Report: Brit Producer Drops Investment in Broadway Run of Jerry Springer — The Opera

News   Report: Brit Producer Drops Investment in Broadway Run of Jerry Springer — The Opera Producer Allan McKeown has pulled out of the upcoming Broadway staging of his London hit Jerry Springer — The Opera, which he co-produces in the West End with Avalon UK Productions, according to The New York Post.

The local publication purports that McKeown was to have funded half of the $11-$13 million musical which is set for an out-of-town tryout at San Francisco's Orpheum Theatre in the spring of 2005 before a New York run that fall.

"Allan decided that it was too expensive," Avalon's Jon Thoday told the Post, citing his confidence that the investment will be replaced. "I am convinced that it has a wide audience. It's been harder to reach that audience than we expected, but when they do come, they love it. In London, a lot of Americans are coming to see it, and we are starting to do really well on the holidays."

Production spokespersons could not confirm that McKeown would not be involved with the Broadway staging.

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Jerry Springer — The Opera began as an event in 2001 with creator-composer Richard Thomas, then underwent a number of workshops before making a splash — in concert version — at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2002. New National Theatre Artistic Director Nicholas Hytner, who had followed the show's evolution, decided to present it as his first production and the National's first new opera, saying "It's exactly the kind of work the National should be doing: bold, scabrous, funny and beautiful." The opera extended twice at the National's Lyttleton Theatre, where it was recorded live for the currently-released double CD.

The stage work centers on its title character, talk show host Jerry Springer, and his widely followed television program. Known for its volatile and outrageous guests — who at times assault each other — the show's topics have ranged from "Hillbilly Love Triangles!" and "A Transsexual Turned Me On!" to "Surprise! I Have a Bisexual Lover" and "I Refuse to Wear Clothes." After the traditional "Jerry! Jerry!" chant, the show concludes with Springer's Final Thoughts — in which the host comments on the proceedings in an attempt to make sense of it all.

Characters featured in the production include Jerry, the TV show's head of security Steve Wilcos, a slew of trailer trash and omnisexual characters, some KKK members and Satan.

Jerry Springer — The Opera features music by Richard Thomas with book and lyrics by Stewart Lee and Thomas. Lee also directs. Jenny Arnold choreographs as Terry King handles fight direction. Martin Kock is musical arranger and orchestrator. Martin Lower serves as musical director and supervisor and provides vocal arrangements.

For more information on Jerry Springer — The Opera, visit www.jerryspringertheopera.com.