New Jersey Stage
New Jersey Stage on social media


Did you know NJ Stage offers FREE Event Listings? Nearly 100,000 listings were viewed in January. Be sure to add your events to our calendar and get your shows noticed!

REVIEW: Buyer & Cellar

By Gary Wien

originally published: 03/09/2015

REVIEW: Buyer & Cellar

(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) — If you’re a regular patron to shows at George Street Playhouse, you might be taken aback by the set for Buyer & Cellar.  Instead of the lavish sets you are accustomed to, you’ll notice a set that’s very plain and bare.  It is designed this way because Buyer & Cellar lives more in the audience’s imagination than on stage.  And your host is John Tartaglia, someone born to play this role.

There’s inspired casting and there’s casting that makes you wonder how a role could be performed by anyone else.  That’s the feeling I had after watching Buyer & Cellar.  Tartaglia is simply fantastic in a role that utilizes his strengths very well.  He’s best known from the original cast of the hit Avenue Q and his work on "Sesame Street".  In Buyer & Cellar he portrays Alex More, a gay actor on a journey into the world of working for Barbra Streisand… in her basement.

It’s not an ordinary basement mind you.  No, Barbra has collected many, many items over the years and designed her basement to serve as a shopping mall full of stores showcasing her goods.  It’s a place she visits often.  Tartaglia is hired to run her stores, serving as shopkeeper and using his improvisational skills as an actor to help Barbra’s pretend world feel more real.

As the play begins, Tartaglia reminds everyone that the play is entirely a work of fiction, he’s an actor, and the only real aspect of the play is Barbra’s book My Passion for Design, which details the shops in her basement that the play is based upon.  Alex admits that he wasn’t that much of a Streisand fan before taking the job, but understood that being a fan was part of his birthright as a gay man.  “I felt about Barbra the way the Jews feel about the Seder… and Barbra” he says.

His boyfriend, however, was a huge fan.  I say “was” because one of the main storylines in the play is a lover’s triangle of sorts between Barbra, Alex, and his boyfriend.  As Alex and Barbra become closer and closer, his boyfriend begins to get jealous.  In the end, Alex is forced to choose between his job working in the basement for a celebrity and his boyfriend.



The article continues after this ad

 


What’s great about Buyer & Cellar is that it doesn’t matter if you’re a fan of Barbra Streisand or not, you’ll still enjoy the play.  Die-hard fans might enjoy a few inside jokes more than non-fans, but basically the play is a look at how wealth may buy items but it doesn’t cure loneliness.  She could be any extremely wealthy person and most of the jokes would still work.  She’s someone who not only has enough money to collect items to fill a shopping mall, but wealthy enough to hire someone to work in that mall for exactly one customer - herself.

As warned, the job soon became less exciting than it first sounded.  “It was thrilling for a minute than it got really old, really fast,” said Alex.  “And quiet.”

It was so quiet he could hear the popcorn and yogurt machines all day long as he went from store to store dusting the items and making sure they were placed in appropriate places.  Tartaglia is hilarious in a scene in which Barbra finds a doll she loves in the doll store and tries to haggle with Alex on the price.  He refuses to budget, over and over again for several days until Barbra returns with a coupon that just happens to knock the price down to her original bid.

Tartaglia doesn’t try to imitate Barbra’s actual voice, but gives her a distinct vocal stamp.  He also voices Alex's boyfriend, the woman who works for Barbra that hired Alex, and James Brolin (Barbra’s husband).  The voices are all extremely well done and help give this one-man play several well defined characters.

Buyer & Cellar is 90 minutes of non-stop one liners done in rapid style.  It’s a hilarious look at the insecurities and fantasies of someone that is able to create their own world.  As Alex learns, no world is truly perfect though no matter how hard you try to make it.

Written by Jonathan Tolins and wonderfully directed by David Saint, Buyer & Cellar runs now through March 29 at George Street Playhouse, 9 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ.

