Skip to page content

Harvey Fierstein

About this Artist

HARVEY FIERSTEIN (Edna Turnblad) 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-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 a Tony for Best Play as well as Drama Desk, Obie, and Dramatist Guild awards. Fierstein also won Tony, Drama Desk, and Theater World acting awards for his portrayal of the lead. Fierstein won his third Tony for the libretto of the musical La Cage Aux Folles, which is the only show in history to have won Tonys for Best Musical and Best Revival of a Musical (twice). He recently completed a Broadway run in La Cage, playing the role of Zaza for the first time ever. His other plays include Safe Sex, Spookhouse, A Catered Affair, and Legs Diamond.

His television work includes Nurse Jackie, How I Met Your Mother, Family Guy, and The Simpsons. He was nominated for an Emmy for his work on the TV classic Cheers. Films include Mrs. Doubtfire, Independence Day, Death to Smoochy, Bullets Over Broadway, and Showtime’s Common Ground (which he also wrote). His children’s book, The Sissy Duckling, is published by Simon & Schuster and the HBO film version won him the Humanitas Prize. Fierstein’s starring role as Edna in the musical Hairspray won him his fourth Tony as well as another Drama Desk Award, a New York Magazine Award, and the Drama League Award for Outstanding Performance of the Year. This made him the first person in history to win Tonys as an actor as well as a writer on both the dramatic and musical sides of the theater world.

In 2005 Harvey spent a triumphant year on Broadway as Tevye in a critically acclaimed production of Fiddler on the Roof, and then reprised the role in 2009 and 2010 on tour across America. Fierstein was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame in 2008. As a social and political commentator, Harvey’s opinion pieces and essays have been featured as “Outtakes” on the TV series In the Life, and on the Op-Ed page of The New York Times, among other publications. Fierstein lives in a small fictional town in Connecticut where he is currently collaborating with Cyndi Lauper on a musical of Kinky Boots and with Alan Menken on the musical Newsies – and trying to get some sleep.