Harvey Fierstein appeared on Watch What Happens Live earlier this week to chat with Andy Cohen, ahead of opening night of his Torch Song on Broadway November 1.
A caller asked Fierstein which role was harder to get into drag: Edna in Hairpsray or Albin in La Cage Aux Folles. “La Cage I wrote, and I didn’t write it for myself. I never saw myself do it,” said Fierstein, “but when I got to do it I had the most wonderful time. I found lines that Arthur Laurents had cut out and I said, ‘I’m putting that back in!’
“Edna's Edna,” he added fondly. “Edna is this year’s ornament!” referring to the annual Christmas ornament designed to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
Speaking of Hairspray, another caller wanted to know how Fierstein would rate John Travolta’s performance of Edna in the 2007 movie adaptation. “I never seen it,” he admitted. “I just cash the checks.”
Fierstein is a Tony-winning writer for the original Torch Song Trilogy as well as the book to La Cage Aux Folles. He is also a Tony-winning actor for the former and for the aforementioned Hairspray, playing Edna Turnblad—a role he reprised in 2016 for Hairspray: Live!. Fierstein has also earned Tony nominations for penning Casa Valentina, Kinky Boots, and Disney’s Newsies.