REVIEW: Buyer & Cellar




For more by this author, click here






Circle Players Presents "After The Revolution"
(PISCATAWAY, NJ) -- Circle Players presents After the Revolution by Amy Herzog, weekends from February 1st to February 17th. The production is directed by Alicia Harabin. In the play, Emma Joseph is a bright, hard-working, law school graduate continuing her family’s business of fighting for progressive ideals. 
Black Box PAC Presents "Significant Other"
(TEANECK, NJ) -- Black Box PAC's first main stage show of 2019 is Significant Other by Joshua Harmon. BBPAC is no stranger to Harmon’s work, as one of the first hits at the Black Box Performing Arts Center was Harmon’s hit Bad Jews. Significant Other follows the perpetually single Jordan Berman and his trio of girl friends as they navigate dating, relationships, and supporting those you love. Performances run from January 24 to February 10th.
The Theater Project Presents 5th Annual One-Act Play Competition
(MAPLEWOOD, NJ) -- Which play will be voted Audience Favorite – the romance, the thriller, or the comedy?  And which author will take the $500 Judge’s Award?
Dreamcatcher Presents World Premiere of "Psychodrama"
(SUMMIT, NJ) -- Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre will present the World Premiere of Psychodrama by Montclair playwright Phoebe Farber. This seriocomedy unfolds in a divorce support group where a new leader introduces unorthodox methods that just might work. Psychodrama runs February 14-March 3.
Centenary Stage Presents Henrik Ibsen's "Enemy Of The People"
(HACKETTSTOWN, NJ) -- Randall Duk Kim and Anne Occhiogrosso headline Centenary Stage Company’s production of Henrik Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People, February 15 through March 3 in the Sitnik Theatre of the Lackland Performing Arts Center, Hackettstown, New Jersey. Adapted by John Alan Wyatt and directed by Anne Occhiogrosso, the production will feature Randall Duk Kim as Doctor Thomas Stockmann supported by an acting company of professional and local talent from the tri-state area and Centenary University. The full-scale production marks the culmination of the 2018 Gates Ferry Lecture Series: “What is Truth?”


Emmy-Winning South Oranger, Andre Braugher
​​​​​​​“I’m Andre Braugher and I’m here at the South Orange Performing Arts Center, SOPAC, rehearsing a new play by Julia Doolittle called ‘Tell Them I’m Still Young.’”
Laiona Michelle Talks About "Little Girl Blue: The Nina Simone Musical"
This might be the right time for Nina Simone—15 years after her death. That’s what Laiona Michelle thinks, and, in a way, Michelle will be testing that idea by bringing the singer-activist to life in a world-premiere musical show at George Street Playhouse. Michelle wrote the show—“Little Girl Blue: The Nina Simone Musical”—and she will appear in the title role at the New Brunswick theater from January 29 through February 24.
It's "Apple Season" at NJ Rep
Every family has stories. Some are funny. Some are sweet. Some are sad. And some are never shared. Those are often the most powerful.
Rise of the Goatman
Theater For The New City presents Beltsville/Rockville, Part 1: Rise of the Goatman, an original play by Englewood resident Matt Okin (Artistic Director of Black Box Studios), from December 27 through January 13. In this pseudo-Southern Gothic dark comedy, a vibrant group of teens from two very different suburban neighborhoods clash over class differences, drugs, and sex - and the existence of the legendary ‘Goatman’ in 1986. Cut to 2013, and the adolescent kids of those very same teens are struggling to make sense of their family histories - and the same “mythological” creature - that could be holding them back in life.
PHOTOS from "The Winter's Tale" at Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey
(MADISON, NJ) -- The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey’s concludes its 56th season with its sixth and final Main Stage production, The Winter's Tale. Last seen at The Shakespeare Theatre in 2008, Artistic Director Bonnie J. Monte directs this production of Shakespeare’s tragicomedic romance. Veteran company members Jacqueline Antaramian, Jon Barker, Erin Partin, John Keabler, Raphael Nash Thompson,Seamus Mulcahy, Patrick Toon, and Ames Adamson are among a cast of 20 actors. Performances run now through December 30. 






Event calendar
Tuesday, Jan 22, 2019

Sorry, no events listed for today.
Here are some upcoming events.


2019-01-23
Rechnitz Halls DiMattio Gallery, Monmouth University @ 10:00am
West Long Branch

2019-01-23
Pollak Theatre @ Monmouth University @ 7:30pm
West Long Branch

2019-01-24
New Jersey Repertory Company @ 8:00pm
Long Branch








 






















For more on our awards, click here








New Jersey Stage © 2019 by Wine Time Media, LLC | PO Box 140, Spring Lake, NJ 07762 (732) 280-7625 | info@newjerseystage.com

Images used on this site have been sent to us from publicists, artists, and PR firms.
If there is a problem with the rights to any image, please contact us and we will look into the matter.