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NY1 Theater Review: "Buyer & Cellar"

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"Buyer and Cellar" starring Michael Urie is a new solo show inspired by the unusual contents of Barbra Streisand's basement. NY1's Roma Torre filed the following review.

It's often been said that there are really only seven basic plots in literature and almost all creative writing today is a variation of those simple story lines. Well, whoever came up with that didn't see "Buyer & Cellar." Jonathan Tolins' one-man comedy is audaciously original, and I should add, hilariously clever and consummately performed.

At the start, actor Michael Urie makes it clear that even though the story he tells concerns Barbra Streisand, it's almost entirely a work of fiction. And then he launches into it.

He plays a young out-of-work actor in Hollywood who gets a mysterious offer to work in "retail." When he shows up for the interview, he discovers that his employer is Streisand and the job entails working in her basement, which she's converted into a shopping mall stocked exclusively with her own possessions... and just as he's the only sales clerk, she would be the only customer.

How Tolins spins that bizarre tale into a most entertaining 95 intermissionless minutes is a tribute to his ingenuity as a writer and Urie's comedic skills, with a big assist from director Stephen Brackett.

The idea for the play was inspired by an actual page from Streisand history. In her 2010 book entitled "My Passion For Design," she describes her basement mall complete with individual shops and even popcorn and frozen yogurt machines.

Urie is remarkable, seamlessly morphing from one character to another, but it's his exchanges with Streisand that steal the show.

And whether it's magic or just the miracle of acting, I could swear I saw Streisand's face and long polished nails whenever Urie took her on.

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