Sketch: Michael Urie in Buyer and Cellar

Michael Urie

What would it be like to work in Barbara Streisand‘s personal shopping mall in the basement of her Malibu mansion? That is the subject of American actor Michael Urie’s one man show Buyer and Cellar, which just completed a run at London’s Menier Chocolate Factory, transferring from New York.

From that one quirky but true premise, New York playwright Jonathan Tolins has created an outrageously funny monologue about Alex More – the sole employee in the music legend’s private collections of antiques, clothes, and toys presented in various boutiques… a “dream refuge”.

Alex is “hired to work in the in the mall and describes his journey from mock merchant to Gypsy acting coach via a ‘religious ecstasy’ in front of the  ‘people dress’ through short sharp and wonderfully witty vignettes” describes Ben Hewis in his four star WhatsOnStage review.

Michael portrays every character from the eccentric and authoritative diva herself to her hubby James Brolin and Alex’s head tossing, vindictive boyfriend, Barry.

The New York Times called it “a delicious target for satire… a featherweight but irresistible play about celebrity false bonding, the solitude of uber-fame and the seductive allure of expensive chintz.”

I interrupted Michael as he was pressing the entry code at the Chocolate Factory’s stage door on the final day of his London season. He didn’t mind the interruption and loved the sketch… as you can see by the dedication, before he went out to work in “Babs basement’.

Drawing: Barbra Streisand

barbra streisand

One of the most commercially and critically successful entertainers, Barbra Joan Streisand holds the record for the most top ten albums of any female recording artist – a total of 32 since 1963.

The 71 year old has won two Academy Awards, eight Grammys, five Emmys, and a Special Tony Award. She signed my sketch at a recording session in New York in the late 1980s.