I caught Balagan Theatre’s production of Jerry Springer: The Opera this evening at the Moore. It was an impressive production with a hugely talented cast. I was particularly impressed by the vocal and dramatic performance of Megan Chenovick in the role of Baby Jane. The character could easily lend itself to cheap laughs and flat, expository plot development, but Ms. Chenovick turned it into a well-rounded characters, full of pathos and personality, all while delivering a stunning vocal performance, to boot.

Sean Nelson’s roles of Jonathan Weiruss and Satan were also quite noticeable. Regular readers will know that I’m a huge fan of Nelson’s music, but this is the first time I’ve seen him in a dramatic production. His portrayal of a sycophantic warm-up man was believable and strangely charming in its eager cynicism. His Satan was appropriately flamboyant and commanding, effortlessly owning the stage and toying with Brandon Felker’s Jerry Springer. Nelson was flawless in the role of antogonist, playing a perfect foil to both the self-interested Springer and the self-pitying God.

In the end, the production was stunning, and my only real complaints are with the writing. The vernacular of the Ensemble got a little too camp at times (e.g. announcing Satan’s entrance with “Him am the Devil”). Many of the musical sections had no noticeable transitions, just sort of slamming into one another. The opening scene of the second act was heavy-handed with its cliche denigrations of the sort of blue collar Americans that are presumed to be fans of Jerry Springer.

I was also disappointed that there was no overture, but that’s really more a matter of taste.

Still, for its minor flaws, it was a hell of a show. Funny, fast-paced, brilliantly sung and acted, and with pleasingly anti-Manichean twist to it, it was well worth the price of admission. The show runs through this weekend, so if you’re in Seattle and can get tickets, I strongly suggest you do so.