Monday, December 9, 2013

Barbra and I Have Been to the Inspiring Winterthur

Looking for a great weekend getaway from NYC? Then jump into a car right now and drive roughly two hours to Brandywine Valley. Do what I did several years ago. Sleep at the beautiful Inn at Monchanin. Stroll at Longwood Gardens. Taste at Chaddsford Winery. Stare at Brandywine River Museum. And most of all, tour at Winterthur - the du Pont residence now museum housing 90,000 Americana objects. A trip to Brandywine and Winterthur will inspire anyone... even Barbra Streisand, who writes in her book My Passion for Design:
I spent two days at was eye opening.

Now, if you haven't jumped into your car and you're still reading this post (thank you by the way!), you are probably wondering what the heck does Brandywine and Winterthur have to do with the theater? Well, let's get back to My Passion for Design, where Mrs. Streisand writes the following about the basement at her fabulous Malibu estate: 
Why not do a street of shops like I had seen at Winterthur? In one section of the museum, they recreated all these little stores...a china shop, a country store...just the way they would have looked in the early 1800s. And then they used them to display various collections. Wouldn't it be fun to do something similar?
And that is exactly what Mrs. Streisand does (it must be nice to have an estimated net worth of $300+ million). She created a shopping mall in her basement - comprised of Bee's Doll Shop, a sweet shop with frozen yogurt and popcorn, an antique shop and a gift shop. 

When playwright Jonathan Tolins read this, he became completely enthralled with the idea and wrote what would become one of the top Off Broadway's plays of the year - Buyer & Cellar. He imagines what it would be like to work in Barbra's basement shopping mall and Michael Urie brings this solo work to life. The clever comedy has been a hit with Barbra and non-Barbra fans like me and was recently extended...AGAIN.  

Buyer & Cellar plays through January 2014 at Barrow Street Theater.

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