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Jerry Springer: The Opera

 
 
mac11
 
Reply Wed 27 Oct, 2004 01:04 pm
October 27, 2004

BY Jill Lawless

London -- Defamation suits. Bad press. Feuding producers. ''Jerry Springer: The Opera'' has spawned a behind-the-scenes soap opera to match its onstage melodramatics.

The scabrous musical inspired by the king of trash TV is facing an early closing because of an expensive lawsuit against a British newspaper that claimed -- untruthfully at the time -- that the show was losing money.

A huge critical hit, ''Jerry Springer'' is due to run in London's West End until October 2005, but producers acknowledge that the mounting cost of a lawsuit against the Daily Mail newspaper could force it to close within days.

''It's a fragile situation that may go either way,'' producer Jon Thoday said Tuesday.

Thoday's company, Avalon Promotions, says the show's problems began in January, when the Daily Mail ran a story claiming the musical was losing $73,000 a week. After examining the show's books, the paper apologized, acknowledging that ''Jerry Springer'' was ''hugely popular'' and making a healthy profit.

The producers nonetheless sued for a reported $730,000 in lost earnings, saying the Mail's story had hurt ticket sales.

The case is to come to court in December; backing out now would leave Avalon with a bill for both sides' legal costs. Thoday said that during a tough fall for West End shows, the producers of ''Jerry Springer'' have had to slash their marketing budget because of the potential cost of the lawsuit.

Created by composer Richard Thomas and comedian Stewart Lee, ''Jerry Springer'' opened to rave reviews at the National Theatre in April 2003, and transferred last October to the West End run. Former "Starsky and Hutch" actor David Soul took over the title role in July. The $13.9 million production is to play San Francisco's Orpheum Theatre next summer before arriving on Broadway in the fall.

The musical's fusion of high art and lowbrow TV has delighted critics and audiences alike. The show features a chorus line of dancing Ku Klux Klansmen and an all-singing cast of adulterous spouses, strippers, crack addicts and transsexuals. Springer is shot at the end of the first act and gets dragged down to Hell.

The real-life Jerry Springer saw the show last November in London and praised the production while distancing himself from the Jerry portrayed in it. ''It's a persona, and they did it remarkably well,'' Springer said. ''As an opera, it's perfect.''

AP

Emphasis mine. Did anyone suggest this on our Worst Musicals Ever thread? It sounds like it may be so bad, it's good!
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kickycan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Oct, 2004 01:11 pm
I hope it come to New York. I'd love to see that marquis right next to Beauty and the Beast.
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panzade
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Oct, 2004 01:15 pm
Springtime For Hitler Redux
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mac11
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Oct, 2004 01:23 pm
Yes, I thought of that, panzade. I guess somebody saw The Producers and had a revelation.
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flyboy804
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Oct, 2004 03:12 pm
The chances of coming to N.Y. are dimming due to financing. See NYT article http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/27/theater/27mone.html.
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flyboy804
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Oct, 2004 03:33 pm
I tried the link myself and it wouldn't work, (I am a registered member) so I shall give a brief resume. The production was not doing as well after it moved to the West End from the National Theater. Also, the coffers were being drained by ongoing litigation with "The Daily Mail". Though the producers still expressed hopes for coming to N.Y., they only have 4 million of a necessary 11 million dollars lined up.
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bree
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Oct, 2004 08:03 pm
I saw Jerry Springer: The Opera in London last year, and I had mixed feelings about it. I thought it was in extremely bad taste (and I'm probably less easily grossed out than many people), intermittently very funny, and had an extremely talented and hugely energetic cast that was the main reason for seeing the show. The music was mostly unmemorable, except for one song that kept going through my head for days afterwards; the lyrics to that song go, "This is my Jerry Springer moment/ I don't want this moment to die/ So dip me in chocolate, and throw me to the lesbians/ I don't want this moment to die."

I thought at the time that the show would probably never come to Broadway because it's so politically incorrect, and would offend so many sensibilities, that Broadway producers probably wouldn't be willing to take a chance on it. I said as much to the elderly English gentleman who sat next to me, with whom I had a conversation during the intermission (I guess I should say "the interval", in this context). He very politely told me that Americans need to get over their obsession with being "PC".
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mac11
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Oct, 2004 08:21 pm
Thanks for the eyewitness report, bree! Very Happy

Apparently British audiences (as well as tourists) have been enjoying it. I wonder if they have Jerry Springer on TV over there.
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bree
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Oct, 2004 08:45 pm
I don't know if they have Jerry Springer on TV in England, but they've had Jerry Springer himself there to see Jerry Springer: the Opera. He's apparently a big fan, and has seen it several times. I was in London the week the show transferred from the National Theatre to the West End, and there were a lot of newspaper articles about him going to to the West End opening (I missed him by a night). One of the articles quoted him as saying that he wished his mother were alive, so he could say to her, "I got culture, Ma -- there's an opera about me!"

Now that I think back on the show, I realize I shouldn't have been as dismissive of the music as I was in my previous post. Unlike the usual pop schlock that passes for the scores of musicals these days, the music for Jerry Springer: the Opera is quasi-classical (as the word "opera" suggests), with some chorales and fugues that are almost Bach-like. The creators obviously wanted to set up a kind of contrast between the grandeur of the music and the tawdriness of the actions taking place onstage. It made watching the show an unsettling experience, because the music told you to react one way, and the onstage hijinks told you to react another way.
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richie77
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Dec, 2004 06:39 pm
Just seen show.....
Just found this forum and thought Id contribute from a UK perspective. I saw the show this evening and was highly impressed. Like a previous post it wa slightly unsettling and could be seen as very offensive, particularly Christians. However, UK audiences love this kind of ironic and non PC humour. People somehow enjoy being shocked as long as it is over-the-top and melodramatic which this certainly is!

