A wild hair takes actor from West Texas to Hairspray

StlToday.com – Judith Newmark

Jim J. Bullock knows he ought to play Tracy’s mother Edna in “Hairspray.”

After all, a man always plays the mother. Divine, an enormous transvestite performer, played Edna in John Waters’ original, non-musical movie version. Harvey Fierstein, creator and original star of the gay epic “Torch Song Trilogy,” introduced the role on Broadway.

So, Bullock’s campy comic style should have made him a shoo-in for the role. But when the “Hairspray” tour opens Tuesday at the Fox, J.P. Dougherty (yes, also a man) will play shy, good-hearted Edna Turnblad opposite Bullock as Wilbur, Tracy’s sweet, oddball dad.