FROM Harvey Fierstein
Harvey Fierstein on NBC's 'Hairspray Live' In a corner of the NBC backlot in Universal City, a generic city street set has been transformed into 1960's Baltimore for the upcoming production of Hairspray Live! , which airs on December 7. Signs on the shops -- 'Divine Pet Food' and 'Greenblatt's Baltimore Crabs'-- are nods to the industry, the former to the iconic Divine who played Edna Turnblad in the 1988 John Waters' movie Hairspray, and of course Bob Greenblatt is the chairman of NBC Entertainment. Hairspray tells the story of Baltimore teenager Tracy Turnblad, played in NBC's production by newcomer Maddie Baillio. Tracy been told she's too fat to realize her dream of dancing on the Corny Collins TV show. Her quest to perform turns into a crusade against segregation. The cast of this lavish NBC production includes Ariana Grande, Martin Short, Kristin Chenoweth and Jennifer Hudson. The director is Tony-winner Kenny Leon. And playing Tracy's mother Edna is Harvey Fierstein, who won a Tony for performing the role on Broadway. Fierstein has also won Tonys for his play, Torch Song Trilogy, and for writing the book for the stage version of La Cage Aux Folles. He's also written the script for the live TV version of Hairspray. Before going to work on Hairspray, Fierstein also wrote the teleplay for NBC's live musical version of The Wiz. He's shares his observations about how these productions are evolving as the form has enjoyed a recent a renaissance. Plus, he takes us through the weighty costuming process of transforming into Edna. And while Hairspray may sing 'Welcome to the 60s' -- the song they were rehearsing the day we visited the set -- its themes of fighting bigotry still feel very relevant today. We talked to to Fierstein in his trailer, just a few days after this year's presidential election, which had left many in Hollywood very upset. He tells us how the cast and crew were feeling, and why they feel the anti-segregation story line of the show is now more important than ever.
George Saunders: Lincoln in the Bardo (Part I) Lincoln in the Bardo dramatizes a grieving President Lincoln as he visits the grave of his beloved son Willie, who died at age eleven. In the novel, the buried dead believe they're not dead -- "they're sick and refer to their coffins as "sick boxes."
Revisiting showrunner Steven Bochco on his memoir Steven Bochco, the writer-producer behind record-breaking Emmy winners Hill Street Blues, LA Law and NYPD Blue, fought battles with everyone from out-of-control actors to network censors in his long career. He isn’t afraid to tell those tales in his memoir, Truth Is a Total Defense. This week we revisit the conversation where he shared some of his favorite stories with us.
In 'Speechless,' Scott Silveri combines comedy, family & disability Scott Silveri has written and produced sitcoms for more than 20 years. In all that time, he never encountered a TV family that looked anything like the one he grew up in -- with a mom, a dad...and a brother with cerebral palsy. He changed that with his show Speechless on ABC. Silveri tells us about looking to his own past for stories, and why he was determined to make a family comedy and not just a "disability show."
Gov. Jerry Brown: California and China will fight climate change together President Donald Trump reportedly wants the U.S. to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord, and he’s expected to announce a decision soon. California Governor Jerry Brown heads to China to strengthen climate and clean energy ties.