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Thursday, September 24, 2015

Theater Project to present BUYER AND CELLAR, play inspired by Barbra Streisand’s basement!



There’s a shopping mall in Barbra Streisand’s basement. At least, that’s what it says in her book, MY PASSION FOR DESIGN. But don’t fly out to California for a celebrity shopping spree – this mall has only one customer, and her name is Barbra. Apparently, her design passion includes creating an entire set of basement shops that allow her to display her collectibles for … herself?

This is one of many revelations in her book, and the one that inspired playwright Jonathan Tolins to write BUYER AND CELLAR, a hit in New York and New Brunswick, and now being produced by The Theater Project in Maplewood, NJ.

Tolins’ play imagines a young out-of-work actor fortunate enough to get the dream job of keeping Barbra’s private emporium organized and ready for its only customer –- but can he resist the temptation to audition for her? Get career advice? Ask for a raise? It’s not an easy task for a star-struck young actor, especially when his friends are wondering whether he can maintain his sanity pretending that Boss Barbra is a just a customer and he is a store clerk ready to sell her her own possessions -– that’s the real acting challenge.

Jason Gillis (photo right) is more than ready to take on the challenge of this one-man show, in which he plays the Jason Gillisactor story-teller and all the people he encounters “down below” including the great one herself. A year ago, Jason played ten characters in The Theater Project’s production of MRS. MANNERLY. New to New Jersey, Jason has been acting steadily with area companies since graduating from Kean University. When he is not acting or dancing, Jason is the Education Program Manager at Paper Mill Playhouse.

The production is directed by David Christopher, who has been acting and directing in New Jersey theaters for over 40 years, playing leading roles and directing musicals, comedies, and dramas, most recently with Alliance Repertory Theater and Dreamcatcher Theater, both in Summit.

BUYER AND CELLAR is the final production of THREE PLAYS IN THREE WEEKS, an entire season of entertainment delivered in less than one month by The Theater Project, the professional theater company at the Burgdorff Center in Maplewood.

The Theater Project, an award-winning company celebrating 22 years, presents its main stage season at the Burgdorff Center in Maplewood. It also offers programs, such as workshops and presentations with professional playwrights, and classes for kids in theater, juggling and music, in Cranford, Maplewood and Union. For information, visit:


PHOTO: Jason Gillis plays all the parts in BUYER AND CELLAR; photo credit: Elisabeth Lynch

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