“Want it to be just like old times, with baby Jesus by my side, I want my old wings back as well, wanna get out of this dump called Hell, but first and most importantly, I want a f-ing apology!” So says Satan in this zany, crazy, unfettered opera in which Jerry Springer — of the famously raucous talk show — has a day that is, quite literally, hell. The poor man has to deal with a crazily obsessed warm-up man, guests who act completely insane, and a very annoying inner Valkyrie. That's enough to send anyone over the edge!
However, after dealing with a bisexual man who is cheating on the woman he is cheating on his fiancée with, a man who wants to be his baby's baby, and a red-neck who is part of the tap-dancing Ku Klux Klan, Jerry doesn’t get to just go home and sleep. The Prince of Darkness recruits Jerry to put on a special show for him after our host is shot in order to get an apology from Jesus. Now, there are two rules he gives Jerry: 1) read the cue cards and 2) get that apology. If Jerry doesn’t get the Devil the apology, he will have barbed wire shoved into the most unsavory of places.
The Devil really steals the show. Sean Nelson, formerly of Seattle indie-rock band Harvey Danger, plays the Prince of Darkness, and he has a simply phenomenal voice that brings tremendous power and, dare I say, sex appeal to his dastardly role. Costumed in a deep purple smoking jacket, he reminds us all that "everyone must go down" in the end. Between threatening Jerry with barbed wire and awkwardly slow-dancing with God, Nelson as Satan really captured my interest. His range is astounding, and his lung capacity stole my heart. I have rarely seen or heard someone with lungs like his, and that was enough of a treat for me that I'm going to go back to see Jerry Springer: The Opera a second time!
Now, this isn’t a show for the novice theater-goer, or for the under-17 crowd. Nor is it a show you would take your conservative parents or your significant other’s family to. This is a show you go to so you can laugh at everyone, relax, cuss your heart out, and generally have a blast.
I leave you with the final words of Jerry himself: “It’s been a hell of a day. I’ve learned that there are no absolutes of good and evil and we all live in a glorious state of flux. What can I say? You’re not looking at a dying man here… you’re looking at yourselves in a matter of months or years or whatever. And for better or worse, history defines us by what we do, and what we choose not to do. Hopefully, what will survive of us is love. So, until the next time, take care of yourselves and each other.”
Jerry Springer: The Opera