An Off-Broadway production of Jerry Springer: The Opera, the cult mash-up of high art and the lowest form of television, will arrive in New York this winter, over a decade after plans to bring the stage show to Broadway fell through.
Jerry Springer: The Opera, a spoof of the sleazy long-running daytime talk show, will be performed as part of the New Group’s 2017-18 season, 14 years after the British musical won the Olivier Award for Best New Musical in 2003.
“Jerry! Jerry! Jerry! It’s The Jerry Springer Show as you’ve never seen it before, with passionate arias, soaring ballads, and giant production numbers,” the New Group described the production. “While the studio audience cheers, a parade of bickering guests fight and curse, until violence breaks out and Jerry must face his trickiest guest ever.”
The New Group added that Jerry Springer: The Opera especially resonates now as it is “deeply in tune with the chaos and unrestrained id of our times.”
Following its U.K. success, plans to bring Jerry Springer to Broadway were discussed in 2003 but ultimately never came to fruition. However, in 2008, Jerry Springer: The Opera had its New York debut with a two-night performance at Carnegie Hall; Harvey Keitel portrayed the titular talk show host for the Carnegie shows.
A BBC production of the Jerry Springer opera caused controversy in the United Kingdom, with blasphemy charges nearly pressed against the network for the musical’s depiction of Christianity.
In 2008, Springer revealed that he had seen the opera when it ran in London. “Well, I saw it. When it opened, they invited me to see it on the West End in London. I thought they did a really good job,” he told the A.V. Club.
“I mean, I’d prefer it were about someone else. It was awkward for me to watch it. For one, it’s about yourself, so there’s no common experience. There’s no one I can ask, ‘Gee, how did you feel?’ I can’t call Figaro or Carmen and say, ‘Hey, how did you feel about your opera?’ It’s just a very personal moment that I can’t express to anybody. And then I felt a little bit awkward because, as I was watching it, everyone was looking at me to see what my reaction was. It was uncomfortable.”