A scene from the London productionof Jerry Springer -- The Opera(© Catherine Ashmore)
A scene from the London production
of Jerry Springer -- The Opera
(© Catherine Ashmore)
Chicago's Bailiwick Repertory Theatre will present the American premiere production of Jerry Springer -- The Opera from May 3 through July 8, 2007. The official opening is slated for May 14.

Inspired by Jerry Springer's infamous NBC-TV show, the opera has music by Richard Thomas, book and lyrics by Thomas and Stewart Lee. It presents a series of unusual characters who each are desperate for their "Jerry Springer moment." In Act I, Springer's guests include a man with a fiancée, a lover, and another lover with a secret. Act II depicts Springer in hell.

The first fully-staged production of the show was presented at the National Theatre in London in 2003, to great acclaim. The opera then transferred to the Cambridge Theatre in the West End, where it ran until February 19, 2005 before beginning a tour of the U.K. Jerry Springer -- The Opera is the only show in history to win the Best Musical prize in all of the major British theater honors: Olivier Awards, Critic's Choice, Evening Standard, and What's On Stage. In May 2004, it was announced that the opera would open on Broadway in October 2005 after a short run in San Francisco, but that production was canceled, reportedly for financial reasons.

The Bailiwick production will be directed by David Zak, with musical direction by Gary Edward, costumes by Jeff Jones, lighting by Jared B. Moore, and choreography by Brenda Didier. The show will have a cast of 25, but the casting process has not yet begun. Anyone interested in auditioning for Jerry Springer -- The Opera should email a résumé and headshot to BRCasting@aol.com by November 19. The production will feature 11 soloists and a chorus of 12 in addition to the non-singing roles of Jerry Springer and his bouncer, Steve.

For more information on Bailiwick Repertory Theatre, visit www.bailiwick.org.