43.4 F
Palm Springs
Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Mark Taper Forum Hits A Home Run With “Buyer & Cellar”

Must read

Protesters threaten to stab Mitch McConnell outside his home

A mob of angry gun control protesters gathered outside Senator Mitch McConnell’s Louisville home and chanted death threats in a bid to...

Senators Back Protections for Undocumented Military Family Members

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Immigrants' rights groups say fear is spreading among people in the U.S. military who have undocumented family members, after...

Community Challenge Grants Improve Livability Across CA

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Four California communities will see some significant improvements in the next few months – thanks to the 2019 AARP Community...

CA English-Learner Programs to Get $10 Million in Current Budget

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — One in four public-school students in California is an English learner, and now programs to help them become more...

Jack Lyons Theatre & Film Critic
Jack Lyons Theatre & Film Critic

Los Angeles’ Mark Taper Forum’s current West Coast premiere production of “Buyer & Cellar” is just a few miles from Dodger Stadium, home to those lovable lugs and expats from Brooklyn who are now in their fifty-fifth year of being the LA Dodgers   It just seems appropriate to stretch the baseball metaphor of hitting one out of the park when it comes to presenting a solid, smash-hit, one man production cleverly written by Jonathan Tolins, crisply directed by Stephen Brackett, and sensationally performed by stage and television actor Michel Urie, of “Ugly Betty” fame.

Michael Urie ~Photo by Joan Marcus
Michael Urie ~Photo by Joan Marcus

The wacky 90 minute satire, is pure fiction when it comes to the narrative, however, celebrity super-stars like Barbra Streisand often become the subjects of faux stories, books and plays.  Also, female super-stars like Garland and Middler, and Streisand have always had a love affair following within the gay community. The sly, tongue-in-cheek, and, at times, touching “Buyer and Cellar” comedy is careful to avoid having Jonathan Tolins become the playwright who exposes the here-to-fore unknown idiosyncrasies of “Babs”, in a mean-spirited way.  Quite the contrary. But I doubt that many non-Hollywood people knew of her Malibu basement personal shopping mall, complete with a frozen yogurt machine.

Tolins’ pays his homage to Streisand throughout in a tender way but doesn’t let her off the hook completely. Yes, I know Tolins’ basic premise is farfetched as if we are staring through Alice’s looking glass but it does allow us to peek into the lifestyle, however briefly of one of America’s truly “rich and famous” people.  “Remember, this is the part that’s real,” Urie says with an insouciant wink to the audience before he slips into character.

Actor Urie, is charged with the tricky job of juggling the publicly known facts about Ms. Streisand, and the made up stuff that he and playwright Tolins, along with director Brackett, display on the Taper’s stage.  Tolins creates the character of Alex More, a gay unemployed actor, who in an effort to just pay his rent, accepts a job as caretaker of Barbra’s underground mall where the customer is always right.  As its only customer Ms. Streisand is usually right, but not always.  Alex and Ms. Streisand have a quite a gabfest covering a variety of subjects.

Michael Urie ~Photo by Joan Marcus
Michael Urie ~Photo by Joan Marcus

Urie is out there all alone for ninety laugh-filled minutes talking to Barry, his gay screenwriter boyfriend, to staff members of the Streisand household, including James Brolin and La Streisand herself.  It’s a nimble, true, tour-de-force performance by a very talented actor.

Director Brackett and his creative team have focused the on-stage action to take place on a spare stage and set designed by Andrew Boyce, with lighting by designer Eric Southern.  The video projection design by Alex Koch, and sound design by Stowe Nelson, plus the single costume, jeans and shirt and Reeboks worn by Urie, is designed Jessica Pabst.  All are all solid efforts.

“Buyer and Cellar” performs at The Mark Taper Forum through August 17, 2014.

Advertisements

More articles

Latest article

Border Patrol Arrests Woman Attempting to Smuggle Meth

SALTON CITY, Calif. – El Centro SectorBorder Patrol agents working at the Highway 86 immigration checkpoint arrested a woman suspected of smuggling methamphetamine...

Medical marijuana workers start unionizing with government help

Marijuana may still be illegal at the federal level, but the US labor board believes pot workers still have the same rights as any...

America’s first recreational pot licenses issued in Colorado

Colorado made history on Monday, becoming the first state in the US to issue hundreds of licenses for recreational marijuana businesses. Colorado's Marijuana Enforcement Division...

Praised & Maligned Medical Marijuana Collective to Celebrate 3rd Anniversary

Praised & Maligned Medical Marijuana Collective to Celebrate 3rd Anniversary Riverside’s actions to close the collective is at the California Supreme Court, but they are...

Obama administration considering ways to overturn marijuana legalization in Washington and Colorado

New legislation in Washington state went into effect this week that legalizes for the first time in ages the possession of marijuana. Federal law...