Michael Urie talks Streisand and “Buyer and Cellar”
Michael Urie is on a national tour of the Off-Broadway sensation Buyer and Cellar that will eventually make it to Los Angeles and that I will definitely want to see.
In a new interview with Metro Weekly, Urie describes the play this way: “I would describe it as a completely fictional tale about a completely fake person who works in the absolutely real basement mall at Barbra Streisand’s house.”
The 33-year-old actually portrays the diva in a few scenes: “I watched all the movies and all the interviews and, of course, I listened to a lot of the albums, especially the concert albums where she talks as herself. It’s a recent Barbra, a modern Barbra that we needed. The play basically takes place in 2010, when the book came out. It’s not young Barbra, it’s now Barbra. It’s late-60s Barbra. It’s Roz Focker. That movie, Meet The Fockers, which she’s in with Dustin Hoffman, that was the most helpful to me. But I then also added whimsical elements from her early work like The Owl and the Pussycat and Funny Girl and What’s Up, Doc? — I needed that whimsical Barbra. The sort-of serious, smart Barbra, the Prince of Tides Barbra, the interview Barbra, that wasn’t as helpful. Because she’s very serious in interviews for the most part. But she’s silly in movies, and I needed a silly Barbra to find my Barbra for the show. So the old movies and the new movies were the most helpful.”
The play had originally been written for Jesse Tyler Ferguson.
“Jesse loved it but couldn’t commit to it, because of his Modern Family schedule … That stupid fool. [Laughs.]
Urie wasn’t out publicly when he started on Ugly Betty but was by season three. He says, if anything, it has helped his career.
“I play all these gay parts. I’ve done Angels in America and The Temperamentals and Buyer and Cellar. I was in this movie Petunia and this new movie Such Good People. I’ve just had a lot of jobs because I’m out. And not to mention getting to work with great organizations like the Point Foundation. And the Trevor Project.”
BONUS VIDEO: Streisand gives a tour of her home and at the 7:40 mark, we see the basement mall that inspired the play: