Fierstein at the 2009 Metropolitan Opera premiere
Harvey Forbes Fierstein
June 6, 1954
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Harvey Forbes Fierstein ( // FIRE-steen; born June 6, 1954) is an American actor, playwright, and voice actor. He is best known for his roles as Frank Hillard in Mrs. Doubtfire and the voice of Yao in Mulan and Mulan II . Fierstein has won the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play for his own play Torch Song Trilogy (about a gay drag-performer and his quest for true love and family) and the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for playing Edna Turnblad in Hairspray . He also wrote the book for the musical La Cage aux Folles , for which he won the Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical, and wrote the book for the Tony Award-winning Kinky Boots . He was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 2007.
Fierstein was born to Eastern European Jewish immigrantsin Brooklyn, New York, the son of Jacqueline Harriet (née Gilbert), a school librarian, and Irving Fierstein, a handkerchief manufacturer. Fierstein is an atheist.
Fierstein occasionally writes columns about gay issues. He was openly gay at a time when very few celebrities were.His careers as a stand-up comic and female impersonator are mostly behind him. Fierstein resides in Ridgefield, Connecticut.
Fierstein's signature gravelly voice is a result of an overdeveloped vestibular fold in his vocal cords, essentially giving him a "double voice" when he speaks. Prior to puberty, Fierstein was a soprano in a professional boys' choir.
The gravel-voiced actor is best known for the play and film Torch Song Trilogy , which he wrote and starred in both Off-Broadway (with a young Matthew Broderick) and on Broadway (with Estelle Getty and Fisher Stevens). The 1982 Broadway production won him two Tony Awards, for Best Play and Best Actor in a Play, two Drama Desk Awards, for Outstanding New Play and Outstanding Actor in a Play, and the Theatre World Award, and the film adaptation earned him an Independent Spirit Award nomination as Best Male Lead.
Fierstein also wrote the book for La Cage aux Folles (1983), winning another Tony Award, this time for Best Book of a Musical, and a Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Book. Legs Diamond , his 1988 collaboration with Peter Allen, was a critical and commercial failure, closing after 72 previews and 64 performances. His other playwriting credits include Safe Sex, Spookhouse, and Forget Him.
In 2007, Fierstein wrote the book to the musical A Catered Affair in which he also starred. After tryouts at San Diego's Old Globe Theatre in September 2007, it opened on Broadway April 17, 2008 and closed on July 27, 2008. He received a Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding Book of a Musical, and the show won the Drama League Award for Distinguished Production of a Musical.
Fierstein wrote the book for the stage musical Newsies , along with Alan Menken (music) and Jack Feldman (lyrics). The musical opened on Broadway in March 2012. Fierstein was nominated for the Tony Award for Book of a Musical.
Fierstein wrote the book for a stage musical version of the film Kinky Boots with music and lyrics by Cyndi Lauper. After a fall 2012 run at the Bank of America Theatre in Chicagoit opened at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre on Broadway in April 2013. The musical was nominated for thirteen 2013 Tony Awards and won six, including best musical.
His play, Casa Valentina was produced on Broadway by the Manhattan Theatre Club at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre. The play opened in April 2014 and closed in June 2014. It was directed by Joe Mantello, with a cast that featured Patrick Page as George/Valentina, John Cullum and Mare Winningham.
Fierstein wrote the teleplay for The Wiz Live! NBC TV broadcast on December 3, 2015, featuring Stephanie Mills, as Aunt Em, Queen Latifah as The Wiz and David Alan Grier as the Lion. The teleplay is an adaptation of The Wiz Broadway production which ran from October 1974 until January 1979.
As one of the first openly gay celebrities in the United States, Fierstein helped make gay and lesbian life into viable subjects for contemporary drama "with no apologies and no climactic suicides".
