Springer will take over the role of Billy Flynn in Chicago at the West End's Cambridge Theatre, with performances beginning June 1 for a six-week season that is scheduled to run to July 11. It was also at the Cambridge Theatre that housed Jerry Springer – the Opera, though Springer didn't appear onstage himself: That role was played by American actor Michael Brandon.
At a press event to introduce Springer to the London media, Springer commented, "I love doing different things in my life. I can't think of anyone with a luckier life than I've had. I'm 65, and when someone comes to you and says, 'Would you like to be in a play on the West End?', particularly one with the impact of Chicago — wow, you'd be crazy to say no. And the role of Billy Flynn is actually one I'm reasonably comfortable with it – I know enough about the character, not just being from Chicago but I'm a lawyer and I'm also in show business. There are elements of the character that I can draw upon I think – I hope I'm not being naïve with this – like talking to the jury and the putting on of a big show."
He admitted, however, that "I'd do better if this was in a newspaper – I have a voice for newspaper and a face for radio." He revealed that he has never sung before, "not unless there's a shower going," but said, "I've seen the play obviously and I've seen the movie, and it's a do-able role. This really is a role that someone who isn't a professional in the musical business can fit into. It's the closest to a purely acting role there is. The range of singing doesn't require a Pavarotti, and I think I can carry a tune, so I'll give it my best shot."
If London works out, he doesn't rule out a possible appearance in the show on Broadway. "Who wouldn't want to be on Broadway, just like who wouldn't want to be on the West End? Let's see how comfortable I am doing this, but it's not beyond imagination that if this works well and I'm really enjoying it, to do a stint in this role. I understand why they asked me. 99.9 percent of the roles in theory you wouldn't even think of me – but with this role, I don't think it's a stretch for the public to suddenly see me doing that. Whether its the lawyer thing, the Chicago thing, the entertainment thing, it all kind of works – I 'get' Billy Flynn."
The musical currently stars Aoife Mulholland as Roxie Hart, Tiffany Graves as Velma Kelly, Ian Kelsey as Billy Flynn, Victor McGuire as Amos Hart and Brenda Edwards as Mama Morton. The company that will appear with Springer has not yet been announced. To book tickets contact the box office at 0844 412 4652 or visit www.chicagothemusical.co.uk.