THEATER | DANCE | CLASSICAL MUSIC | OPERA | COMEDY

NORTH TEXAS PERFORMING ARTS NEWS

REVIEWS

NO CAPTION

Review: Buyer and Cellar | AT&T Performing Arts Center | Dallas City Performance Hall


Mall of Me

Plano native Michael Urie is like buttah in Jonathan Tolins' clever, winding solo show Buyer & Cellar at City Performance Hall.



published Thursday, September 4, 2014

Photo: Courtesy AT&T Performing Arts Center
Michael Urie in Buyer & Cellar

Dallas — Oh, come on! Don’t tell me you’ve never had the fantasy: you turn around and there stands (fill in the blank), the one celebrity you’d just luv to meet—and wouldn’t you know, he/she needs your advice, or catches your eye to laugh about something…and the story begins. All you have to do is keep the ball rolling. What if this happened…and that…and then something else? You always knew you two would be BFFs if you ever came face to face, right?

Buyer & Cellar is precisely that kind of fan-fic daydream, a playful and bubbly “what if?” from Jonathan Tolins (Twilight of the Golds, Queer as Folk), who tugged on one thin strand of truth—Barbra Streisand really did build an underground “street” of shops on her Malibu estate—and then found himself knitting an entirely fictional shaggy-star story that just kept getting bigger and funnier by the line.

This one-man comedy was a hotter-than-hot ticket in New York last year, and won Drama Desk and Lucille Lortel awards for Tolins’ inventive script and the play’s star, Michael Urie—a Plano native and Juilliard grad (known for his cute-assistant role on Ugly Betty) who’s come back, triumphantly, to show the hometown crowd what he’s been up to. [For more background on Urie, read Mark Lowry’s interview here.] To see this show you’ll have to move fast, though. Buyer & Cellar, a great start for AT&T Performing Arts Center's new Off-Broadway on Flora series, is at Dallas City Performance Hall only through Sept. 6.

So here’s the idea: What if…a struggling actor, fired from a gig at Disneyland, became the one and only clerk in Barbra’s private underground mall? What if…the “Lady of the House” came shopping (for her own stuff, of course)? What if…she wanted to haggle? What if…they liked each other? Urie, onstage non-stop for nearly two hours, plays all the characters, from the young actor to Babs herself, with a hunky husband (hers) and a snarky boyfriend (his) thrown into the mix. He’s a gleeful perpetual-motion machine, whirling among personas (personae?) without a prop or wig in sight—and after a few minutes, the audience just goes with it, laughing all the way. Urie doesn’t try to sound exactly like Streisand, but the illusion is quirky and marvelous: a certain shrug of the shoulders and hands held just so—and you’re quite convinced that She is in the house.

Director Stephen Brackett (who also directed the original New York production at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater) never lets the energy level drop, and Tolins’ laugh-out-loud script works in his favor. Tolins’ trick, it seems, is to think, in elaborate detail, about everywhere this zany situation might go—and then go there shamelessly, because that’s where the jokes are. If the pretend customer wants to shop, what actor wouldn’t happily put his wacky “improv” skills to work? If the star tells stories about her sad childhood, what self-respecting Brooklyn boyfriend wouldn’t have a “wah, wah, cry me a river” comeback jibe? We can’t tell much more without giving away the lines—all rising with perfectly crazy logic from the lines before—that kept an opening-night audience roaring.

And it isn’t just laughs. There’s a certain humane wisdom here, in the play’s look at the have-not Alex and the have-it-all Barbra, and at the price each of them pays for their life choices. They connect in oddball but endearing ways, too, over guys and decorating and what to do on a Sunday afternoon. This is a kind-hearted play, in the end—and whatever jokes Urie makes about his fear of La Streisand turning up at the show…we think she’d like it. (But then sue him anyway, just for fun.)

The show’s New York producers were smart to take their original star on tour. As happens once in a lucky while, the irresistible Michael Urie has made Buyer & Cellar completely his own, a fun-filled, jazz-handed playground of a show—and it’s hard to envision anyone else coming close.

Funny Boy, Funny Girl—funny show.

Photo: Courtesy AT&T Performing Arts Center
Michael Urie in Buyer & Cellar
 Thanks For Reading




Dates, Prices, & Other Details

View the Article Slideshow

Comment on this Article

Share this article on Social Media
Click or Swipe to close
Mall of Me
Plano native Michael Urie is like buttah in Jonathan Tolins' clever, winding solo show Buyer & Cellar at City Performance Hall.
by Jan Farrington

