• Jerry Springer: The Opera- The Devil Takes Over in Jerry Springer: The Opera, The Studio Theatre, Washington, DC

  • Jerry Springer: The Opera- Jerry Springer Awakens after Being Shot in Jerry Springer: The Opera - The Studio Theatre, Washington, DC

  • Jerry Springer: The Opera

    Jerry Springer: The Opera is a critique of contemporary American culture and the obsession with seedy, bare-all talk shows on which people reveal their inner-secrets to the public.

    In the production, Jerry dismisses one of his employees who later takes revenge by shooting Springer. In the following acts, the audience journeys through Jerry's subconcious as he wrestles with the ethics of exploitation and he hosts a special version of The Jerry Springer Show in Hell.

    Design Context

    In many ways, the theatrics of the Jerry Springer television show work well in the musical theatre genre. The bold, operatic arias in the musical are a stylized example of guests' rants on the television program, just as the fights on the television program lend themselves well to large dance numbers and ridiculous fights on stage.

    For our design team (and particularly from the lighting perspective), the greatest challenge was to help demonstrate that the play is initially set in reality but soon falls into the world of Jerry Springer's subconcious.

    The reality of the Springer television show was easy to create (after all, we had hundreds of hours of The Jerry Springer Show as a research guide). In addition, both the television program and the play deal with archetypes, which really called for us to create a stereotypical version of Hell, flaming pits and all.

    The challenge was to find an idea to help the audience follow Jerry into his subconcious and into a more and more ridiculous (both in action and design) place. The idea we landed upon was, for all intents and purposes, a personal purgatory for Springer. As Springer tries to discover if he is dead will ascend into Heaven or fall into Hell, he is visited by the images of characters from his past, but he cannot directly interact with them. The lighting design needed to support this idea of Jerry's unknown. . . this idea that he had no access to the real world.

    To achieve this, I decided to intensify the color (ultimately choosing deep blue) outside of what we see in the natural world. In addition, the distribution angle of the lighting fixtures steepened significantly to cast greater shadows across the ensemble. This achieved a shadowed look around the eyes of the cast that reinforced the idea that Springer could not access his memories. In this section, I only used one follow spot on Springer to pull him out of the world of blue and shadow. This contained Springer, creating a further separation between him and his memories.

    Metheny Theatre - The Studio Theatre, Washington, D.C.

    The Metheny Theatre, designed by Russell Metheny, is a thrust space that seats about 200 audience members. The thrust is shallow, as is the depth of the area upstage of the "plaster-line." However, the space is extremely wide and boasts a wonderful verticality, which enables productions to build up as well as out towards the audience. There are two aisles for the audience, which are often utilized by performers as well.

    For Jerry Springer: The Opera, the ensemble sat in the house with the paying audience, thus engaging the patrons as members of the live studio audience of The Jerry Springer Show.

    Production Photographs

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    Springer Production Photographs

Enemy of The People

Production Photographs

Rimers of Eldritch

Light Plot and Drawings

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