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  Buyer and Cellar at Broadway Playhouse

Buyer and Cellar

Broadway Playhouse
175 East Chestnut Street Chicago

Alex More has a story to tell. A struggling actor in L.A., Alex takes a job working in the mall in Barbra Streisand's Malibu basement. One day, the Lady Herself comes downstairs to play. It feels like real bonding in the basement, but will their relationship ever make it upstairs? BUYER & CELLAR is an outrageous comedy about the price of fame, the cost of things, and the oddest of odd jobs.

Thru - Jun 15, 2014



Price: $35-$75

Show Type: Comedy

Running Time: 1hr, 35mins; no intermission

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  Buyer and Cellar Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Highly Recommended

"..."Buyer & Cellar" is, for sure, something of a 90-minute trifle, an extended sketch that owes a little to the work of David Sedaris and his "Santaland Diaries." But like Sedaris, Tolins is an intellectual populist who knows how to walk both sides of the line between campy, celebrity-driven entertainment and serious cultural inquiry. Early on in the show, he takes on the lyrics of one Streisand's biggest hits, pointing out the incongruity of singing about corners of the mind when the brain is round. And he cleverly gives Alex a boyfriend, a guy who knows almost everything there is know about Streisand and her career-long relationship with gay culture, but resents her demands on Alex and the intimate (kinda) access to her that her sole mall employee enjoys."
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Chris Jones


Chicago Sun Times - Highly Recommended

"...Tolins is a terrific, meticulously detailed, tragicomic writer. And Urie, who originated the role and played it for a year in New York, has full ownership. He is a little too annoyingly pixie-ish at the very start, but once he descends into that cellar, every beat, gesture, tic, intonation and expression is perfection — whether he is riffing on the history of a doll in the Doll Museum, haggling with Streisand over its price or rehearsing a dreamed-about revival of “Gypsy” in which Steisand (now 70) would play Mama Rose, a woman with a 5-year-old daughter. Urie’s portrayal (directed by Stephen Brackett, on Andrew Boyce’s creamy minimalist set) turns out to be into the most memorable solo turn since Jefferson Mays starred in “I Am My Own Wife.”"
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Hedy Weiss


Chicago Reader - Somewhat Recommended

"...Jonathan Tolins's one-hander, about an out-of-work actor who becomes entangled in the crazy private life of a major motion picture star, has a faint whiff of Sunset Boulevard about it. Only Tolins plays the situation for laughs—there's no melodramatic murder at the end of it all—and his Norma Desmond is a fictionalized version of Barbra Streisand. Michael Urie of TV's Ugly Betty, who originated the role in New York, plays the piece's hapless thespian (and everyone else, including Barbra) with considerable charm, at times adding heft to the lightweight script."
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Jack Helbig


Time Out Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...Jonathan Tolins's comedy began as a throwaway joke: Dishing about Barbra Streisand's rather self-indulgent coffee-table tome, My Passion for Design, and its revelation that Babs installed a fake Main Street in a basement of her Malibu dream house, lined with old-timey "shops" where she keeps her collections of dresses and dolls, the playwright quipped, "Imagine being the guy who has to work down there." And he does so delightfully in Buyer & Cellar, dreaming up an out-of-work actor named Alex More, whose work experience on Disneyland's Main Street U.S.A. earns him a shot at keeping shop for a single demanding customer."
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Kris Vire


ShowBizChicago - Highly Recommended

"...Buyer and Cellar is not only a triumph for Michael Urie as a performer but in a way for Streisand herself as the play makes someone knowingly eccentric to the masses become emotionally relatable to the audience. Babs teaches not only Alex but all of us a life lesson that we should all demand a little more perfection and care about the details, not in a material way, but in living life itself."
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Michael Roberts


