Christopher J. Hanke in “Buyer & Cellar” (photo: Joan Marcus via The Broadway Blog).
In an episode of Will & Grace, Will gives some helpful advice to Karen’s recently outed cousin Barry: “Liza, Judy, Barbara, Bette, these are names I shan’t forget.” There’s a reason and Barbra, with her volcanic vibrato, always stood out. Just ask anyone who saw her star turns in I Can Get It for You Wholesale and Funny Girl. Five decades later, she returns to the New York stage (well, sort of) in Jonathan Tolins’ crowd-pleaser Buyer & Cellar at the Barrow Street Theatre. Taking over for “Ugly Betty” actor Michael Urie, Christopher J. Hanke jumps into the role of Alex, the out of work L.A. actor who lands a gig working in Barbra Streisand’s basement mall, with total abandon. Hanke dished between shows about his career, the challenge of a one-man show, typecasting and his journey with Babs.
Christopher J. Hanke: Sorry, I’m in the lobby of a hotel in Manhattan trying to find a charger and a outlet, like you do when you’re running around Manhattan. I look like a homeless person… So, did you see the show?
Marcus Scott: Yes, I did. You were terrific.
CJH: Thank you. Jonathan Tolins is a comedic genius and I am just so honored to say his words.
MS: Were you familiar with Jonathan’s work before taking on the role?
CJH: I knew he was a TV writer from his work on the sitcom “Partners” that Michael Urie was on because I tested for it. I was down to the very last wire for the part that Brandon Routh ended up playing.
MS: You and Michael Urie have mingled various times professionally. Not long ago, he took over a role you originated—Bud Frump in the recent Broadway revival of How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying—and now you’re taking over for a role he originated Off-Broadway.
Keep reading over at The Broadway Blog…