Fierstein made his acting debut at La MaMa, E.T.C. in Andy Warhol's only play, Pork. Fierstein continued to appear at La MaMa and other venues but also, having some aspirations to become a painter, enrolled at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) from Pratt in 1973. Fierstein appeared three times in "The Haunted Host" by Robert Patrick: in Boston in 1975, and at La MaMa and then Off-Broadway in 1991. In addition to Torch Song Trilogy, La Cage aux Folles and A Catered Affair, Fierstein's Broadway acting credits include playing the mother, Edna Turnblad in Hairspray (2002), for which he won a Tony Award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical. He later replaced Alfred Molina as Tevye in the 2004 revival of Fiddler on the Roof .
Besides his leading role in the film version of Torch Song Trilogy co-starring Matthew Broderick and Anne Bancroft, Fierstein's film roles include Woody Allen's Bullets over Broadway , Robin Williams's character's makeup-artist brother in Mrs. Doubtfire , and Merv Green in Death to Smoochy , in addition to parts in Garbo Talks , Duplex , Kull the Conqueror , and Independence Day . He narrated the documentary The Times of Harvey Milk , for which he won a News & Documentary Emmy Award. He also voiced the role of Yao in Disney's animated feature Mulan , a role he later reprised for the video game Kingdom Hearts II and the direct-to-DVD sequel Mulan II .
On television, Fierstein was featured as the voice of Karl, Homer Simpson's assistant, in the "Simpson and Delilah" episode of The Simpsons and the voice of Elmer in the 1999 HBO special based on his children's book The Sissy Duckling , which won the Humanitas Prize for Children's Animation. In 1994, Fierstein became the first openly gay actor to play a principal gay character in a television series when he appeared as fashion designer Dennis Sinclair in the short-lived CBS series Daddy's Girls .Additional credits include Miami Vice , Murder, She Wrote , the Showtime television movie Common Ground (which he also wrote), and Cheers , which earned him an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. He sang a tribute to Katie Couric on Today on May 31, 2006, her last day as anchor. He appeared as Heat Miser in the live-action remake of The Year Without a Santa Claus in December 2006. More recent television performances include an episode of Family Guy , in which he played an overweight, chainsmoking mother and an episode of the second season of the series Nurse Jackie in which he played a man whose husband is dying. He also gave the voice-over for Lily in the "Last Cigarette Ever" episode of How I Met Your Mother when she gets a sore throat due to smoking.
Fierstein returned to the theatre when he reprised the role of Tevye, replacing an injured Chaim Topol, in the national tour of Fiddler on the Roof starting in December 2009.On February 15, 2011, he replaced Douglas Hodge as Albin/Zaza in the Broadway revival of La Cage aux Folles playing opposite Jeffrey Tambor as Georges, although days later Tambor pulled out, which the producers have stated was due to "complications from a recent hip surgery"; Christopher Sieber quickly replaced Tambor. The show closed on May 1, 2011 due to low box office; it played 433 performances and 15 previews.
Fierstein wrote and stars in the solo monologue play Bella Bella, about Bella Abzug. The play opened Off-Broadway at the Manhattan Theatre Club City Center Stage 1 on October 1, 2019, directed by Kimberly Senior.In 1993 Harvey Fierstein co-starred with Mara Wilson, Lisa Jakub, Matthew Lawrence, Sally Field, and the late Robin Williams in Mrs. Doubtfire . In 1998 he voiced Yao in Mulan (1998 film) . He reprised his role as Yao in 2004 in Mulan II .
