Vilanch and Jibson Reunited On Stage Tomorrow

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Reunited at Last! Vilanch and Jibson Together Again as Hairspray’s Mother and Daughter, This Time in NYC
By Kenneth Jones
October 5, 2004

Bruce Vilanch, the zaftig writer-celebrity who played Edna Turnblad in the national tour of Hairspray, joins the Broadway troupe Oct. 5, stepping into the slippers of Michael McKean, who exited the role Oct. 3.With his Broadway bow, Vilanch reunites with Carly Jibson, who played his daughter Tracy Turnblad when the road company launched on tour in 2003.

Also joining the cast at the Neil Simon Theatre are Tod Sussman as Wilbur and Jordan Ballard as Amber. Both played the touring company of the smash musical about Baltimore kids breaking rules in the 1960s.

First seen in the John Waters movie, “Hairspray,” Tracy is the feisty Baltimore teen who changes the face of local TV forever when she promotes integration on a dance show in the 1960s. She also falls in love with the coolest guy in school and gets her mother a fantastic makeover.

Comedian John Pinette took over the role of Edna on tour, after Vilanch left.

Vilanch, a bigger-than-life personality as a writer and comic, has served as a writer for the Oscars, Emmys, Tonys and Grammys. He is author of the book, “Bruce! My Adventures in the Skin Trade and Other Essays,” and was the subject of a documentary film, “Get Bruce!”

He has performed a one man show, billed as a “bio comedy,” in engagements around the country.

The current Broadway cast of Hairspray — winner of the 2003 Tony Award for Best Musical — features Richard H. Blake, Mary Bond Davis, Jonathan Dokuchitz, Chester Gregory II, Jackie Hoffman, Jim J. Bullock, Barbara Walsh, Jennifer Gambatese and Sabrina Reitman.

Hairspray is directed by Jack O’Brien, with book by Mark O’Donnell and Thomas Meehan and a score by Marc Shaiman (music and lyrics) and Scott Wittman (lyrics). Jerry Mitchell choreographed.

Harvey Fierstein won the Best Actor Tony Award for his hausfrau turn as Edna.