"I have never done a musical before and I have never dressed like a woman before, but there is a first time for everything," Pinette said on www.johnpinette.com. "This opportunity is too good to pass up. I will be on the road with Hairspray for six months beginning in September. I hope I can learn how to dance in high heels. For that matter, I hope I can learn how to dance!"
After a DVD of his comedy show is recorded Aug. 5-8 at the Improv in Tempe, AZ, he begins rehearsals for the smash, Tony Award-winning musical comedy by Thomas Meehan, Mark O'Donnell, Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman.
Pinette will take over for Bruce Vilanch, who launched the touring company in 2003. Keala Settle continues as chunky daughter Tracy Turnblad on the road (though for the Los Angeles run starting July 20 Tony Award-winner Marissa Jaret Winokur steps in).
Talk in the theatre community has Vilanch coming to Broadway in the fall, but no announcement of that has been made. Michael McKean plays Edna at Broadway's Neil Simon Theatre.
A spokesperson for the tour confirmed Pinette will start a six-month road run starting Sept. 7 at the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle, where Hairspray played its tryout in summer 2002 before Tony Award glory in spring 2003. Pinette was named Stand-Up Comedian of the Year by the American Comedy Awards in 1999 and received a Gemini Award nomination for his televised performance at The Montreal Comedy Festival in 2000.
He was born outside of Boston. According to his bio, when he learned he could make a living making people laugh he quit his life as an accountant and began a comedy career, eventually touring comedy clubs around the country.
He got his big break when he was asked to tour with Frank Sinatra.
Pinette's acting credits include "Duets" starring Gwenyth Paltrow, "Dear God" starring Greg Kinnear and "Junior" starring Arnold Schwarzeneger, and TV's "Parker Lewis Can't Lose," the final episode of "Seinfeld." He also appears in the 2004 picture, "The Punisher."
He recorded a comedy CD, "Show Me the Buffet," and often exploits his overweight state for his comedy.