|1982–1985||Torch Song Trilogy||Arnold Beckoff||Little Theatre||Broadway|
|1986||Albery Theatre||West End|
|1987||Safe Sex||Ghee||Lyceum Theatre||Broadway|
|2002–2009||Hairspray||Edna Turnblad||5th Avenue Theatre||Regional|
|2004–2006||Fiddler on the Roof||Tevye||Minskoff Theatre||Broadway|
|2008||A Catered Affair||Winston||Walter Kerr Theatre|
|2010–2011||La Cage aux Folles||Albin||Longacre Theatre|
|1984||Garbo Talks||Bernie Whitlock|
|The Times of Harvey Milk||Narrator||Voice role|
|1988||Torch Song Trilogy||Arnold Beckoff|
|1992||The Harvest||Bob Lakin|
|1993||Mrs. Doubtfire||Francis "Frank" Hillard|
|Bullets Over Broadway||Sid Loomis|
|1995||Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde||Yves DuBois|
|1996||Independence Day||Marty Gilbert|
|Everything Relative||The Moyle|
|Elmo Saves Christmas||Easter Bunny|
|1997||White Lies||Art Hoarder|
|Kull the Conqueror||Juba|
|Three Little Pigs||The Big Bad Wolf||Voice role (short film)|
|2000||Playing Mona Lisa||Bennett|
|2002||Death to Smoochy||Merv Green|
|2004||Mulan II||Yao||Voice role|
|2006||Farce of the Penguins||Sheila||Voice role|
|2012||Foodfight!||Fat Cat Burglar||Voice role|
|2014||Russian Broadway Shut Down||Book Writer||Short film|
|2017||Animal Crackers||Esmerelda||Voice role|
|2019||The Little Mermaid: An Immersive Live-to-Film Concert Experience||Ursula||Voice role|
|2020||Disarm Hate||Narrator||Voice role (documentary)|
|1983||The Demon Murder Case||Demon||Voice role (television film)|
|1986||Miami Vice||Benedict||Episode: "The Fix"|
|Apology||The Derelict||Television film|
|1988||Tidy Endings||Arthur||Television film|
|1990||The Simpsons||Karl||Voice role (Episode: "Simpson and Delilah")|
|1991||ABC Afterschool Specials||Andrew||Episode: "In the Shadow of Love: A Teen AIDS Story"|
|1992||Cheers||Mark Newberger||Episode: "Rebecca's Lover... Not"|
|Murder, She Wrote||Stan Hatter||Episode: "The Dead File"|
|1994||Daddy's Girl||Dennis Sinclair||Series regular (3 episodes)|
|1997||The Larry Sanders Show||Harvey Fierstein||Episode: "The Matchmaker"|
|Fame L.A.||Jeremy Pinter||Episode: "Do or Die"|
|Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child||Mrs. Leaperman||Voice role (Episode: "Thumbelina")|
|1998||Ellen||Himself||Episode: "It's a Gay, Gay, Gay, Gay World!"|
|Hercules||Argus Panoptes||Voice role (Episode: "Hercules and the Bacchanal")|
|Stories from My Childhood||Grambo||Voice role (Episode: "Alice and the Mystery of the Third Planet")|
|1999||Double Platinum||Gary Millstein||Television film|
|1999||The Sissy Duckling||Elmer||Voice role (television film)|
|2000||Common Ground||Don||Television film|
|Behind the Music||Himself||Episode: "1984"|
|2004||Biography||Himself||Episode: "John Waters"|
|2004–07||Sesame Street||Himself||Recurring role (3 episodes)|
|2006||The Year Without a Santa Claus||Heat Miser||Television film|
|2008||Family Guy||Tracy||Voice role (Episode: "The Former Life of Brian")|
|2009||How I Met Your Mother||Lily's smoking voice (voice)||Episode: "Last Cigarette Ever"|
|2010||Nurse Jackie||John Decker||Episode: "Monkey Bits"|
|2011||The Good Wife||Judge Francis Flamm||Episode: "Feeding the Rat"|
|2012||Submissions Only||Auditioner #5||Episode: "Another Interruption"|
|2013||Smash||Himself||Episode: "The Fallout"|
|Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen||Himself||Episode: "Harvey Fierstein & Kim Zolciak"|
|2014||Saturday Night Live!||Himself||Episode: "Bill Hader/Hozier"|
|2015||Family Guy||Buster Keaton||Voice role (Episode: "Stewie Is Enceinte")|
|2016||Hairspray Live!||Edna Turnblad||Voice role (television film)|
|2017||BoJack Horseman||iOvulate bracelet||Voice role (Episode: "Commence Fracking")|
|2018||Big Mouth||Older Guy Town resident||Voice role (Episode: "Guy Town")|
|Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen||Himself||Episode: "Jane Curtin & Harvey Fierstein"|
|2019||The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance||The Gourmand||Recurring voice role (7 episodes)|
