Harvey Fierstein will play mom on ABC sitcom. The ''Hairspray'' star will play the drag role, um, straight

By Gary Susman
Updated April 08, 2003 at 04:00 AM EDT
Harvey Fierstein, Hairspray (Stage - 2002)
Credit: Harvey Fierstein: mk/ep/Ezio Petersen UPI/NewsCom

Harvey Fierstein is winning raves playing an ordinary housewife in ”Hairspray” on Broadway, so why not play one on TV as well? According to the Hollywood Reporter, he’s signed a deal for an ABC pilot where he’ll play a Roseanne-type mom in a blue-collar family. He’ll play the role straight (if that’s the right word), rather than campy. The show may make him the first man to star in a TV comedy as a woman — or at least, the first since Milton Berle and Flip Wilson.

Producing the show will be Neil Meron and Craig Zadan, the team behind the Oscar-winning ”Chicago.” ”I am going to work with some of my favorite people to make another lifelong dream a reality,” the actor told the Reporter. ”I can’t think of a better team to create a show with the kind of heart and humor I want to bring to America. Wow. I am pumped and ready to get to work.”

Fierstein still has to complete his run in ”Hairspray” — his contract runs out in August — before shooting the pilot. So don’t expect to see the series until early 2004 at the soonest.