Jerry Springer, the Opera – Hart House

By Dana Lacey


Jerry Springer-the Opera is tacky, cheesy and bound to offend you. In other words–go see this show. The premise: a man hosts a talk show that caters to the voyeur in us all. His lineup includes cheated lovers, secret fetishes and a women who just wants to follow her dream of dancing on a pole.

Right before intermission, Springer is shot. He finds himself in front of Satan, who offers him a choice between eternal suffering and hosting a reconciliation show. Seems Satan wants Springer to settle the oldest of feuds.

Special guests include Mary, mother of God, and Jesus, who sparkles in sequins and can’t stop complaining about that dying for our sins thing. Springer’s assignment: get god to apologize for throwing the devil out of heaven. (God would rather that Satan talked to the hand.)

Springer, of course, needs no introduction. The production takes everything you love about him and his show–the incredulous asides, the chair-throwing, that security guy named Steve–and turns it into a beautifully-sung opera. The actors are also singers, and even the trashiest, weirdest and wildest guests can reach notes no amateur could hope to achieve.

Insults are sung instead of shouted, and the music is performed by a live band (the conductor gets really into it, occasionally taking a page from the brilliant concerts conducted by Mr. Bugs Bunny).

I liked everything about this play/opera, especially the devil, played by Jason Zinger, who managed to sing, dance and flail with just the right amount of cheese. Springer’s audience (the huge ensemble) sometimes stole the show–each had specific characters and personalities that are bound to remind you of people you know (or maybe sat beside on the streetcar.) The friend I brought couldn’t stop laughing.

It’s not that easy to describe Jerry Springer, the Opera. It’s horribly clichéd yet socially insightful, like watching an episode of South Park. It got surreal at times as the music overtook the content of the conversation, like the melodic chorus composed entirely of the c-word.

See this show, there’s something to offend everyone.

Jerry Springer- The Opera runs until Oct 10, 2009 at Hart House Theatre (7 Hart House Circle, University of Toronto)
– Shows run Wednesdays to Saturdays at 8pm

– Tickets: Adults $25, Students & Seniors $15, $10 student tickets every Wednesday night

-Tickets are available online or by calling the box office at (416) 978-8849

Photo by Daniel Dimarco