The actor takes over the part of hausfrau Edna Turnblad in the musical comedy at the Neil Simon Theatre. Harvey Fierstein, who took home a Tony Award for the part, left the company May 2, as did Kathy Brier, who played portly daughter Tracy Turnblad after original Marissa Jaret Winokur left the troupe.
The new girl in town as Tracy is Carly Jibson, the teenager who originated the part in the national tour.
First seen in the John Waters movie, "Hairspray," Tracy is the feisty Baltimore teen who changes the face of local TV forever when she promotes integration on a dance show in the 1960s. She also falls in love with the coolest guy in school and gets her mother a fantastic makeover.
(Bruce Vilanch essays the role of Edna in the Hairspray tour.)
The current Broadway cast of Hairspray — winner of the 2003 Tony Award for Best Musical — includes Richard H. Blake, Mary Bond Davis, Jonathan Dokuchitz, Tracy Jai Edwards, Chester Gregory II, Jackie Hoffman, Aja Maria, Brooke Tansley, Joel Vig, Barbara Walsh, Dick Latessa, Tracee Beazer, Eric L. Christian, J.P. Dougherty, Shannon Durig, Jennie Ford, Hollie Howard, Tyrick Wiltez Jones, Michelle Kittrell, Leslie Kritzer, Serge Kushnier, Abdul Latif, Katharine Leonard, Michael Longoria, John Jeffrey Martin, Rusty Mowery, Rashad Naylor, Nicole Powell, Terita R. Redd, Judine Richard, Kathleen Shields, Peter Matthew Smith, Todd Michel Smith and Shayna Steele.