Hairspray Likely to Close in January; Fierstein Will Return

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02 Oct 2008

Current <I>Hairspray</i> star George Wendt.
Current Hairspray star George Wendt.
Photo by Paul Kolnik
Hairspray, the Tony Award-winning hit Broadway musical, is expected to close in mid-January 2009, but not before welcoming back the Mother of All Ednas — Harvey Fierstein.

Playbill.com has learned that Fierstein — who won a 2003 Tony Award as Best Actor in a Musical for playing Edna Turnblad, the mama of a portly Baltimore dreamer named Tracy — would return to the Neil Simon Theatre between November and mid-January to give the smash a colorful sendoff.

It's not hard to guess that Fierstein's presence (and the announcement that the show is in its final months) is expected to re-ignite the box office and that the show just might stay on fire into the spring — or even beyond. (The closing notice of Rent excited theatregoers and prompted an extension beyond the first planned closing date.)

A spokesman for Hairspray told Playbill.com Oct. 2 that an official announcement about the show's future is imminent.

The musical comedy based on the John Waters film comedy of the same name won the 2003 Tony Award for Best Musical. Jack O'Brien directed (and won a Tony for it), Jerry Mitchell choreographed.



The libretto is by Mark O'Donnell and Thomas Meehan, who won the Best Book Tony for their work. The Tony-winning score is by Marc Shaiman (music and lyrics) and Scott Wittman (lyrics).

The long-running show got an extra shot in the arm in recent years with fresh casting; TV star George Wendt is the current Edna, and pop stars have danced into the show in the juvenile-lead roles. Extra attention due to the 2007 release of the movie version of the Broadway show also helped. You loved the movie, the thinking went, so why not see it live? John Travolta starred as Edna in the film; Divine created the role in the non-musical first film that inspired Shaiman, Wittman and the others.

Hairspray is also a huge hit in London at the moment, with Michael Ball playing Edna. That production recouped its investment in 22 weeks.

The current Broadway cast features Constantine Rousouli as Link Larkin; Charlotte Crossley as Motormouth Maybelle; Kate Loprest as Amber; Marissa Perry as Tracy Turnblad; George Wendt as Edna Turnblad; Karen Mason as Velma Von Tussle; Tevin Campbell as Seaweed J. Stubbs; Ken Marks as Wilbur Turnblad; Kevin Meaney as Male Authority Figure; Susan Mosher as Female Authority Figure; Naturi Naughton as Inez; Niki Scalera as Penny Pingleton; and Clarke Thorell as Corny Collins.

Hairspray is about a plus-size girl who breaks barriers on local TV in the 1960s.

Hairspray celebrated its sixth anniversary on Broadway in August 2008. It won eight 2003 Tony Awards.

For ticket information phone Ticketmaster at (212) 307-4100 or for group sales, phone (212) 302-7000 or (800) 677-1164.

For more information visit www.hairsprayonbroadway.com.