Jerry Springer - the Opera
A Musical in 3 Acts. Music by RICHARD THOMAS; Book and lyrics
by STEWART LEE & RICHARD THOMAS
A collaboration between Avalon, Allan McKeown and the National Theatre in association with BAC
LYTTELTON, London - 29 April - 30 August 2003. Transferred to CAMBRIDGE Theatre - 10 November, 2003
Director: Stewart Lee; Decor: Julian Crouch; Costumes: Leah Archer; Lighting: Rick Fisher; Sound: Mike Walker; Choreography: Jenny Arnold; Musical Director: Martin Lowe; Fights: Terry King
An anonymous mob assembles and reveals its hopes. dreams and secrets. and its love of the American TV talk show host, Jerry Stringer. After a brief squabble the crowd moves into a TV studio where Jerry Springer's Warm-Up Man, Jonathan Wiens. works them into a frenzy of expectation, culminating in the arrival of Jerry himself. Monitors descend and explain that the Jerry Springer Show may not be suitable for children. Jerry introduces his first guest, Dwight. Dwight is cheating on Peaches, who reveals she once enjoyed a moment of tenderness during a sexual encounter in a toilet.
Zandra, with whom Dwight is also sleeping, has drug problems and a nostalgic view of the past. The three argue and fight and Steve, the senior of Jerry's three security men, breaks them up.
A Valkyrie appears in Jerry's sub-conscious mind and admonishes him. Dwight is cheating on both Peaches and Zandra with a transsexual, Tremont, who arrives to tell his story egged on by the Warm-Up Man. Finally, Peaches wishes death and destruction on all three. A commercial break follows.
The over-zealous Warm-Up Man causes Jerry to fumble the introduction of the next guest. Montel, who is here to tell his partner, Andrea, that he enjoys dressing as a baby and soiling his own underwear. Jerry's inner-Valkyrie tries to stop his confession but it goes ahead anyway. Unburdened. Montel tells Andrea he is also seeing Baby Jane, a woman who likes to dress as a little girl. Baby Jane has a Jerry Springer moment of her own. The Warm-up Man returns to contribute to the general humiliation of Andrea. who is eventually left alone to lament her situation. A second commercial break follows.
Backstage, the Warm-up Man explains his relationship with Jerry and is then sacked for his unprofessional behaviour and expelled from the building by Steve, though not before Jerry has once again wrestled with his Valkyrie.
Jerry introduces his final guests. Shawntel, who wants to be a pole dancer and her disapproving husband, Chucky. Shawntel is persuaded to dance and then her mother, Irene, arrives. She alludes to a miserable incident in her past and then attacks her daughter. Chucky says he is the innocent one in the story, but Jerry calls on secret camera footage which reveals him to be a patron of strip-clubs and a member of the race-hate organisation, the Ku Klux Klan.
Amidst general brawling Jerry welcomes the Klan to the stage. During the ensuing struggle, Montel is given a gun by the Warm-Up Man which he aims at the Klan. The Warm-Up Man jostles him and he accidentally shoots Jerry who collapses into the arms of his faithful servant, Steve.
Jerry awakes, wounded and in a wheelchair. He is
in a fog enshrouded wilderness, surrounded by nurses and accompanied
by Steve. He is made to inspect a bed-pan and then introduced to
shadowy incarnations of his former guests, all of whom have suffered
unpleasant fates. Baby Jane returns too, with a household tool stuck
in her skull. Jerry attempts to justify himself to the dead guests.
Baby Jane warns him of impending doom. The Warm-Up Man and two of
the security team stage a grand entrance. and reveal themselves as
Satan and his servants. Satan extols the virtues of falling
from grace. Baby Jane pleads unsuccessfully for Jerry's soul. Satan tells Jerry he wants him to go to Hell to do a special show for him. He shows Jerry the severed head of his manager, and explains that if he refuses to help him he will be sexually assaulted with serrated fencing material.
Jerry acquiesces and he and Steve descend to hell.
Baby Jane announces the arrival of Jerry and Steve in Hell, which is a charred and smouldering recreation of their own TV studio, with burned-out chairs and an audience imprisoned in cracks in its walls. Monitors descend and explain that the Jerry Springer Show In Hell might not he suitable for those without a strong grasp of Judeo-Christian mythology. Baby Jane gives Jerry cue cards which introduce Satan who is clearly running the show as something of a kangaroo court. He wants an apology for his expulsion from heaven and forces Jerry to work only within the boundaries of the cue cards he has been given.