Chicago On the Aisle - Recommended

"...At last it's summer here, the season for ice-cream cones and long walks by the water and books with fun as their chief nutritional value. It's also prime for a Broadway in Chicago show on this fancifully ridiculous premise - that Barbra Streisand, who has designed a "shopping mall" in the basement of her own home, drives a hard bargain to purchase a doll, which she already owns, from the fella she has hired to tend the shops. And he says No."
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Nancy Malitz


Chicago Stage Standard - Highly Recommended

"...Director Stephen Brackett clearly knows the show well, having director Mr. Urie in the premiere in New York as well as this tour. He keeps the action moving seamlessly from location to location aided quite nicely by his design team. Andrew Boyce's simple set works well in conjunction with Alex Koch's video projections, Stowe Nelson's sound design and Eric Southern's lighting design."

Rand Ringgenberg


Around The Town Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...There are days that seem to drag on and on...days where you need some sort of release, away from the reality of the weather, slow business and all the stresses that life can play on us. On those days, a little laughter would be a great release and Chicago's Broadway In Chicago's newest feature show, now playing at the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower, the absolutely divine "Buyer & Cellar" is just what the doctor ordered. 100 minutes of quick moving comic story telling by the highly energetic Michael Urie. The playhouse is an intimate venue where no matter where one sits, one feels that the actor on the stage is talking to you, personally! That is why this is the perfect venue for Jonathan Tolin's brilliant tour de force comic episode in the life of struggling actor Alex Moore, played of course by Urie."
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Alan Bresloff


Chicago Theatre Review - Highly Recommended

"...This production, written by Jonathan Tolins and directed by Stephen Brackett, and featuring its original star in this limited-run tour, has been critically extolled by every publication in America. It has earned Urie both the Clarence Derwent and the Drama Desk Awards. The highest praise I can give this rollicking, sometimes poignant one-man play is that Michael Urie is not only delightful and insightful within the context of the show, but he seems like a great guy to hang out with afterwards over a drink. Do not miss this wonderful production."
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Colin Douglas


Huffington Post - Highly Recommended

"...But five minutes into the play, I was hooked, and the 90 minute one-act flew by quicker than any night I've spent in a theatre in recent memory. Part of it is Tolins' accessible and engaging script, which includes enough insider-y information to tickle Babs fans. But a great deal of it is Urie's delivery, which is a masterclass in pacing, timing and comedic delivery. In fact, Urie's character admits that he's missing the "Streisand gene," which makes him a refreshingly level-headed narrator when he eventually meets the iconic performer. Ah, yes -- he is starstruck, but not to the point that it overrides the story. More importantly, he wants to impress this tough customer of one, and he begins to get wrapped up into the odd world this Funny Girl has carefully cultivated. And, by proxy, we're pulled in as well."
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Robert Bullen


Chicagoland Theater Reviews - Highly Recommended

"...The “Buyer & Cellar” blend of gay humor and Streisand satirical jabs aren’t simple a collection of in jokes to tickle the fancy of hip and would-be hip viewers. This is a show accessible to anyone with a funny bone, thanks to Urie’s freshness, charm, and understated acting brilliance in tandem with Tolins’s droll dialogue. Plus everyone in the audience should connect with Barbra Streisand at some level, the lady being one of the most familiar entertainment icons of our time. In the end, the show becomes one of those rare achievements when the material and the performer join in perfect harmony to offer the spectator a unique live experience."

Dan Zeff


The Fourth Walsh - Highly Recommended

"...This show is exactly my fantasy of how a mega billionaire hordes her money and stardom. The charismatic Urie exaggerates Babs’ persona in a playful way. There is a scene about coffee yogurt and sprinkles that Urie does first as Alex and Babs and then as Alex and Brolin. Riotous! The intimate look at celebrities in their basement wonderland is spoof-tastic. Urie has the ability to pause and allow the audience to digest the ludicrous moment. The laughter comes in waves as each member of the audience catches up to the joke. This is the most fun I’ve had at the mall or in a basement."
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Katy Walsh


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