Buyer and Cellar, Shakespeare Theatre Company

In Jonathan Tolins's comedy Buyer and Cellar, playing a limited run at the Shakespeare Theatre Company, Michael Urie's Alex More falls a little bit in love with his boss (who happens to be Barbra Streisand).  We watch his journey from someone who views Barbra merely as part of his "cultural heritage," to her defender, admirer, sudden collaborator, and potentially even her friend.  As the star of a one-man show, it falls on Urie to portray not just Alex, but his boyfriend, manager, and yes, even Barbra herself.  Critically, crucially, something else happens along the way: the audience falls a little bit in love with Michael Urie.  Under the direction of Stephen Brackett, Urie is utterly captivating, switching back and forth between clearly delineated characters and keeping the audience either in stitches or silently spellbound.  That Urie has been performing this show since its first staging in April 2013 at the Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre in New York and it still feels utterly fresh is a huge testament to his own natural charm and his laudable talents as a performer.

I loved every single thing about this production.  Every moment lands, from the big laughs to the tiny character beats.  It was only a few weeks ago that the Harman housed rebel armies and guilt-wracked kings and tavern-soaked princes its its Henry IV repertory.  Buyer and Cellar is light years away from that mode of theatre- and that's just fine by me.  Urie's performance proves that the highs and lows of personal connection are just as compelling as the rise and fall of kings.  Don't miss this one- it's a real treat, and yet another reason to celebrate the Shakespeare Theatre's extraordinarily well-chosen presentation series.


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