Jerry is made to introduce the next guest, Jesus, who bears striking similarities to the diaper fetishist Monte!. Jesus and Satan indulge in a battle of wits. Satan's next witnesses are Adam and Eve, who resemble Chucky and Shawntel. They take Jesus to task, with Eve eventually physically attacking him. Jesus' mother Mary, who reminds us of Irene, is called and she leads a general condemnation of Jesus. The frustrated audience and guests eventually turn on Jerry himself who says he will not be able to solve their dispute without a miracle. God, Angel Gabriel, Archangel Michael and a host of lesser angels arrive. God has the statuesque presence of Dwight, whilst Gabriel and Michael are angelic replicas of' Tremont and Andrea. God asks Jerry for help judging mankind. Jerry accepis his offer to reign alongside him in !leaven and the two opposing sides both fight over Jerry, with the devils eventually restraining him in a gibbet, swinging high over a pit of flame.
Jerry pleads for his life with a series of glib homilies,
but eventually abandons hope and in doing so makes an honest statement
which resounds with his audience. Heaven and Hell put aside their differences
and join in a hymn of praise to all life. Everyone disperses and Jerry
is lowered to the ground where he meets Steve and Baby Jane, who tells
him he must, against his will, now return to Earth. There, Jerry awakes,
in his studio, dying in
Steve's arms. He makes a final speech and his audience and guests are joined in sorrow.
A sumptuous closing number of thirty three tap dancing Springers then makes the show's opaque doctrine of moral relativism more acceptable to West End audiences.
ACT 1 - EARTH
- Overtly-ture - Full company except Warms-Up Man
- Audience Very Plainsong - Pull company except Warm-Up
Man and Jerry
- Ladies and Gentlemen - Ensemble and Warm-Up Man
- Have Yourselves a Good Time - Ensemble and Warm-Up
- Bigger than Oprah Winfrey - Ensemble and Warm-Up
- Foursome Guests - Jerry. Ensemble. Dwight. Peaches.
- I've Been Seeing Someone Else - Jerry. Ensemble.
Dwight, Peaches. Zandra, Valkyrie. Steve
- Chick With a Dick - Ensemble, Tremont
- Talk to the Band - Jerry. Ensemble. Tremont. Dwight.
Peaches, Zandra. Warm-Up Man
- Adverts 1 - Ensemble
- Intro to Diaper Man - Jerry. Ensemble. Warm-Up
- Diaper Man - Jerry. Ensemble. Montel. Andrea,
- Montel Cums Dirty - Jerry. Montel
- This Is My Jerry Springer Moment - Jerry. Ensemble,
- Mama Gimmec Smack on the Asshole - Jerry, Ensemble.
Baby Jane. Andrea. Montel. Warm-Up Man
- I Wanna Sing Something Beautiful - Jerry. Andrea
- Adverts 2 - Ensemble
- The First Time I Saw Jerry - Warm-Up Man. Jerry
- Backstage Scene - Warm-Up Man, Jerry. Valkyrie
- Poledancer - Jerry, Ensemble. Shawntel. Chucky
- I Just Wanna Dance - Ensemble, Shawntel, Jerry
- It Has No Name - Jerry. Ensemble, Irene, Shawntel,
- Some are Descended from Angels - Jerry, Ensemble.
Irene, Shawntel, Chucky
- Jerrycam - Pull company
- Klan Entrance - Full Company
ACT 2 - PURGATORY
- Gloomy Nurses - Jerry. Ensemble
- Purgatory Dawning - Jerry
- Eat Excrete - Jerry. Ensemble. Shawntel. Chucky.
Tremont. Andrea. Dwight. Irene
- The Haunting - Jerry. Ensemble. Shawntel. Chucky.
Tremont. Andrea. Dwight. Irene. Baby Jane
- Him Am the Devil - Full company
- Every Last Mother Fucker Should Go Down - Full
- Grilled and Roasted - Full company
ACT 3 - HELL
- Transition Music - Full company
- Once in Happy Realms of Light - Jerry. Ensemble,
- Fuck You Talk - Jerry. Ensemble. Satan. Jesus
- Satan & Jesus Spat - Jerry. Ensemble. Satan.
- Adam and Eve and Mary - Jerry. Ensemble. Jesus.
Satan. Adam. Eve. Mary
- Where Were You? - Jerry. Ensemble. Jesus, Satan.
Adam. Eve, Mary
- Behold God - Jerry. Ensemble. God. Angel Gabriel.
Archangel Michael, Jesus. Satan. Adam. Eve, Mary
- It Ain't Easy Being Me Part I - Jerry. Ensemble,
God. Angel Gabriel. Archangel Michael, Jesus, Satan. Adam. Eve, Mary
- It Ain't Easy Being Me Part 2 - Jerry. Ensemble,
God. Angel Gabriel. Archangel Michael, Jesus, Satan. Adam. Eve. Mary
- Marriage of Heaven & Hell - Jerry. Ensemble,
God. Angel Gabriel. Archangel Michael. Jesus. Satan, Adam, Eve, Mary
- This is my Cheesey Jerry Springer Moment - Ensemble
- Jerry it is Finished - Jerry. Baby Jane
- Jerry Eleison - Baby Jane
- Please Don't Die - Full company
- Take Care - Pull company
- Martin's Richard-esque Finale de Grand Fromage -
- Play Out - Full company
Original London Cast Recording.