

And so it goes that as Alex spends time getting to know the merchandise contained in the small shops of dolls, vintage clothing, gifts, yogurt and popcorn below ground (yes, it’s what the rich and famous do with money to burn), dusting and organizing, wondering if the one customer who occasionally frequents the “shop-pees” will one day come a-knockin’, his wish is granted, as the bell rings and there she is! 

The games people play and the cost of fame become the source of the zany camp that unfolds as the famous ‘people who need people’ voice is actually visiting her Mall – bargaining to buy her own vintage doll and, what chutzpa, coming back with a discount coupon!  They bond, they dance and we’re having the time of our lives watching this mishegas (craziness) unfold.

Urie’s flawless portrayals of the personalities will amaze in this spoof of spoofs directed by Stephen Brackett.


Don’t walk – run to the Barrow Street Theatre where “Buyer & Cellar” continues thru Jan. 5, 2014.

27 Barrow Street, www.SmartTix.com   212 868-4444

 Photos: Sandra Coudert