Producer Says London's Jerry Springer - The Opera Won't Close for Now

Classic Arts News   Producer Says London's Jerry Springer - The Opera Won't Close for Now
 
"We have told Andrew Lloyd Webber's theatre company Really Useful Theatres (The owners of the Cambridge Theatre) that the show will not be closing. A final decision as to the future of Jerry Springer : The Opera will not be taken until the show's case with the Daily Mail is heard on Dec. 13."

So said Springer producer Jon Thoday in a statement released Oct. 29. Thoday was responding to a report, which first surfaced in The Independent, that the production was on the brink of closure due to the expenses incurred in a libel suit against the Daily Mail.

In March 2004 the Mail wrote that Jerry was in trouble, "losing money hand over fist." Avalon Productions and Allan McKeown, the show's producers, responded by opening their accounts to the newspaper, which printed a withdrawal. However, Avalon sought damages totalling, according to the Independent, £440,000 for loss of earnings due to the original article damaging the show's reputation with its target audience.

The court case has meant that hundreds of thousands of pounds have had to be diverted from the show's marketing budget to bolster the producers' war chest. Lead producer Jon Thoday told the newspaper that he cannot back down because paying the Mail's costs would be cripplingly pricey. Meanwhile audiences for the show have been faltering : thanks, says Thoday, to the lack of marketing.

The producers of the show are not, however, of one mind on the subject of the Daily Mail suit or its impact of the musical fortunes. Allan McKeown, producer of Jerry Springer : The Opera issued a statement October 25 which read: "Neither Allan McKeown nor the production of Jerry Springer The Opera are a party to, nor do they endorse, the action that Avalon Promotions (co-producer) has brought against the Daily Mail... The costs of any action are the sole responsibility of Avalon, should not be charged to the production nor affect the marketing of the show."

Jerry Springer is currently playing at the Cambridge Theatre. David Soul stars as Springer.

For more theater news, visit Playbill On-Line.


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