London's Independent reports that Thomas is currently writing the libretto for an opera about the life of Smith, who died last year of a drug overdose. Mark-Anthony Turnage is composing the score for the new work, which will be staged at the Royal Opera House featuring a 90-piece orchestra. Thomas told the London paper, "It's an incredible story. It's very operatic and sad. She was quite a smart lady with the tragic flaw that she could not seem to get through life without a vat of prescription painkillers."
Born in November 1967, Vickie Lynn Marshall — who adopted the stage name Anna Nicole Smith — was a model and TV personality who was the 1993 Playmate of the Year. She was also embroiled in a lengthy battle with the family of her late husband, J. Howard Marshall, who was 63 years her senior. Smith died Feb. 8, 2007, from an accidental overdose shortly after giving birth to her daughter. Her son had also died just months earlier from a drug overdose.
Featuring music by Richard Thomas with book and lyrics by Stewart Lee and Thomas, Jerry Springer — The Opera began as a "scratch night" event in 2001, then underwent a number of workshops before making a splash — also in a concert version — at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2002. National Theatre artistic director Nicholas Hytner picked up the work in his first season running the National. The show, based on the world of the American talk-show host Jerry Springer, recently made its New York debut at Carnegie Hall.