Im sad to read they are having money troubles. Im fascinated to see the reaction of US papers which are a little different to here. But I saw lots of Americans in the predominantly young audience and they seemed to enjoy it, though I did notice a few people walk out in disgust when the KKK appeared on stage.

It has done very well here and brought a different kind of audience to an 'opera' type of entertainment. Also, just to clarify the Jerry Springer Show is very well known here and has become part of modern culture as I believe it has in the US. It was very popular in its heyday (as was Rikki) and spawned a lot of UK chat shows in the style of Rikki Lake.

Its not all nonsense though, it does have a message by the end. I particularly enjoyed the mix of 'classical' opera with modern musical and some jazz thrown in for good measure. Somehow it works very well because it is not taking itself seriously.
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aco012000
 
  1  
Reply Sun 2 Jan, 2005 07:43 pm
Christian does not condone JS the Opera
How very very sad and offensive that what appears to be a very good (musically) show has to stoop to blasphemy and ridiculing the Son of God who came from heaven to pay the price for our sins, so as to get people to watch it.
It is due to be shown on TV in England and I for one, though there will be many, will not be watching if it makes it onto screen.
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material girl
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Jan, 2005 10:17 am
I watched it on TV last week and enjoyed it alot(Im from the UK)

I would like to comment that over the past couple of days there have been articles in the paper saying the TV person and other people who allowed it to be shown on TV have had to leave there own homes with their children because they have recieved death threats which police are taking seriously.

I can only assume they are from people who are offended by the shows content.
I consider THEM to be absolute hypocrits and 1,000 times worse than anybody that likes or is involved with the show.
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Tarah
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Jan, 2005 06:38 pm
Yes, Mac11, we do have Jerry Springer on TV here in the UK.

I watched it several times a few years ago but not recently. I fondly remember Laurie and Dory the conjoined twins. They were joined at the head and Dory would sit in a shopping cart and Laurie would push her.

I saw the Opera in the weekend. I can't say that I was at all shocked or bothered ..... my own feelings of heaven and hell are probably more shocking than anything shown on TV.

My favourite song? Talk to the hand. I love that expression .... perhaps I've got some "trailer park trash" lurking in my background. Rolling Eyes
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Clarity
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Aug, 2005 07:53 pm
Jerry Springer The Opera
I really hope the Opera reaches the USA, it's something special. I'm an opera/theatre lover, and I was bowled over by the wonderful talent and incredible music of this show. I was singing various numbers for weeks, and I just got the soundtrack to listen to because the music wouldn't get out of my head!!!

It's so important that somebody has the balls to go against the grain occasionally. Just because it includes the Ku Klux Klan doesn't mean its condoning them (it's not exactly flattering to have them tap dancing like morons!). It's poking fun at them, while delivering a very serious message about what it says about society as a whole for watching a show like this and making it "give or take a few million, bigger than the f***** Pope".

It's refreshing to see something where absolutely nothing is sacred, and the writers refuse to tiptoe around beliefs/moralities/anything that might offend. It'll get a lot of people protesting in the USA (the evangelicals will flip their lids big time) no doubt - and I say, thank God for that! I mean, come on people, it's better to debate than to pander!

PS - My fav song? Too many to pick from, but I think the Jesus/Satan operatic exchange is brilliant. And you can't beat "Talk to the Hand!".

BEST LINE: "I like flowers more than people." Laughing
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mac11
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Aug, 2005 09:58 pm
Hi Clarity, welcome to a2k. I completely agree that "it's refreshing to see something where absolutely nothing is sacred." We need lots more irreverence in the world!
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Able2Believe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 28 Aug, 2005 07:45 pm
my sister just told me about this very recently-- i am dying to see it. such a clever and unique idea-- anyone know when it is coming?
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flyboy804
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Aug, 2005 07:41 am
The latest word for Broadway is spring of 2006.
http://64.233.161.104/search?q=cache:zYmOIAgUanYJ:www.playbill.com/news/article/91440.html+jerry+Springer:+the+opera+Broadway&hl=en

If you have not already done so, you might also want to check my 27 0ct 2004 post on this thread.
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wisconsinguy
 
  1  
Reply Tue 27 Sep, 2005 07:01 pm
I hope the show comes to the States
Just some more perspective from an American who has seen the show. I saw it last fall in London and I really enjoyed it. My first thought though was that it would never play in the US. There are too many Americans who just wouldn't be able to accept the jokes and laugh without getting offended.
I am not a big fan of the Jerry Springer TV show, so I was a little hesitant about seeing the opera. I am glad I went though. It really makes fun of the TV show and the people who appear on it.
I hope it still comes to the U.S. because I would love to see it again, but I can just see the protests immediately trying to shut it down. Just some local perspective - here in Milwaukee we currently having people protesting at a shopping mall because the mannequins at Victoria's Secret are dressed and posed suggestively! Give me a break! Shocked
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bree
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Sep, 2007 09:13 pm
The Broadway production fell through, but now there's talk of a concert version to be performed at Carnegie Hall on two nights in January 2008:



Stay tuned.
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mac11
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Sep, 2007 07:58 am
Hi bree!

I'm sure that with only two performances, they will sell out. It seems to me that the protests would just help sales.
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