Share this article on Facebook
Tweet this article
Share this article on Google+
Share this article via email
Firehouse Theatre Silent Sky Mistletoe Magic TCC Daylight Cara Mia Chamberlain Hip Hop Nutcracker Gloria La Fete Scrooge Irving Arts Center Dallas Opera Bocelli American Airlines center Firehouse Theatre Silent Sky Mistletoe Magic TCC Daylight Cara Mia Chamberlain Hip Hop Nutcracker Gloria La Fete Scrooge Irving Arts Center Dallas Opera Bocelli American Airlines center Firehouse Theatre Silent Sky Mistletoe Magic TCC Daylight Cara Mia Chamberlain Hip Hop Nutcracker Gloria La Fete Scrooge Irving Arts Center Dallas Opera Bocelli American Airlines center Firehouse Theatre Silent Sky Mistletoe Magic TCC Daylight Cara Mia Chamberlain Hip Hop Nutcracker Gloria La Fete Scrooge Irving Arts Center Dallas Opera Bocelli American Airlines center Firehouse Theatre Silent Sky Mistletoe Magic TCC Daylight Cara Mia Chamberlain Hip Hop Nutcracker Gloria La Fete Scrooge Irving Arts Center Dallas Opera Bocelli American Airlines center Firehouse Theatre Silent Sky Mistletoe Magic TCC Daylight Cara Mia Chamberlain Hip Hop Nutcracker Gloria La Fete Scrooge Irving Arts Center Dallas Opera Bocelli American Airlines center Firehouse Theatre Silent Sky Mistletoe Magic TCC Daylight Cara Mia Chamberlain Hip Hop Nutcracker Gloria La Fete Scrooge Irving Arts Center Dallas Opera Bocelli American Airlines center Firehouse Theatre Silent Sky Mistletoe Magic TCC Daylight Cara Mia Chamberlain Hip Hop Nutcracker Gloria La Fete Scrooge Irving Arts Center Dallas Opera Bocelli American Airlines center Firehouse Theatre Silent Sky Mistletoe Magic TCC Daylight Cara Mia Chamberlain Hip Hop Nutcracker Gloria La Fete Scrooge Irving Arts Center Dallas Opera Bocelli American Airlines center Firehouse Theatre Silent Sky Mistletoe Magic TCC Daylight Cara Mia Chamberlain Hip Hop Nutcracker Gloria La Fete Scrooge Irving Arts Center Dallas Opera Bocelli American Airlines center Firehouse Theatre Silent Sky Mistletoe Magic TCC Daylight Cara Mia Chamberlain Hip Hop Nutcracker Gloria La Fete Scrooge Irving Arts Center Dallas Opera Bocelli American Airlines center Firehouse Theatre Silent Sky Mistletoe Magic TCC Daylight Cara Mia Chamberlain Hip Hop Nutcracker Gloria La Fete Scrooge Irving Arts Center Dallas Opera Bocelli American Airlines center Firehouse Theatre Silent Sky Mistletoe Magic TCC Daylight Cara Mia Chamberlain Hip Hop Nutcracker Gloria La Fete Scrooge Irving Arts Center Dallas Opera Bocelli American Airlines center Firehouse Theatre Silent Sky Mistletoe Magic TCC Daylight Cara Mia Chamberlain Hip Hop Nutcracker Gloria La Fete Scrooge Irving Arts Center Dallas Opera Bocelli American Airlines center Firehouse Theatre Silent Sky Mistletoe Magic TCC Daylight Cara Mia Chamberlain Hip Hop Nutcracker Gloria La Fete Scrooge Irving Arts Center Dallas Opera Bocelli American Airlines center Firehouse Theatre Silent Sky Mistletoe Magic TCC Daylight Cara Mia Chamberlain Hip Hop Nutcracker Gloria La Fete Scrooge Irving Arts Center Dallas Opera Bocelli American Airlines center Firehouse Theatre Silent Sky Mistletoe Magic TCC Daylight Cara Mia Chamberlain Hip Hop Nutcracker Gloria La Fete Scrooge Irving Arts Center Dallas Opera Bocelli American Airlines center Firehouse Theatre Silent Sky Mistletoe Magic TCC Daylight Cara Mia Chamberlain Hip Hop Nutcracker Gloria La Fete Scrooge Irving Arts Center Dallas Opera Bocelli American Airlines center Firehouse Theatre Silent Sky Mistletoe Magic TCC Daylight Cara Mia Chamberlain Hip Hop Nutcracker Gloria La Fete Scrooge Irving Arts Center Dallas Opera Bocelli American Airlines center Firehouse Theatre Silent Sky Mistletoe Magic TCC Daylight Cara Mia Chamberlain Hip Hop Nutcracker Gloria La Fete Scrooge Irving Arts Center Dallas Opera Bocelli American Airlines center
Click or Swipe to close
reviews
views on theater, dance, classical music, opera and comedy performances
news & notes
reports from the local performing arts scene
features & interviews
who and what are moving and shaking in the performing arts scene
season announcements
keep up with the arts groups' upcoming seasons
audiocasts
listen to interviews with people in the local performing arts scene
media reviews
reviews and stories on performing arts-related film, TV, recordings and books
arts organizations
learn more about the local producing and presenting arts groups
performance venues
learn more about the theaters and spaces where the arts happen
contests
keep up with fabulous ticket giveaways and other promotions
crowdfunding
connect to local arts crowdfunding campaigns
studio
post or view auditions and performing arts-related classes, services, jobs and more
about us
info on TheaterJones, our staff, what we do and how to contact us
Click or Swipe to close
First Name:
Last Name:
Date of Birth:
ZIP Code:
Your Email Address:
Click or Swipe to close
Join TheaterJones Around the Web



Follow Us on Twitter

Subscribe to our Youtube Channel

Click or Swipe to close
Search the TheaterJones Archives
Use any or all of the options below to search through all of reviews, interviews, features and special sections. If you are looking for a an event, use the calendar section of this website. This search will not search through the calendar.
Article Title Search:


Description Search:
TheaterJones Contributor:


TheaterJones Section:


Category:
Showing on or after:      Showing on or before:  
Search
Click or Swipe to close
We welcome your comments

I am discussing:  



Your Name:
Your Email Adress:


please enter the text below and then click or tap SUBMIT :
Submit