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Q/A: Max Von Essen of 'Jerry Springer' Gets Down & Dirty

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BroadwayWorld presents an exclusive "Down and Dirty" Q/A series with the cast of Jerry Springer The Opera in Concert... What's it like for these Broadway belters to perform the hilarious lyrics of such a potty-mouth and acclaimed production? What are these scandalous stars looking forward to?

Joining Harvey Keitel as "Jerry Springer" are Max von Essen as "Tremont," a transsexual involved in a love quadrangle, and Tony Award Nominee Emily Skinner as "Andrea," whose diaper-loving husband is having an affair with Baby Jane. Plus Linda Balgord as "Zandra, Irene & Mary," Lawrence Clayton as "Montel & Jesus," Luke Grooms as "Dwight & God," Sean Jennes as "Chucky," Sam Kitchin as "Steve," Patricia Phillips as "Peaches" and Laura Shoop as "Baby Jane."

Jerry Springer The Opera is inspired by America's most lurid TV talk show host who brought worldwide television audiences episodes including "Pregnant by a Transsexual," "Here Come the Hookers" and "I Refuse to Wear Clothes." The show opened in London to unprecedented rave reviews.

The smash hit London musical Jerry Springer The Opera will play Carnegie Hall (881 7th Avenue) for two nights only on January 29 and 30, 2008.

Max von Essen (Tremont)

TV's "The Jerry Springer Show" hit the airwaves in 1991 and recently celebrated its 3,000th episode.  Over the years, it has established a cult following.  What, in your opinion, attracts people in droves to the talk show?

Well, first off, people are crazy.  They love to see things that are outrageous.  I recently watched an interview with Jerry and he confirmed that that is the only criteria.  If someone calls them with a touching or sweet, emotional story, they are referred to other programs.  LOL.  The show truly exists to be outrageous and entertain.  It is a time in the day when people can escape their own, calm often predictable lives and laugh, be horrified and scream at the TV.  It's kind of brilliant.

Do you watch "The Jerry Springer Show?"  Do you have a favorite topic or episode?

I actually cannot watch it - I last a minute or so and then I feel like I need to either take a shower or read a book.  But I'm going to start watching it to do research and really understand the workings of it.  If I think of it as research then I can stomach it.  I think.

What excites you most about being a part of the cast of Jerry Springer The Opera in Concert at Carnegie Hall?

Well, other than performing at Carnegie Hall itself (unreal), definitely the challenges of my role.  I played a woman once in Chicago (Mary Sunshine), but Tremont is a complex, outrageous, sexy, bold, in your face pre-op trans-sexual.  Can't say I thought I'd be putting that on the resume anytime soon.  Dramatically and physically it is a challenge.  And vocally, forget it...it is insane - from tenor belting to operatic soprano.  Enjolras it is not.

If you were to guest on "The Jerry Springer Show," what would the topic be?

"Pain killer addicted Broadway actors who lose it at an audition and take out the whole casting office."  Wait, what?  Who wrote that?

Tickets for Jerry Springer The Opera – In Concert are $175.00 - $59.00 and are available now through CarnegieCharge at (212) 247-7800 or www.carnegiehall.org or by visiting the Carnegie Hall box office (57th Street & 7th Avenue).  Performances are Tuesday, January 29, 2008 at 8PM and Wednesday, January 30, 2008 at 8PM


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