Christopher J. Hanke Will Succeed Michael Urie in Buyer & Cellar Off-Broadway

By Adam Hetrick
20 Feb 2014

Christopher J. Hanke
Christopher J. Hanke

Christopher J. Hanke, who last appeared on the New York stage in the Broadway revival of How to Succeed..., will take over for Michael Urie in the hit Off-Broadway solo comedy Buyer & Cellar, beginning March 18 at the Barrow Street Theatre.

Written by Jonathan Tolins, Buyer & Cellar officially opened Off-Broadway June 24, 2013, after previews that began June 18 at the Barrow Street Theatre. Read reviews of the play here.

Urie ("Ugly Betty," Angels in America, The Temperamentals), who created the role, currently stars as Alex, an out-of-work actor who lands a gig working in Barbra Streisand's basement. He will exit the New York production March 16 to star in the national tour of Buyer & Cellar, beginning May 6 in Chicago.

Initial tour engagements for Buyer & Cellar follow: Chicago, IL (May 6-June 15 at the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place); Washington, D.C. (June 20-29 at the Harman Center for the Arts); and Los Angeles, CA (July 9-Aug. 17 at the Mark Taper Forum).



A Toronto engagement, scheduled for Nov. 12-30, will play the Panasonic Theatre. Casting for the Canadian premiere has not been determined.

Hanke will be seen in the upcoming HBO premiere of Larry Kramer's "The Normal Heart." He has appeared on Broadway in Cry-Baby, In My Life and Rent. His screen credits also include "The Client List," "Major Crimes," "Big Love" and "Brothers and Sisters."

Stephen Brackett directs the production, which is billed this way: "Alex More has a story to tell. A struggling actor in L.A., he takes a job working in the Malibu basement of a beloved mega-superstar. One day, the Lady Herself comes downstairs to play. It feels like real bonding in the basement, but will their relationship ever make it upstairs? Buyer & Cellar is an outrageous comedy about the price of fame, the cost of things, and the oddest of odd jobs."

Read the Playbill Playlist feature with Urie in which the actor shares his favorite Streisand songs and performances. 

Tolins is perhaps best known as the playwright of The Twilight of the Golds (Broadway), If Memory Serves (Promenade Theater), The Last Sunday in June (Rattlestick and Century Center) and Secrets of the Trade (Primary Stages). He co-wrote the films "The Twilight of the Golds" and "Martian Child." He was a consulting producer on the recent CBS comedy "Partners" and was a co-producer on the first season of "Queer As Folk" on Showtime.

Urie's New York theatre credits include How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying (Broadway), The Cherry Orchard (Classic Stage Company), Angels in America (Signature), The Temperamentals (Lucille Lortel, Drama Desk, and Theatre World Awards, Drama League nomination), The Revenger's Tragedy (Red Bull) and Another Vermeer (HB Playwrights). He is widely known for TV's "Partners" and as Marc St. James on "Ugly Betty."

The set design for Buyer & Cellar is by Andrew Boyce; costume design is by Jessica Pabst; lighting design is by Eric Southern; sound design is by Stowe Nelson. The production stage manager is Hannah Woodward; the assistant stage manager is Sam Horwith.

Tickets may be purchased by phoning (212) 868-4444 or by visiting smarttix.com. The Barrow Street Theatre is located at 27 Barrow Street. For more information visit buyerandcellar.com.

Here's a look at the show: