Scolari is taking over for Hairspray Tony Award winner Dick Latessa, who originated the role of devoted father and husband Wilbur Turnblad, purveyor of novelty items. Wilbur is married to girthy Edna Turnblad, played by Michael McKean in a housecoat.
Latessa, who won a 2003 Tony for Best Featured Actor in a Musical for Hairspray, exited the show Aug. 1, having danced with both McKean and Tony-winner Harvey Fierstein in the show.
In fall 2003, Scolari stepped into Hairspray during a leave by Latessa. Scolari's last day in Sly Fox was Aug. 1 (81-year-old Larry Storch takes over his Fox role Aug. 3 at the Barrymore).
The Arthur Penn-helmed Sly Fox staging has been enjoying crowded houses, and producers recently announced a new principal cast. In the revival of the Larry Gelbart comedy, Scolari played the lascivious Chief of Police. In Bronson Pinchot's absence, Scolari took over the role of Lawyer Craven (with Gordon Joseph Weiss playing The Chief of Police).
In Sly Fox, the impish Scolari was embraced by the audience for a brief — and shocking turn — in Act Two.
Scolari is a four-time Emmy Award nominee for "Newhart," and first came to national attention in a drag role on TV's "Bosom Buddies" opposite Tom Hanks. He starred as Mercury in the Encores! revival of Cole Porter's Out of This World and is heard on the concert cast recording.