How a gay Jewish Latino playwright ended up restaging a Harvey Fierstein classic

(JTA) — It has been more than 35 years since Harvey Fierstein’s “Torch Song Trilogy” opened on Broadway. At the time it was a theatrical revelation: Who could have imagined that the story of a young gay Jewish man’s quest for love and validation in a world that viewed him as an abomination would become such a hit?

Fierstein, who wrote and starred in the original production, won the Tony Awards in 1983 for best play and best lead actor, and rocketed to theater stardom.

The play is back on Broadway in a slimmed-down production — it’s over an hour shorter than the three-part, four-plus hour original and is just called “Torch Song.” It stars Michael Urie (of “Ugly Betty” fame) as Arnold Beckoff, a professional drag queen, and his performance is so funny, moving and sensitive that it could win him a Tony, too. It opens Nov. 1 at the Hayes Theater and will run through Feb. 24.

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