BUYER & CELLAR Play. The one man show on what makes Barbra Streisand

People in my social circle laugh that I am a fan of Barbra Streisand, because I’m a straight, sports crazed man’s man who doesn’t fit into the Streisand demographic. All I can say that she’s funny whenever she appears in a comedy (watch her in the underrated What’s up Doc?). Realistic whenever she’s in a drama. She directed two very good films, and one okay film (it’s up to you to figure out what film is which). And she can make every single song she sings her own. And I mean every single song. I don’t think there is anyone else in the world who can do that.

Give Barbra a song, a couple of weeks, and no matter who sang it before, you’ll forget about any interpretation of that song when she begins to perform it and only remember hers. She’s that much of an original.

That’s essentially what this play is all about. What makes Barbra, Barbra. And having a gay man perform in a one man show for two hours with a setting about how he works all alone in Barbra Streisand’s shopping mall basement waiting for his only costumer is how we come to this conclusion.

Without giving anything away, one of the last things star Christopher J. Hanke does in the play is stick his arms to his sides and twirl around in a circle. That’s his space. And that’s always Barbra’s space. She takes care of herself as much as she can and doesn’t let anything clash with her space. And if it does, she removes it.

So Barbra is a relatively happy super-successful person who has gotten the best out of herself…and then some. Is she a perfectionist? Yes. Eccentric? Yes. A bit crazy? Yes. But that’s what you have to do to take care of yourself at all costs, protect your space and make sure that no one gets inside who doesn’t belong.

Our main character sits in the basement like a prop until Barbra needs him. And that’s who she is. This is a woman who has always been herself – and that’s what makes her legendary. There’s a lot we can learn from Barbra. How many of us can say that we’re always ourselves? Barbra is. And that’s why people respond to her so much and that’s what has made her a successful singer, performer, movie star actress, writer, and director.

Solid one man show play written by Jonathan Tolins. Thanks to my friend WB for giving me the tickets.

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