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Harvey Fierstein reprises 'Hairspray' at Hollywood Bowl

July 30, 2011 |  8:00 am

Harvey FiersteinHarvey Fierstein is back in Los Angeles for the first time in many years, and he's headed for the Hollywood Bowl. There, for three nights starting Friday, the Tony-winning actor and playwright reprises his much-honored performance in the musical “Hairspray.”

For about 1,000 times now, Fierstein has wedged himself into the full-figured fat suit that turns him into Baltimore hausfrau Edna Turnblad, the oversized, reclusive laundress played by cult actor Divine in the 1988 John Waters film and, later, John Travolta in the 2007 film musical.

Inhabiting Edna brought Fierstein his fourth Tony Award in 2003. His onstage daughter Marissa Jaret Winokur — who will be joining him at the Bowl — also received a Tony, and “Hairspray” won six more, including best musical.

Gravelly voiced, uninhibited Fierstein has come a long way since his first professional acting job had him playing, as a teenager, “an asthmatic lesbian maid.” He won 1983 Tony Awards as both playwright and actor for his first major play, “Torch Song Trilogy,” and in 1984 he received another Tony for the libretto of the musical “La Cage aux Folles.” In recent years, Fierstein has also played Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof” twice — on Broadway and on tour — and earlier this year concluded several weeks performing in “La Cage.”

We spoke with him by phone from his home in what he describes as “a small fictional town in Connecticut.”

Read a conversation with Harvey Fierstein.


Making musicals fit on Hollywood Bowl's stage

--Barbara Isenberg

Photo: Harvey Fierstein. Credit: Kirk McKoy/Los Angeles Times