Harvey Fierstein’s Torch Song Trilogy is undoubtedly a classic piece of gay theatre. The three-part play, which debuted in 1982, won the writer/star a pair of Tony Awards, got adapted into a movie in 1988 and has been revived numerous times. Now it’s coming back, with the announcement that Michael Urie will play the central role in a slightly altered version of the piece.
Fierstein reveals, via Theater Mania, “I’m thrilled that Second Stage Theatre will be reviving Torch Song Trilogy next season In conversation, I’ve been encouraging director Moisés Kaufman to look at the play with fresh eyes. I would never think of rewriting the plays but have given him a newly edited text that reconceives the way I want the story told. Theater is a living breathing entity and so are audiences. Even the most faithful stage recreations are tinted by the moment in which they are experienced. I’ve asked Carole Rothman to call the evening simply, Torch Song, and let’s see what truths we can preserve, what histories we can rediscover and what futures we can forge together. Living theater has always been my life’s goal.”
There’s no more info on exactly what changes might have been made, and/or why it will be getting a slightly different title. It may at least partly be a way to help the piece live on its own, as over the last 35 years, Torch Song Trilogy has become so indelibly linked to Fierstein, that others are invariably compared to him. There’s also a chance that while still set in 1979, Harvey wants to make a few tweaks to make it speak more strongly to the world today.
Former Ugly Betty star Urie will play Arnold Beckoff, who ‘is on a quest for love, purpose and family. He’s fierce in drag and fearless in crisis, and he won’t stop until he achieves the life he desires as a doting husband and a Jewish mother. Now, Arnold is back…and he’s here to sing you a torch song.’
Performances will start September 28th, 2017 at New York’s Second Stage Theater, with a late October opening planned.