Almost one-third of the theatres who had agreed to house the show have changed their minds, apparently worried about the scope of Christian Voice led protests. The movement against the BBC broadcast led to some top BBC executives receiving threats of violence and taking police protection.
It’s not the first victory for the group. A charity that was to have received money after a special benefit performance of the show recently refused the funds after being warned by Christian Voice. However, the U.K. tour should still go ahead, though not before 2006.
Popular demonstrations against controversial shows have been rife lately. As well as the Springer case, Sikh rioting in Birmingham led to the cancellation of the play Behzti. And Moscow in Russia has also experienced mass protests outside the Bolshoi Opera House, over the opera Rosenthal’s Children, which is about cloning.
The producer of Springer, John Thoday, assured the Stage Newspaper that the tour will now launch in January 2006 in Plymouth, as long as more theatres don’t pull out. “We are absolutely determined to make it happen . . . and we thank the theatres that are being supportive. Jerry Springer has won more awards than any other new musical written by British writers. That small group of reactionary individuals cannot stop something being presented,” he told the newspaper.
The Ambassadors Theatre Group issued a statement in support of the show, insisting, “We look forward to bringing this multi award-winning production to a wider audience in the U.K.” Meanwhile, Christian Voice told the Stage they are calling for a “prayer vigil” outside any theatre which shows the musical. Thoday’s next show is a musical of a Christmas classic, It’s A Wonderful Life (no opening date is scheduled yet). At a workshop to which Playbill.com was invited, there were no swear-words, no diaper-wearing messiahs and no devils. In fact, David Bedella, who played Satan in Springer, joined the workshop playing an angel.