Catholics Protest 'Jerry Springer: The Opera' at Anaheim Hills' Chance Theater, Calling it 'Blasphemous'

jerryspringeropera.jpg
​In  "Jerry Springer: The Opera," a musical production premiering on July 9 at Anaheim Hills' Chance Theater, a fat, gay Jesus gets fondled by Eve, and Mary is introduced to the audience with a chorus of, "Raped by an angel, raped by God!" 

Some Catholic groups aren't too pleased.  

Over the past week, the award-winning, 49-seat theater has been bombarded by more than 1,500 e-mails protesting the raunchy, expletive-ridden play, which had successful runs in London and New York. The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property is leading the campaign, urging Catholics to send out the messages. 

According to the group, examples of the show's "blasphemous content" include:

  • The crucifixion is mocked and the Eucharist is trashed.
  • There is a lady singing "Jerry eleison." (mocking the Mass: Kyrie Eleison)
  • Jesus is introduced as "the hypocrite son of the fascist tyrant on high." He wears a diaper, is fat and effeminate and later admits: "Actually, I am a bit gay."
  • Eve gropes Jesus in a manner too indecent to describe while the Annunciation is described as a rape.
  • God is a fat man in a white suit who complains about being blamed for everyone's problems.  He invites Jerry Springer to join Him to "sit in Heaven beside me, hold my hand and guide me."  At the end, Jerry emerges as the true savior of mankind. 
The vulgar, no-holds-barred production "follows Jerry Springer to the afterlife and beyond." Oanh Nguyen, the co-founder and artistic director for Chance Theater, says the play is not meant to be a mockery of Christianity, but rather an analysis of pop culture. 

"It is offensive," Nguyen admits. "It's X-rated without a doubt. It uses the word 'cunt.'  Act One ends with tap-dancing KKK line. But at the same time, I think it's a great musical. And it's funny as all heck.
 
"Ultimately, it's a satire," he adds. "I don't think the focus is really on religion. It's more on the value of reality shows like Jerry Springer. Are these shows holding up a mirror to parts of society we'd like to get forget, or are these shows exploiting these people? We would not put anything on that stage that we didn't believe has something interesting to say."   
  
Nguyen says he anticipated a backlash, as more than 1,500 people protested outside BBC offices in the UK when the network aired the production in 2005. Most of the e-mails they've gotten have been from outside Orange County and even the United States, but he's received angry phone calls from local Christians and Catholics as well.   

"It's sort of exciting and scary," he says. "We're actually talking about the safety of our cast.
At the same time, they have a right to free speech. It's gonna be interesting. If we don't take the risk, who will?"  

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12 comments
Otimepilot
Otimepilot

I went to see this last night and I was really disappointed there were no protestors outside! Come-on!!! It would of made the show so much better to pass a picket line!

Second, thank you protestors for advertising this show, I never would of know about it without you!  I had a great time!!

Mark
Mark

The last sentence is telling about how the artistic director feels about Catholics: "It's sort of exciting and scary," he says. "We're actually talking about the safety of our cast..."

What about the safety of Catholics when more and more people are encouraged by "art" such as this to disparage the Catholic religion and to disrespect our beliefs? Will the cast accept responsibility when anti-Catholic violence rears its ugly head in our society?

Baron
Baron

At one time, when Catholics really believed and tried to live the tenets of their beautiful faith (before the disastrous 1962-65 period, which gave the world a religion that is not truly Catholic)... the very thought of even placing this play as a form of "entertainment"....would have never been permitted....even by non-Catholics.

Now, even most Catholics----who are weak, complacent, and completely lacking in the most basic knowledge of their faith (ask one you know if you're not Catholic on say, naming the 7 Sacraments or the three conditions necessary for Mortal Sin; both are Catholicism 101)---and who are basically indistinguishable in how they think and act from their non-Catholic friends, won't even be have the gall to be offended----because they've been dumbed down to the point to not realize that their religion (if it's really theirs) is being insulted. 

And when I see religion, I do mean the One, Holy, Apostolic and Roman Church.  Yes, in 2011, there is still only One, True Church.

As for the creator of this play, I pity the man.  He may get all the approval from people in this world, but even that really brings no lasting happiness or peace of mind.  At some point, no matter who we are, we all die.

At death, all scores are settled; all injustices in life rectified. 

Then what???

Jarr
Jarr

The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property is the new American Taliban.  Ultra conservatives are all alike.

Jobeers
Jobeers

As long as the theater isn't blown up, there's no such thing as bad publicity!!

mitch young
mitch young

If this was a play making fun of Mohammad, the OC would be shouting itself horse shouting 'racist, xenophobic, islamophobic'. 

Bill T.
Bill T.

Porbably the same folks that protested "Life of Brian" without understanding what it is about. Same ilk as the super defenders of Islam, they don't seem to think heir beliefs are robust enough to withstand any hint of question so they get their drawers all up in a bunch even when there is no question of criticism, all it takes is perceived criticism.

Zhonghanu
Zhonghanu

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Soho_d J
Soho_d J

I saw this when it came to London, go see it and have fun. Cath-o-licks? You gotta be kidding me. Don't forget to buy a 'Crack Whore' shirt.

Mrs. B
Mrs. B

I saw it in London and can't wait to see it here in the OC.  It's hysterical and yes shocking, but it's ART and it's a show, it's not meant to be taken seriously!  People need to stop getting their knickers in a bunch.

Jack Green
Jack Green

Wonder how many times they've protested the pedo-protectionism of the Church? Anyway, I'm sure the Chance Theater is grateful for the free publicity.

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