Buyer & Cellar

Living Large with Barbra Streisand

Playwright Jonathan Tolins

Playwright Jonathan Tolins

Jonathan Tolins, creator of the hit comedy Buyer and Cellar, gives us insight on building a fictional playground in the personal shopping mall in Barbra Streisand’s basement. Why, you might ask, would he create something so bizarre? Well…why not?


Q: What inspired you to create Buyer and Cellar?

A: My husband brought home a copy of My Passion for Design from our local library.  We saw the basement mall and I joked, “How’d you like to be the guy who works down there?”  Something about the idea stuck.

Q: Where did you get your research about Barbra Streisand, outside of her book My Passion for Design?

A: I did read a biography of Barbra.  I also fell into some intense Google holes.  But I also just talked to friends of mine who are fans (or detractors).  I’ve been watching Barbra and hearing about Barbra my whole life.  So part of the research was just collecting all the great stories and details I could remember.

Nick Cearley stars in ETC's production of Buyer and Cellar

Nick Cearley stars in ETC’s production of Buyer and Cellar

Q: Which of Barbra’s basement shops would interest you the most to visit?

A: I think the dress shop because it has the most important memorabilia from her career.  I’m less interested in the things she’s bought.

Q: If you could spend a day with Barbra, what would you want to do?

A: We’d sit in her family room on the big comfy couches and eat a lot.  That way she’d be at ease (or as close as she ever is) and I could get her to tell me everything.

Q: Describe Buyer and Cellar in a few short words.

A: The craziest idea I ever had.

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