|1998||Disney's Animated Storybook: Mulan||Yao|
|Mulan Story Studio|
|2005||Kingdom Hearts II||English version|
|2007||Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix+|
|1982||New York Drama Critics' Circle||Best American Play||Torch Song Trilogy||Nominated|
|1983||Tony Award||Best Play||Won|
|Best Actor in a Play||Won|
|Drama Desk Award||Outstanding Play||Won|
|Outstanding Actor in a Play||Won|
|Theatre World Award||Theatre World Award||Won|
|1984||Tony Award||Best Book of a Musical||La Cage aux Folles||Won|
|Drama Desk Award||Outstanding Book of a Musical||Nominated|
|1992||Primetime Emmy Award||Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series||Cheers||Nominated|
|2003||Tony Award||Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical||Hairspray||Won|
|Drama Desk Award||Outstanding Actor in a Musical||Won|
|Outer Critics Circle Award||Outstanding Actor in a Musical||Nominated|
|Drama League Award||Outstanding Performance||Won|
|2008||Drama Desk Award||Outstanding Book of a Musical||A Catered Affair||Nominated|
|2012||Tony Award||Best Book of a Musical||Newsies||Nominated|
|Outer Critics Circle Award||Outstanding Book of a Musical||Nominated|
|2013||Tony Award||Best Book of a Musical||Kinky Boots||Nominated|
|Outer Critics Circle Award||Outstanding Book of a Musical||Nominated|
|2014||Tony Award||Best Play||Casa Valentina||Nominated|
The Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Broadway Theatre, more commonly known as the Tony Award, recognizes excellence in live Broadway theatre. The awards are presented by the American Theatre Wing and The Broadway League at an annual ceremony in Midtown Manhattan. The awards are given for Broadway productions and performances, and an award is given for regional theatre. Several discretionary non-competitive awards are also given, including a Special Tony Award, the Tony Honors for Excellence in Theatre, and the Isabelle Stevenson Award. The awards are named after Antoinette "Tony" Perry, co-founder of the American Theatre Wing. The trophy consists of a medallion, with a face portraying an adaptation of the comedy and tragedy masks, mounted on a black base with a pewter swivel.
Gerald Sheldon Herman was an American composer and lyricist, known for his work in Broadway musical theater. He composed the scores for the hit Broadway musicals Hello, Dolly!, Mame, and La Cage aux Folles. He was nominated for the Tony Award five times, and won twice, for Hello, Dolly! and La Cage aux Folles.
Matthew John Broderick is an American actor, comedian and singer. His roles include the Golden Globe-nominated portrayal of the title character in Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986), the voice of the adult Simba in Disney's The Lion King trilogy (1994–2004), and Leo Bloom in both the Broadway musical The Producers and its 2005 film adaptation. Other films he had starring credits in include WarGames (1983), Glory (1989), The Freshman (1990), The Cable Guy (1996), Godzilla (1998), Election (1999), Inspector Gadget (1999) and You Can Count on Me (2000). Broderick also directed himself in Infinity (1996) and provided voice work in Good Boy! (2003), Bee Movie (2007), and The Tale of Despereaux (2008).
Torch Song Trilogy is a collection of three plays by Harvey Fierstein rendered in three acts: International Stud, Fugue in a Nursery, and Widows and Children First! The story centers on Arnold Beckoff, a Jewish homosexual, drag queen, and torch singer who lives in New York City in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The four-hour play begins with a soliloquy in which he explains his cynical disillusionment with love.
La Cage aux Folles is a musical with music and lyrics by Jerry Herman, and a book by Harvey Fierstein.
Gary Beach was an American actor, of stage, film and television best known for the role of Roger De Bris in both the stage and film productions of The Producers.
