We Got Bruce!

Got Bruce? You Bette!

U-Redlands Daily Facts
July 15th, 2004

FUNNY BUSINESS:

Make no mistake that Bruce Vilanch is giving up writing just because he’s found a home on stage as the piled-high bouffant-wearing Edna in “Hairspray.”

Vilanch, who’s earned five Emmys for scripting the Oscars, Emmys, Tonys and Grammys, is just now completing a novel and is also creating fresh material for Bette Midler as she takes her “Kiss My Brass” tour back out on the road in October.

He won’t be able to huddle with Bette for a while. After a year on the road with “Hairspray,” he brings the Tony-winning musical to Hollywood’s Pantages Theater next week for a seven-week run and says, “It’ll be heaven to be home. Though I’m having red lights installed on all the phones, because I’ve gotten so used to them in all the hotels I’ve stayed in for a year.”

He’ll be leaving the national company of “Hairspray” to take Edna to the Broadway boards when Michael McKean leaves the New York production Oct. 5.

“I’m committed to Broadway for six months – then we’ll see what happens,” says Bruce, best-known to many from his three-year stint on “Hollywood Squares,” on which he also served as head writer.

He considers “Hairspray” to be “a wonderful way to have a midlife crisis.” And if he has any complaint about the part that calls for him “to become a woman,” it’s only that “getting into pantyhose every night is a nightmare – I have to be lowered into them.”