James Franco Reviews 'Buyer & Cellar'

8.8.2013

By Jerry Portwood

Likes Michael Urie, how the play deconstructs fame, entertainment industry

We can't say enough good things about Buyer & Cellar, the one-man show starring Michael Urie (read our interview with him here) that is taking place Off-Broadway in New York City for an open-ended run. It was written by Jonathan Tolins, and we recently caught up with him (and his equally entertaining husband) to ask about the inspiration for the Barbra Streisand-specific show. As he explained, "What you’re laughing at is her need to control and to take herself so seriously. You’re not laughing at someone who’s actually a mess and endangering her life — she’s funny because she wants everything her way.”

It turns out even edgy mainstream actors like James Franco enjoy the production—something we didn't really expect, but he always keeps us guessing. The Hollywood hotshot and avant-garde artist has now given his take on the show for Vice. Focusing on its analysis of fame and the entertainment industrial complex, he writes: "...this has more to do with fame, fantasy, entertainment, and persona than it does with the actual Streisand, and that’s what elevates it above a witty take on the idea of the public persona."

Read the entire review below:

"There is a great one-man show at the Barrow Street Theater called Buyer and Cellar, a fictional take on the strange mall that Barbra Streisand has beneath her house in Malibu. This thing is right up my alley: Michael Urie from Ugly Betty plays both an out-of-work actor who mans the empty mall, as well as a strange version of Streisand who comes down to the mall in order to bargain with her new employee over her items in her store. The relationship (both sides played by Urie) develops into one where Babs feels her imaginary life is respected by her employee, so she can indulge her fantasies with him: they dress up, rehearse for a possible movie adaptation of Gypsy, and talk about their secret feelings—well, at least about Bab’s secret feelings. Finally, things start to fall apart when the out-of-work actor’s boyfriend (also played by Urie) deconstructs Streisand’s fantasy world in a brilliant exegesis of her films and career. Of course this has more to do with fame, fantasy, entertainment, and persona than it does with the actual Streisand, and that’s what elevates it above a witty take on the idea of the public persona."

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