“BUYER AND CELLAR” A SIGN OF STELLAR DESIGN

BONNIE GOLDBERG

Imagine you have a shopping mall, complete with European boutiques, in your basement. Imagine it contains all your favored collections, like your vintage clothing, doll houses, dolls, antiques and even your best treats like frozen yogurt and pop corn. Further imagine it is all for your personal pleasure, to wander and admire, to browse and purchase. Playwright Jonathan Tolins has done more than imagine it, he has created a play that highlights the possibilities and he based it on the real, actual, honest to God basement crafted by one Barbra Streisand at her Malibu, California home.

All Streisand worshippers are invited to the Westport Country Playhouse until Sunday, July 3 for fun, fashion and fictional fantasy in Tolins’ highly entertaining one-man show “Buyer and Cellar.” Barbra’s cellar is the real deal as evidenced in her coffee table book “My Passion for Design” where Tolins discovered his story line. The twist is that he has put an out of work actor as the hired “caretaker” of the shops, one who cleverly takes all the roles from the diva herself to her husband, assistant, son and his own personal male partner Barry who is only slightly jealous of the job.

Michael Urie is the impressionable and eager to please Alex More, the young man hired to accommodate his mistress when the mood and fancy takes her on a shopping tour. He serves her to indulge her every whim and he has a wonderful time doing just that. Does she desire a cup of coffee frozen yogurt with sprinkles? No problem. Does she need a hostess gift of flowery smelling soaps? Select your favorite. Not just everyone (or any one else) has a basement worthy of admiration, one that makes a fashion statement.¬†Alex’s job is to keep it free of dust and sparkling clean. Initially not thrilled with his new position, Alex soon rallies to the cause and embraces the job with relish.

When “Sadie” deigns to shop (she has to learn to trust Alex before she becomes Barbra), their encounters are humorous and memorable, especially when she wants to purchase a French doll FIFI wholesale. No retail prices for this shopping maven. Stephen Brackett directs this charming foray into sacred territory while Urie is exceptional as the worker bee buzzing around the queen.

For tickets ($30 and up), call Westport Country Playhouse, 25 Powers Court, off route 1, Westport at 203-227-4177 or 1-888-927-7529 or online at www.WestportPlayhouse.org. Performances are Tuesday at 7 p.m., Wednesday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m.

Confess, wouldn’t you just love to shop in Barbra Streisand’s basement, even if you couldn’t afford to buy anything. Well, maybe, you could purchase a giant cup of frozen yogurt. Sprinkles are optional.

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