A New Kind of Torch Song: Harvey Fierstein Will Star as Albin in La Cage aux Folles
By Kenneth Jones
Four-time Tony Award-winner Harvey Fierstein will return to Broadway, in drag again, to star as Albin in the 2010 Tony Award-winning revival of La Cage aux Folles, for which he also wrote the libretto. He will slip into feathers and bugle beads starting Feb. 15, 2011, for 12 weeks.
Fierstein won the 1984 Tony Award for writing La Cage, but this will be his first time appearing in the show. He replaces 2010 Tony Award winner Douglas Hodge. Fierstein's co-star at the Longacre will be announced soon.
The current stars of La Cage, five-time Emmy Award-winner Kelsey Grammer as Georges and Olivier and 2010 Tony Award winner Douglas Hodge as Albin, will depart the production on Feb. 13.
La Cage aux Folles, about a gay couple who run a St. Tropez drag club, features music and lyrics by Jerry Herman and book by Fierstein, based on the play by Jean Poiret. This production is choreographed by Lynne Page and directed by Terry Johnson, who won a 2010 Tony Award for his direction. It won the 2010 Best Revival (Musical) Tony.
"I've loved watching this new production of La Cage and think director Terry Johnson and the wonderful company at the Longacre have really mined the material for its humor as well as its heart and humanity," Fierstein said in a statement. "I'm thrilled to get the chance to play Albin a mere 25 years after creating him. It will be a challenge to follow in the footsteps of all the brilliant actors who have portrayed the role before me. But I do have one secret weapon — I know how to reach the author for rewrites."
Fierstein made his professional acting debut at La Mama ETC in 1971 in Andy Warhol's only play, Pork. He followed that with appearances in more than 60 Off-Off-Broadway productions before he began his playwriting career. Early plays like Flatbush Tosca and Cobra Jewels led to his underground hit, Torch Song Trilogy, which transferred Off-Broadway in 1981 and then to Broadway in 1982 where it won the Best Play Tony Award as well as Drama Desk, Obie and Dramatist Guild Awards. Fierstein also won Tony, Drama Desk and Theater World Awards for his portrayal of the Torch Song lead, a drag performer with a heart of gold. He won his third Tony for the libretto of the musical La Cage aux Folles. His other plays include Safe Sex, A Catered Affair and Legs Diamond.
Fierstein's starring role as Edna in the musical Hairspray won him his fourth Tony Award as well as another Drama Desk Award, New York Magazine Award and the Drama League Award for Outstanding Performance of the Year. This made him only the second person in history to win Tonys in four different categories. He recently completed a national tour of Fiddler on the Roof, playing Tevye, a role he played for more than a year in the show's 2005 Broadway revival.
For more information, visit www.LaCage.com.
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