Michael Urie to Star in Revival of Harvey Fierstein’s Torch Song Trilogy

Off-Broadway News   Michael Urie to Star in Revival of Harvey Fierstein’s Torch Song Trilogy
 
Moisés Kaufman will direct a newly edited version titled Torch Song, to debut in New York this fall.
Michael Urie and Harvey Fierstein
Michael Urie and Harvey Fierstein

Second Stage Theatre has announced that it will stage a 35th anniversary production of Harvey Fierstein’s Torch Song Trilogy this fall starring Buyer & Cellar’s Michael Urie as Arnold Beckoff. Fierstein has provided director Moisés Kaufman with a newly edited text; the revival will be titled simply Torch Song.

<i>Torch Song Trilogy</i> was adapted into a 1988 film starring Fierstein.
Torch Song Trilogy was adapted into a 1988 film starring Fierstein.

Torch Song is set to begin previews September 26 and will officially open in late October at Off-Broadway's Tony Kiser Theatre. Additional casting and a complete creative team will be announced at a later date.

“’Thirty-five years?’ I thought, ‘It’s time!’ I’m thrilled that Second Stage Theatre will be reviving Torch Song Trilogy next season,” commented Fierstein in a press statement. “In conversation, I’ve been encouraging director Moisés Kaufman to look at the play with fresh eyes. I would never think of rewriting the plays but have given him a newly edited text that re-conceives the way I want the story told. Theatre is a living breathing entity and so are audiences. Even the most faithful stage recreations are tinted by the moment in which they are experienced. I’ve asked [2ST artistic director] Carole Rothman to call the evening simply, Torch Song, and let’s see what truths we can preserve, what histories we can rediscover and what futures we can forge together. Living theatre has always been my life’s goal.”

“On a winter night in 1982 a friend brought me to see a play at the Actor’s Playhouse that turned out to be one of the most human, hilarious, and heartbreaking nights I’d spent in the theatre. The play was Torch Song Trilogy,” added Rothman. “And while I knew I was watching something extremely special, I had no idea how groundbreaking this play would become for generations of theatregoers and, ultimately, for Broadway. It is a significant honor to bring this landmark play back to New York City and I thank Harvey for entrusting it to Second Stage.”

After an acclaimed Off-Broadway debut, Torch Song Trilogy opened on Broadway in June 1982 and played an award-winning three-year engagement at the Little Theatre (now the Helen Hayes Theatre). Fierstein played the lead role of Arnold Beckoff, a gay drag performer in a tempestuous relationship with his bisexual, closeted lover. The play won Fierstein two Tony awards—both as playwright (for Best Play) and for Best Actor. It was produced throughout the country and also turned into a film in 1988 starring Fierstein, Matthew Broderick, and Anne Bancroft.

“It’s 1979 in New York City and Arnold Beckoff is on a quest for love, purpose and family,“ read 2ST production notes. “He’s fierce in drag and fearless in crisis, and he won’t stop until he achieves the life he desires as a doting husband and a Jewish mother. Now, Arnold is back...and he’s here to sing you a torch song. The Tony-winning play that forever changed the trajectory of Broadway returns for a new generation.“

Fierstein is also set to return to the Off-Broadway stage in the world premiere of Martin Sherman’s Gently Down the Stream at the Public Theater, directed by Sean Mathias. Fierstein will play Beau, a pianist expat living in London who meets an eccentric young lawyer at the dawn of the internet dating revolution.

For subscription and ticket information, visit 2ST.com or call the Second Stage Box Office at (212) 246-4422.

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