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Michael Urie superb in charming 'Buyer & Cellar'

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 3, 2013 at 7:03 pm •  Published: April 3, 2013

NEW YORK (AP) — The hero in the new play "Buyer & Cellar" is offered a key piece of advice before starting his first day of work at a California mall: "Just remember, the customer is always right."

That turns out to be especially true since the mall in question has only one customer. And that customer happens to be none other than Barbra Streisand.

So begins Jonathan Tolins' utterly charming and often whacky one-man show that opened Wednesday at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater starring a superb Michael Urie.

The play is absolutely fictional and admittedly "preposterous." It sprung from a photograph in Streisand's book "My Passion for Design," which examines the design aesthetic of her homes.

On Page 190, Tolins found a reference to the basement in Streisand's Malibu estate, which has been turned into a private shopping mall, complete with frozen yogurt machine. The playwright then lets his imagination run riot, imagining the need for the mall to have a clerk.

Enter Urie as Alex More, a struggling actor from Wisconsin, who applies and gets the job without initially knowing he's signed up to dust and watch over Streisand's endless amounts of expensive stuff.

"The relentless good taste combined with the total lack of financial constraint was overwhelming," he says. "I felt like a fly being swatted with back issues of Architectural Digest. The really thick ones."

Regular folk having a brush with fame has already been the subject of Craig Lucas' gentle comedy "The Lying Lesson," in which a mysterious woman who visits a Maine town turns out to be Bette Davis.

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