Chicago Theatre Review
Buyer & Cellar – Broadway in Chicago
Imagine being a struggling young, gay actor in LA trying to find enough work to pay the bills and maybe some artistic fulfillment along the way. Enter Alex More, a former Disneyland employee and sometime stage actor who’s offered a very unique opportunity that will satisfy both of wishes. It seems that a certain megastar celebrity is looking for someone with an artistic flair and some retail experience to manage her street of eclectic specialty shops. The celebrity turns out to be no other than Ms. Barbra Streisand and the shops comprise a mini mall, complete elaborate storefronts lining a cobblestone street, occupying the basement of her Malibu mansion. Oh, and the only customer expected to be shopping at this mall (which is really just a collection of years of her own memorabilia) is the Funny Girl herself. What’s a boy to do?
Michael Urie, best known for his starring role as Mark St. James on the TV show “Ugly Betty,” as well as for many other theatrical and film roles, stars in this one-man show. As Alex, Mr. Urie is hilarious. He plays the fictional Alex More as a very personable, chatty young man who’s not only a huge fan of the multi-talented Ms. Streisand, but a smart, sensitive observer of human nature. The 100-minute production unexpectedly races by with Alex speaking directly to the audience and playing out conversations with his boyfriend, his former Disneyland employer, the woman who hires him, Barbra’s husband James Brolin and, of course, the diva herself. The result is a side-splitting narrative with several tender moments that touch the heart.
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.
Reviewed by Colin Douglas
Presented May 10-June 15 by Broadway in Chicago at the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place, 175 E. Chestnut, Chicago.
Tickets are available at all Broadway in Chicago or Ticketmaster box offices or by calling 800-775-2000 or by going to www.BroadwayinChicago.com.
Additional information about this and other area productions can be found by visiting www.theatreinchicago.com.