WHAT “Jerry Springer — The Opera”
WHERE Pershing Square Signature Center, 480 W. 42nd St.
INFO $95-$135; 212-279-4200, thenewgroup.org
BOTTOM LINE Predictably vulgar and profane — with a touch of redemption.
The music is glorious, heavenly, operatic. But the words in “Jerry Springer — The Opera,” well let’s just say that vulgarly profane is an understatement, even if expected from a musical inspired by a show known for playing off society’s underbelly.
Yes, the show (a huge hit in London from 2003 to 2005) has the predictable players — the cheating fiance, the guy with the diaper fetish, the wannabe stripper. Also some stunning performances by Broadway A-listers Will Swenson as the warm-up man who morphs into Satan, and in the title role, Terrence Mann — along with an infectious, energetic ensemble that, strangely enough, makes you root for them despite their odd proclivities.
On one level, of course, this is simply high camp, genuinely entertaining for those who can stomach the language. But there are some more significant messages, notably from Springer (who’s been shot, complicated story). “I’d like to add my name to the list of celebrities calling for tighter gun control,” he proclaims, before the chorus repeatedly sings “Take care of yourselves and each other.” No matter what you think of guys in diapers, those words are something to reflect on these days.