Jerry! Jerry!

Springer opera to open in London

The comic opera based on Jerry Springer is to make its full-scale theatrical debut on London's South Bank.

The show, written by comedian Stewart Lee and composer Richard Thomas, opens at the National Theatre in April.

It is the first new opera to be presented by the theatre, and will be the first production at the Lyttelton Theatre to be chosen by incoming National director Nicholas Hytner

Jerry Springer: The Opera began life at The Battersea Arts Centre in 2001, funded by Thomas. It was developed through a series of public workshops, which were seen by such theatrical luminaries as Andrew Lloyd Webber and Cameron Mackintosh, as well as various Broadway producers.

The concert version, featuring a chorus line of singing and dancing Ku Klux Klansmen and songs such as Three Nipple Cousin Fucker, and Bisexual Bye-Bye, was performed at the Edinburgh Fringe this summer to glowing reviews. (Click here to read Chortle's five-star write-up)

Thomas and Lee have turned down offers of West End and Broadway productions to complete the opera with the National.

Hytner said: "I've followed the development of Jerry Springer ­ The Opera since I saw it in a workshop production 18 months ago at Battersea Arts Centre.

"It's exactly the kind of work the National should be doing: bold, scabrous, funny and beautiful. I'm delighted to be working with Richard Thomas and Stewart Lee on their groundbreaking new opera."

And Lee said: "I'm really pleased to be directing Jerry Springer - The Opera at the National Theatre as it is on the 243 bus route that goes directly to my home in Hackney."

Tickets will go on sale early in the New Year.

Published: 4 Dec 2002

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