Harvey Fierstein's Torch Song

Harvey Fierstein's Torch Song

Following an acclaimed, sold-out engagement at Second Stage Theater's off-Broadway home at the Tony Kiser Theater, Harvey Fierstein's Torch Song, starring Drama Desk Award winner Michael Urie and Tony & Academy Award winner Mercedes Ruehl, transfers to the Hayes Theater on Broadway - where the play originally ran from 1982 to 1985.

Harvey Fierstein's has edited his beautifully crafted trilogy of acts - International StudFugue in a Nursery, and Widows and Children First! - down into a more-than-manageable 2 hours and 40 minute production and has symbolically passed the torch to a new leading man in Michael Urie. Torch Song's protagonist - a Jewish drag queen named Arnold Beckoff, who longs for love and a family to call his own - was originated off-off-Broadway by Fierstein. He took the character (and his play) to off-Broadway and then all the way to Broadway, finally winning two Tony Awards in 1983 (for "Best Play" and "Best Actor in a Play") and immortilized him on screen in the 1988 film adaptation (also writing the screenplay, of course). So, some might say that slipping into the fluffy bunny slippers of Arnold for this first-ever Broadway revival is a tall task in itself, but that didn't stop Urie, who has managed to create a vulnerable and empathetic Arnold of his own (rather than a simple caricature of Mr. Fierstein).

Under the direction of Moisés Kaufman, this slick production has three distinctive styles - both in terms of the mise en scène and the delivery. International Stud is comprised of a series of monologues and interactions with imaginary on or off-stage characters, as we are introduced to Arnold and (bisexual) Ed, whose on-again-off-again relationship provides the thread for the three acts. In Fugue in a Nursery (a year later), the action takes place in a huge bed that takes up the majority of the stage and where we are also introduced to Alan and Ed's respective partners: Laurel and Alan. And finally, after intermission, in Widows and Children First! (several years later), the play takes a more traditional, kitchen-sink drama approach, set in Arnold's apartment, where we meet David, a gay teenager who is on an adoption trial with Arnold. The final piece of the puzzle is Arnold's mother who comes to visit and old wounds are ripped open in a theatrical showdown that is as exhilirating as it is gut-wrenching.

Kudos to this fine cast of actors, who re-imagine this iconic cornerstone of popular gay culture for a new generation of theatregoers. Even though the idea of gay couples adopting is no longer science fiction in today's society, many of the themes of the play are still as relevant in some parts of the world as they were in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Many will recognise the wrought parent-child relationship on show, many still struggle with accepting and feeling fulfilled by their sexuality and many still fall victim to hate crimes. Torch Song is a period piece with everlasting appeal and simply a must-see for any theatre aficionado.

(Photos by Matthew Murphy)

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Running time: 
2hrs 40mins (including 1 intermission)
9 images
About Harvey Fierstein's Torch Song:

Harvey Fierstein’s Torch Song follows Arnold Beckoff’s odyssey to find happiness in New York. All he wants is a husband, a child, and a pair of bunny slippers that fit, but a visit from his overbearing mother reminds him that he needs one thing more: respect. Join Arnold on this all too human journey about the families we’re born into, the families we choose, and the battles to bring them all home.

Harvey Fierstein
Richie Jackson, Stephanie P. McClelland, David Mirvish, Judith Ann Abrams/Gutterman and Priest, Burnt Umber Productions/True Love Productions, Lassen Radford/Karmen Boyz Productions, Perniciaro & Emanuel, and Jujamcyn Theaters
Moisés Kaufman
David Lander
John Gromada
David Zinn
Clint Ramos
Cast list:
Michael Urie (as Arnold Beckoff), Mercedes Ruehl (as Ma Beckoff), Ward Horton (as Ed), Roxanna Hope Radja (as Laurel), Michael Hsu Rosen (as Alan), and Jack DiFalco (as David)
Harvey Fierstein's Torch Song Performance Dates & Times
Previews from: 
October 9, 2018
Opening date: 
November 1, 2018
January 6, 2019

Performance schedules for all shows are subject to change.

Hayes Theater - Second Stage Theater

240 West 44th Street (between Broadway and 8th Avenue), New York, NY 10036
Nearest subway station:
42nd Street - Port Authority Bus Terminal Station

Latest Harvey Fierstein's Torch Song News & Features

Michael Urie & Mercedes Ruehl in Harvey Fierstein's Torch Song
Harvey Fierstein's Torch Song announces new Broadway closing date
December 4, 2018

Producers of the acclaimed Broadway revival of Harvey Fierstein's ​Torch Song, directed by Tony Award nominee Moisés Kaufman, have announced a new closing date. Originally scheduled to run through to February 24, 2019, the production will now play its final performance on January 6, 2019, and upon closing, will have played a total of 26 previews and 77 regular performances. Michael Urie will reprise his role as Arnold Beckoff in the National Tour, which is set to launch in the fall of 2019 at Los Angeles’ Center Theatre Group at the Ahmanson Theatre.

Interview with Torch Song legend Harvey Fierstein
November 26, 2018

We talk to the creative genius, writer and original star of Torch Song... 

Interview with Harvey Fierstein's Torch Song star Michael Urie
November 8, 2018

We catch up with the leading man of the acclaimed new Broadway revival of Harvey Fierstein's iconic Torch Song...

Michael Urie & Mercedes Ruehl
NYTG at the Opening Night of Harvey Fierstein's Torch Song on Broadway
November 2, 2018

There are certain roles in the world of theatre, film and television that are synonymous with the actors who originated them. They have become almost untouchable due to their iconic status. One such role is Arnold Beckoff - our protagonist who guides us through the trilogy of plays that has simply become known as Torch Song. And the man who created this icon of gay culture - both on the page and the stage - is, of course, the incomparable Harvey Fierstein.

Our Harvey Fierstein's Torch Song Review

Think about it. When Harvey Fierstein was writing the components of Torch Song back in the late 1970’s, there was no AIDS. And it had only been a dozen years since it was legal for New York bars to serve gay and lesbian patrons. So, while a character like Arnold Beckoff (Michael Urie), a drag queen who longs for a committed, loving husband that he can acknowledge to the world, and a family of... Read more