NY Mirror

But the Tony show was slick, glorious fun—a bouncy tribute to Hairspray, which is gay camp for straight people, straight camp for gay people, and a living ad for both interracial love and full-bodied hair. You have to worship any musical that makes a star of a 4-11 chubby Jewish girl—and I mean Harvey Fierstein!

On the telecast, Marc Shaiman declaring his eternal love to partner Scott Wittman was as gorgeous as Hairspray itself, setting the evening's giddy gay-prom tone. (Later, Take Me Out winner Denis O'Hare gushed, "It's gay night! Even Frog and Toad—what's thatabout?" By the way, Take Me Outis about America's open-mouthed reaction to out gays. So were the Tonys.) The most poignant moment had the frenetic dance number from Hairspray giving way to Christopher Reeve wheeling on. ("I wouldn't be much good directing a musical," Reeve told us afterward.) And I loved Bernadette Peters pulling a jaw-droppingly brilliant performance out of her ass like she apparently did when Ben Brantley came. (The next night, I bet, she coughed.)

Backstage, all the people who came back to theater when their more mainstream projects flopped carried on about how thrilled they are to be part of the Broadway community. But our hero, Fierstein, was there, cracking about Hairspray's creation, "What do you get when you put seven gay men in a room? A musical!" (On that, I swear, he slipped co-star Marissa Jaret Winokur a chocolate. She looked even more excited than when she got the trophy.) Billy Joel's advice to up-and-comers? "Go to rehab. It spices up your life a lot." "I'm a schmuck," moaned Best Actor Brian Dennehy. "I forgot to thank Vanessa Redgrave!" But featured actress Michele Pawk remembered to thank someone "for lifting my face," so a reporter said, "I've never heard a thank-you for a surgeon." "I meant my makeup!" squawked Pawk.

Wait, before you shower me with bravos, one more thing: Spa just reopened as Plaid—joining other tinty clubs like Red and Beige—and though plaid is my favorite color, I was glad to see none of it there. (I adore irony.) The place—a sort of patterned rock-and-rollish parlor—looked good, and so did the crowd, but then again I liked the Limelight renovation. And now I'm off to do some much needed powder—I meant my makeup!


SPECIAL TO THE WEB: Those Tony-winning Hairspray boys, Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, have just announced their next project. They're working with Steven Spielberg on a musical stage version of Catch Me If You Can! Leonardo's probably taking singing lessons as we speak.


musto@villagevoice.com

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