Get your tiara of pulltabs out ladies, Jerry Springer the Opera is now showing at the Mission’s historic Victoria Theatre.

And deep down, I think there’s a little Jerry Springer lover in all of us. Watching the trials and tribulations of guests whose lives are much more fucked up then our own gives us all a dose of entertaining escapism while confirming that we could have it much worse.

True to Jerry tradition, Ray of Light‘s bawdy performance is an entertaining blend of camp-filled drama with riotous musical numbers. The performance follows a loose script of one Springer episode gone horribly wrong, placing Jerry in a battle between Heaven and Hell.

What: Jerry Springer the Opera
When: September 10-October 6
Where: The Victoria Theatre, 2961 16th Street
Tickets: Buy online or by calling 1-800-838-3006

Without giving too much away, I will say that the show includes the Devil himself, transvestites, fetishism, strippers, and a healthy wallop of obscenities that would make any Jerry fan proud. Hearing the ensemble holler out “chick with a dick” was a personal favorite, as well as the musical numbers “Talk to the Hand” and “Diaper Man.” Make no mistake, this is not a performance you should take your child to, and there are certainly a fair share of should-I-really-be-laughing-at-this moments that are both purposefully uncomfortable and downright hilarious.

But the production’s humorous take on the iconic television show did not detract from the operatic prowess of the performers. While Patrick Dukeman as Jerry nailed the talk show host’s sympathetic mannerisms and midwestern accent, it was Tracy Camp, as “Peaches” and Timitio Artusio as “Tremont” who stole the show with their vocal range, character expression, and lyrical skills.

There’s also a deeper message hidden beneath the layers of stripper sequins and hillbilly suspenders. Director M. Graham Smith asks, “How does our American obsession with confessional and reality television, our aspirations for empty fame, and our glee at sneering over the mistakes of others function like a national religion?”

No easy answer there, but at least we all enjoyed the ride.

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