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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 November, 2003, 08:05 GMT
Springer leads West End ovation
Jerry Springer and Michael Brandon
Jerry Springer found Michael Brandon's portrayal uncanny
Chat show host Jerry Springer led the standing ovation at the West End première of a musical about him.

Jerry Springer - The Opera opened at the Cambridge Theatre on Monday after transferring from a successful run at the National Theatre.

Springer met the actor who plays him, Michael Brandon, before the curtain went up.

"The first time I saw the show it was physically uncomfortable. It really is strange," Springer said.

Brandon is best known for his role in TV cop series Dempsey and Makepeace.

Springer said: "He's got my gestures and the physical sense of me down so well.

Jerry Springer - The Opera
Dempsey and Makepeace actor Michael Brandon plays Springer
"Unless you have an identical twin you won't get to experience something like it.

Other guests at the première included former TV presenter John Leslie, with girlfriend Abi Titmus, Sir David Frost, Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson, Pop Idol judge Simon Cowell and actress/comedian Tracey Ullman.

The show centres around Springer's talk show and features a nappy-wearing man and tap-dancing Ku Klux Klan members.


The show, written by Richard Thomas and Stewart Lee, started at the Battersea Arts Centre in south London last year, before being picked up by the National Theatre.

The show was a big hit for new National boss Nicholas Hytner, and saw its run extended twice.

British composer Mr Thomas said Springer's show provided the ideal format for opera.

"It's got tragedy. It's got violence. There are people screaming at each other and you can't understand what they're saying," he said.

"It's perfect for opera."

Producers plan to take the £3m production to Broadway next year.

The BBC's Rosie Millard
"It's part of the National's aim to extend its appeal"

Springer opera gets West End run
04 Jul 03  |  Entertainment
Springer unveils villain role
21 May 03  |  Entertainment
Springer considers political future
24 Jan 03  |  Entertainment
Hytner takes National Theatre reins
01 Apr 03  |  Entertainment

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