Harvey Fierstein: I was never "out"

(CBS News) Harvey Fierstein is known not only for being a distinctive actor on Broadway and his signature gravelly voice, but for his longtime openness about his sexuality.

The four-time Tony Award-winner joked on "CBS This Morning," "I never came out. ... I didn't know what it was to be 'in,' so I was never 'out.'"

Pictures: Out in the spotlight

But Fierstein said his experience is becoming more normalized - at least in his town in Connecticut. "When I first moved up there about 30 years ago and I went to register as a Democrat, I mean, they practically closed town hall to me," he said. "I now see gay couples going into that very same town hall and getting married.

He added, "It's a wonderful world. You can't go backwards. You're always moving forward. It's the wonderful part about life. And that's terrific."

Fierstein made his theater debut in 1971 as "an asthmatic lesbian maid" in Andy Warhol's only play, "Pork." Fierstein is one of only a few people to receive Tony Awards in four different categories: two in 1983, as Best Actor (Play) and Author of Best Play for "Torch Song Trilogy,"; a third in 1984, the Book (Musical) Tony for writing the libretto of "La Cage aux Folles;" and the fourth in 2003, as Best Actor (Musical) in the Divine role of Edna Turnblad in "Hairspray."

His latest project is the hit Broadway adaptation of the 1992 movie "Newsies" about a group of newspaper boys who went on strike in 1899.

When asked why he wanted to make the production, Fierstein said, "What I saw was an opportunity to tell the next generation that this is their world. You may feel powerless as a child, but the world will one day be yours. And you're responsible for it. So, seize the day and take charge of it."

For more with Fierstein, watch the video of his full "CBS This Morning" interview in the player above.