In a recent interview with the Hollywood Reporter, screenwriter Harvey Fierstein revealed that he is making changes to the script for NBC’s ‘Bye Bye Birdie Live!’ to make Jennifer Lopez’s character Rosie more forward-thinking.
“Having Rosie be Albert’s secretary whom he’s having an affair with is sexist and old-fashioned,” says Fierstein.
Instead, Fierstein has opted to make Rosie and Albert teachers who are co-workers and discover would-be rock star Conrad Birdie together.
“He’s the English teacher who writes a song, and she’s the music teacher who says, ‘I’ve got a great kid with a great voice,'” explains Fierstein, who also notes that some lyrics to the opening number “An English Teacher” will changed to better fit the new character dynamics.
Fierstein also wrote the teleplay adaptation of t ‘Hairspray Live’ in which he also stared as Edna Turnblad. He previously won a Tony for the role on Broadway.
The gravel-voiced actor is best known for the play and film ‘Torch Song Trilogy’, which he wrote and starred in both Off-Broadway and on Broadway. The 1982 Broadway production won him two Tony Awards, for Best Play and Best Actor in a Play, two Drama Desk Awards, for Outstanding New Play and Outstanding Actor in a Play, and the Theatre World Award, and the film adaptation earned him an Independent Spirit Award nomination as Best Male Lead.
Fierstein also wrote the book for the musical ‘La Cage aux Folles’, for which he won the Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical, and wrote the book for the Tony Award-winning ‘Kinky Boots’. He was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 2007.