Fierstein, a Broadway favorite, is handing his slippers to Michael McKean, who begins the role of Baltimore hausfrau Edna Turnblad on May 4. Like mother, like daughter, Kathy Brier will also exit Hairspray May 2, with Carly Jibson taking over May 4.
Brier plays Tracy Turnblad, the Baltimore teen who changes the face of local TV forever when she promotes integration on a dance show. She also falls in love and gets her mother, Edna, a fantastic makeover. Marissa Jaret Winokur originated the role. The smash musical comedy is based on the movie by director-writer John Waters.
Michael McKean is widely known for such films as "This Is Spinal Tap" and "A Mighty Wind" (to say nothing of his turn as Lenny in TV's "Laverne and Shirley"). Jibson created the role of Tracy in the national tour of Hairspray..
Brier recently received a Daytime Emmy Award nomination for her role on ABC-TV's "One Life to Live." She'll continue on the serial and appear as a recurring character on Playhouse Disney's "Jo Jo's Circus," for which she provides the voice of Babalulu.
Fierstein won the 2003 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for playing the expansive role of scolding Edna, whose mind is opened up when her daughter seeks to dance on local TV. Dressed as a woman, but purposely avoiding camp, Fierstein has said he didn't view Edna as a drag role but as a character. "Timeless to Me," an Act Two duet between Edna and hubby Wilbur (played by Dick Latessa), in a front-of-curtain exercise in musical comedy pastiche, has been viewed as one of the high points of the Jack O'Brien-directed show. The score is by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman. Fierstein told the "Today" program that he only missed half a performance since the show began in summer 2002.
Among his projects is a Broadway revival of La Cage aux Folles, for which he wrote the libretto, beginning rehearsals in September.
Fierstein is also Tony-winner for the play, Torch Song Trilogy, in which he starred. The DVD of the film version gets released May 4.