|Photo by Catherine Ashmore|
Jerry Springer—The Opera began as a "scratch night" 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. The London cast features Alison Jiear, David Bedella, Valda Aviks, Michael Brandon, Wills Morgan, Benjamin Lake, Lore Lixenburg and Sally Bourne.