HARVEY FIERSTEIN (Playwright, Kinky Boots) is the author of the current smash hit Newsies as well as Torch Song Trilogy (Tony®, Drama Desk, and OBIE Awards), La Cage aux Folles (Tony® and Drama Desk Awards), The Sissy Duckling (Humanitas Award), A Catered Affair (12 Drama Desk nominations), Safe Sex (Ace Award), Legs Diamond, Spookhouse, Flatbush Tosca, Common Ground, and more. His political editorials have been published in The New York Times, TV Guide, The Huffington Post, and broadcast on PBS’s “In the Life”. His children’s book, The Sissy Duckling, is now in its fifth printing. As an actor, Mr. Fierstein is known worldwide for his performances in films like Mrs. Doubtfire and Independence Day, and on stage in Hairspray (Tony Award®), Fiddler on the Roof, La Cage aux Folles, Torch Song Trilogy (Tony Award®), and TV shows such as “Smash,” “How I Met Your Mother,” “The Good Wife,” “Cheers” (Emmy nomination), “The Simpsons,” and “Nurse Jackie.”
Acclaimed originally for his groundbreaking writing and performance in his 1981 Torch Song Trilogy, Harvey Fierstein has refined and redefined the persona of the drag queen in the theater. Two years later, Fierstein brought that insight and humor into his book for the musical adaptation of La Cage aux Folles. As Frank Rich wrote in the New York Times, this “is the first Broadway musical ever to give center stage to a homosexual love affair – but don’t go expecting an earthquake. The show at the Palace is the schmaltziest, most old-fashioned major musical Broadway has seen since ‘Annie,’ and it’s likely to be just as popular with children of all ages.”
Fierstein subsequently wrote the book for Legs Diamond (1988) with music and lyrics by Peter Allen, who also starred in the show. He did not return to Broadway until 2002, when he took on the role of Edna Turnblad in the musical adaptation of Hairspray (book by Mark O’Donnell and Thomas Meehan; music by Marc Shaiman; lyrics by Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman). According to Ben Brantley, Fierstein’s performance as Edna “is not just a cross-dressing sight gag. She’s every forgotten housewife, recreated in monumental proportions and waiting for something to tap her hidden magnificence.”
After playing Tevye in the 2004 revival of Fiddler on the Roof, Harvey Fierstein wrote the book and starred in the 2008 musical, A Catered Affair. As a writer and actor, Fierstein has won three Drama Desk Awards and four Tonys®, most recently for his portrayal of Edna in Hairspray.