Jerry Springer The Opera

This show has now closed, click here for a listing of current and future London shows

Previewed 9 April 2003, Opened 29 April 2003, Closed 30 September 2003 at the National Theatre's Lyttelton Theatre in London
Transferred: Previewed 14 October 2003, Opened 10 November 2003, Closed 19 February 2005 at the Cambridge Theatre

The West End transfer of Richard Thomas and Stewart Lee's controversial new musical opera Jerry Springer the Opera in London at the Cambridge Theatre.

Witness triumph, tragedy and trailer trash as high art meets low in the new genre-breaking opera. Triumph, Tragedy and Trailer Trash as High Art Meets Low. Come and see America's favourite talk show host suffer the worst day of his career. WINNER!! Best Musical!! - Evening Standard Theatre Awards - Olivier Awards - Critics' Circle Awards

It's got tragedy. It's got violence. It's got people screaming at each other. The television show that brought you programme titles such as Pregnant by a Transsexual; Here Come the Hookers; and I Refuse to Wear Clothes proved to be the pefect subject for opera, as the World Premiere recieved unprecedented rave reviews, standing ovations from critics and public alike and its run extended twice at the National Theatre. This followed the concert version of the show which was the hit of last year's Edinburgh Festival. As Richard Thomas said of the television show: "It's got tragedy. It's got violence. There are people screaming at each other and you can't understand what they're saying. It's perfect for opera." Jerry Springer himself said: "Now I've seen it... I hope it comes to America... I only wish I'd thought of it first." PLEASE NOTE that this production is not suitable for children.

Opera by Stewart Lee (writer/director) and Richard Thomas (composer/book/music/lyrics), produced by Avalon Promotions Ltd and Allan McKeown in association with the National Theatre and Battersea Arts Centre. Directed by Stewart Lee with choreographed by Jenny Arnold, sets designed by Julian Crouch, musical direction by Martin Lowe, orchestrations by Martin Koch, lighting design by Rick Fisher, sound by Mike Walker and costume design by Leah Archer.

"Even those not easily offended might find Jerry Springer The Opera too ripe an earful... The creation of composer Richard Thomas and co-writer Stewart Lee, this delicious, outrageous, high-camp satire of Springer-style confessional telly was nurtured at Battersea Arts Centre by its artistic director Tom Morris. The National's new head honcho, Nick Hytner, spotted its potential and here it is, almost grownup and now staged, choreographed, costumed and, above all, sung, with lavish and unfettered exuberance, the most original new musical since Shockheaded Peter... Opera meets junk in a resounding clash of cultures, a witty mismatch of the highbrow and the lowbrow. It's blasphemy, of course, but appropriately so because, in our twisted times when celebrity is all and life is lived secondhand via the telly through stars real and soapy, Jerry occupies a godlike status to the lowlifes who flock to him.... There's nothing more entertaining to be seen anywhere in London." The Mail on Sunday

"Nurtured at the Battersea Arts Centre, taken up at Edinburgh, publicised almost everywhere, Jerry Springer - The Opera arrives at the Lyttelton Theatre with all the signs of built-in success... We are launched into a parody of the notorious TV programme, with participants fessing up to kinky situations of a complexity that Krafft-Ebing never got round to, and brawls and taunts and four-letter insults, and dangerous-looking security men, and the soft-spoken host - all presented to the strains of imitation-Handel, ersatz Monteverdi and other pseudo-elevated compositions. The incongruity of high musical form and low content is of course the basis of the joke. Without it, the show would be pretty much a filthfest. To a considerable extent, it still is. But Stewart Lee (book and lyrics) and Richard Thomas (book, lyrics and score) are clever as well as outrageous. There are lots of inspired gags. The mimicry of the programme is spot-on." The Sunday Telegraph

"You have to hand it to Nicholas Hytner, the National Theatre's new director: he doesn't hang about. Less than a month into his reign, he opens his big-house operations with the most brilliantly scandalous and scandalously brilliant show in the institution's history... This is a bruising, shocking, irresistibly funny masterpiece all on its own; a big, boisterous, brazenly scabrous - nay, raucously filthy - morality play... From the prurient viewer's point of view, the whole thing is compulsively funny. I would not have thought that a send-up of Jerry Springer's show was possible; but I reckoned without the creators of this one. Richard Thomas's score is a brilliant patchwork of musical pastiche... Thomas collaborated on the book and lyrics with Stewart Lee, and together they have achieved a brilliantly vulgar and scabrous show. The studio confrontations are operatically passionate; they are both hilariously like the real thing and brilliantly preposterous parodies of it. The language is frequently filthy, but these people do not talk like that because they are swearing, but because they feel like it." The Sunday Times

Jerry Springer the Opera in London at the National Theatre previewed from 9 April 2003, opened on 29 April 2003 and closed on 30 September 2003, transferred to the Cambridge Theatre previewed from 14 October 2003, opened on 10 November 2003 and closed on 19 February 2005