Given the 40,000 protest e-mails Balagan Theatre says it received from angry Christians before opening night, you won't be shocked to learn Jerry Springer: The Opera is as obscene and profane as billed. Klansmen tap-dance, talk-show guests smear themselves with feces, and Satan tells a diapered Jesus to fuck off—that's all consistent with the lowbrow spirit of the TV show the opera apes. But in addition to being foul, this coproduction with Seattle Theatre Group is both consistently funny and vocally gorgeous—and that may come as a bit of a revelation.
There's not much of a plot per se—the first act is basically an episode of The Jerry Springer Show set to music, in which Jerry (Brandon Felker) is killed; the second act is a Jerry Springer Show episode set in hell (with Satan played by Sean Nelson). But what makes this show work is the single precarious premise that juxtaposes a classically operatic score against a blasphemous and intentionally offensive libretto: