According to the Daily Mail newspaper, Michael Brandon will soon give up the title role in Jerry Springer — The Opera. And Tonight’s the Night, the critically trashed Rod Stewart musical, will close in the autumn. Brandon has played Springer since the show, by Richard Thomas and Stuart Lee, premiered at the National Theatre in 2003. While not a household name, he is the only current member of the cast with a high profile to the majority of the British public, thanks to his starring role in 1980’s TV cop series, “Dempsey and Makepeace.”
Springer not only continues in London but is being prepared for its American launch in San Francisco in spring 2005. Any such roll-out for Tonight’s the Night must be viewed as highly unlikely now that the London production is to shut its doors after less than a year. Neither the show’s catalogue of Rod Stewart numbers, nor the fact that Ben Elton — whose other pop catalogue musical, We Will Rock You, featuring the songs of Queen, is still strutting its stuff at the Dominion Theatre more than two years later — wrote the book could save it.
Favorite to replace Tonight’s the Night at the Victoria Palace is Billy Elliot — The Musical. Billy, expected to announce its cast within weeks, begins its life at the Newcastle Opera House on Nov. 29.