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"Jerry Springer, the Opera": Theater Review 

Wednesday, Sep 22 2010

For all the camp and blasphemy, the West Coast premiere of Jerry Springer, the Opera, inspires more yawning than chair-throwing. Maybe it's because this is San Francisco, but shock value alone does not an operatic farce make, and there's only so much musical profanity you can take before it becomes tiresome. Directed by M. Graham Smith, with book and lyrics by Stewart Lee and Richard Thomas, the two-and-a-half-hour parody goes for the easy zingers, caricaturing the trailer-trash fame whores who make up the show's guests and audience. This does have a certain allure if you're in the mood, but then they had to ruin it by making it earnest. In Acts II and III, Jerry literally hears the music and starts to sympathize with the diaper-clad fetishists and dancing Ku Klux Klansmen he despises, but not before going to Hell and hosting an intervention between Jesus and Satan. While the vocal talent is impressive, the songs themselves are only catchy because of the sheer repetition and the novelty of such taboo topics as getting pissed on, sung in high falsetto. In short, go for the dick jokes, but don't stay for the attempted force-feeding of moral complexity.

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Anna Pulley


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