The new work extended twice through Sept. 30 at the National's Lyttleton Theatre, where it was recorded live for the double CD — to be released Nov. 10. The £3 million commercial production heads to the Cambridge.
Jerry Springer is also reportedly exploring the possibility of a run in New York. The New York Times cited interest by the three major Broadway theatre owners — the Shuberts, the Nederlanders and Jujamcyn.
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 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 (as played by lookalike Michael Brandon), the TV show's head of security Steve Wilcos (Guy Porrit), a slew of trailer trash and omnisexual characters, some KKK members and Satan (David Bedella). 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.
Allan McKeown and Avalon Promotions produce the work in collaboration with The National Theatre. It is the first original musical to transfer from the 41-year-old theatrical institution.
The design team includes Julian Crouch (sets, animation), Leah Archer (costumes), Rick Fisher (lighting), Mike Walker (sound) and Eva Marieges-Moore (hair and make up).
The world premiere earned many rave reviews. Jerry Springer himself provides one of the show's press quotes saying, "Everyone is always telling me I am going to hell. Now I've seen it...I hope the show comes to America...I only wish I'd thought of it first."
Tickets to Jerry Springer — The Opera at The Cambridge Theatre, Earlham Street, Seven Dials, London, can be purchased by phone at 0870-890-1102 or 0870 060-1733. For more information, visit www.jerryspringertheopera.com.