George Hearn is an American actor and singer, primarily in Broadway musical theatre.
John Cullum is an American actor and singer. He has appeared in many stage musicals and dramas, including Shenandoah (1975) and On the Twentieth Century (1978), winning the Tony Award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical for each. He earned his first Tony nomination as lead actor in a musical in 1966 for On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, in which he introduced the title song, and more recently received Tony nominations for Urinetown The Musical (2002) and as best featured actor in a musical for the revival of 110 in the Shade (2007).
Joseph Mantello is an American actor and director best known for his work on Broadway productions of Wicked, Take Me Out and Assassins, as well as earlier in his career being one of the original Broadway cast members of Angels in America.
The Outer Critics Circle Awards are presented annually for theatrical achievements both on Broadway and Off-Broadway. They are presented by the Outer Critics Circle (OCC), the official organization of New York theater writers for out-of-town newspapers, digital and national publications, and other media beyond Broadway. The awards were first presented during the 1949-50 theater season and will celebrate their 70th anniversary in 2020. David Gordon, Senior Features Reporter at TheaterMania.com, currently serves as President.
Douglas Hodge is an English actor, director, and musician who trained for the stage at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Hodge is a council member of the National Youth Theatre for whom, in 1989, he co-wrote Pacha Mama's Blessing about the Amazon rain forests staged at the Almeida Theatre.
The Drama League Awards, created in 1922, honor distinguished productions and performances both on Broadway and Off-Broadway, in addition to recognizing exemplary career achievements in theatre, musical theatre, and directing. Each May, the awards are presented by The Drama League at the Annual Awards Luncheon with performers, directors, producers, and Drama League members in attendance. The Drama League membership comprises the entire theater community, including award-winning actors, designers, directors, playwrights, producers, industry veterans, critics and theater-going audiences from across the U.S.
Eric Anderson is an American actor and singer. On Broadway, he has originated roles in Waitress, Kinky Boots, The Last Ship, Rocky, and Soul Doctor, and was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical. He portrayed Mr. O’Malley in The Greatest Showman (2017).
La Cage aux Folles is a 1973 French farce by Jean Poiret centering on confusion that ensues when Laurent, the son of a Saint Tropez night club owner and his gay lover, brings his fiancée's ultraconservative parents for dinner. The original French production premièred at the Théâtre du Palais-Royal on 1 February 1973 and ran for almost 1,800 performances. The principal roles were played by Jean Poiret and Michel Serrault. A French-Italian film of the play was made in 1978 In 1983, Poiret's play was adapted in the United States as a musical with a book by Harvey Fierstein and music and lyrics by Jerry Herman and later remade as the American film The Birdcage.
Robin de Jesús is an American film and theater actor of Puerto Rican descent. He is from Norwalk, Connecticut.
Torch Song Trilogy is a 1988 American comedy-drama film adapted by Harvey Fierstein from his play of the same name.
Billy Porter is an American Broadway theater performer, singer, and actor. He attended the Musical Theater program at Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts School's School of Drama, graduated from Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama, and achieved fame performing on Broadway before starting a solo career as a singer and actor.
Kinky Boots is a Broadway musical with music and lyrics by Cyndi Lauper and a book by Harvey Fierstein.
The 67th Annual Tony Awards were held June 9, 2013, to recognize achievement in Broadway productions during the 2012–13 season. The ceremony returned to Radio City Music Hall in New York City, after two years at Beacon Theatre, and was broadcast live on CBS television. Neil Patrick Harris hosted for the third consecutive year, his fourth time as host. Awards in four of the eight acting categories, were given to African-American performers. Furthermore, it is the second time in Tony history that both directing prizes went to women. Garry Hynes and Julie Taymor had previously won in 1998. Kinky Boots had a season best 13 nominations and 6 awards. Cyndi Lauper, who wrote the score for Kinky Boots, is the first solo female winner for Best Original Score.
I mean, I don't believe in God, I don't believe in heaven or hell, but I pray three or four times a day.
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