Jonathan Tolins

The Buyer, the Cellar, and Babs

James Sharinghousen pulls triple duty in a comedy about an out-of-work actor, his boyfriend, and Barbra Streisand's personal shopping mall

Buyer and Cellar, now ringing up sales at Triangle Productions, is a sharp and poignant celebration of gay culture and one of its divas, the fab Babs. The story isn’t based upon actual events, but most of the background is true.

Actor James Sharinghousen takes us winningly on a 90-minute ride of snarky observations, money struggles, and a clawing ascent toward intimacy. He juggles playing three different characters – a down-and-out struggling actor, a frustrated film producer, and Barbra Streisand – in a tale as strange and alluring as, well, Hollywood.

James Sharinghousen, pulling triple duty. Photo: David Kinder/kinderpics

James Sharinghousen, pulling triple duty. Photo: David Kinder/kinderpics

Alex More is the hero of the play, a burnt-out, unemployed actor who’s too nice to succeed in the Hollywood racket. Between endless and fruitless auditions, he’s taken the odd retail and amusement-park character jobs. His drama studies in Chicago should’ve propped him up for success. Instead he’s honed customer-service skills to pay the rent and get bread on the table. Alex wants to live in a world where you make good art and people appreciate it. Never mind the brutal competition and critics. His naiveté sets him back in the job market, but puts him ahead in the heart department.

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