cast of jerry springer opera to sing at Christian concert - news from ekklesia

By staff writers
January 12, 2005

Cast of Jerry Springer opera to sing at Christian concert -12/01/05

Cast members of the controversial show Jerry Springer - The Opera, which includes some Christians, are to sing for charity at Chelmsford Cathedral. They are taking part in a concert to raise money for victims of the Boxing Day tsunami disaster. Clergy at the Essex cathedral assured concert-goers that the cast would sing appropriate songs. Religious groups had protested over a screening of the musical on BBC Two branding it "blasphemous". But other Christians who see some merit in the show and who opposed banning it from late-night TV told Ekklesia that they did not wish to be named because of what one described as ìthe unhealthy climate of abuse against dissenters stoked up by moral panic tactics.î Jonathan Bartley, Ekklesia's director did however suggest that protests by Christians only reinforced the very stereotypes of God and Jesus Christ that they were trying to protest against. Christians would have done far better, he said, to take the opportunity to engage meaningfully with the important moral issues of life, relationships, justice and the problem of evil, that the opera raised. The Bishop of Worcester also criticised the campaigners. Before the show was broadcast Christians burned their television licenses in protest, posted private names and addresses of BBC executives on a web site leading to threats of violence, and exaggerated the number of swearwords contained in the production by counting every expletive uttered by each member of the operatic chorus. Their actions however appear to have had the opposite of their intended effect. The TV ratings for the Opera were boosted significantly. Londonís Cambridge Theatre has also now offered people carrying Bibles a discount to the musical, enabling them to get in for just £10. Other stars from West End musicals, as well as singers from the Royal Opera House are to appear at the charity concert, entitled 'A New World', to raise funds for the tsunami appeal. It will take place on Sunday 23 January at 1945 GMT, and will feature some well-known songs from the shows. Stars include David Bedella, winner of the Olivier award for best actor in a musical in 2004, and fellow prize-winner Ben Lake. The Bishop of Chelmsford, the Rt Rev John Gladwin, chairman of Christian Aid, is due to attend the concert.

Cast of Jerry Springer opera to sing at Christian concert -12/01/05

Cast members of the controversial show Jerry Springer - The Opera, which includes some Christians, are to sing for charity at Chelmsford Cathedral. They are taking part in a concert to raise money for victims of the Boxing Day tsunami disaster. Clergy at the Essex cathedral assured concert-goers that the cast would sing appropriate songs. Religious groups had protested over a screening of the musical on BBC Two branding it "blasphemous". But other Christians who see some merit in the show and who opposed banning it from late-night TV told Ekklesia that they did not wish to be named because of what one described as ìthe unhealthy climate of abuse against dissenters stoked up by moral panic tactics.î Jonathan Bartley, Ekklesia's director did however suggest that protests by Christians only reinforced the very stereotypes of God and Jesus Christ that they were trying to protest against. Christians would have done far better, he said, to take the opportunity to engage meaningfully with the important moral issues of life, relationships, justice and the problem of evil, that the opera raised. The Bishop of Worcester also criticised the campaigners. Before the show was broadcast Christians burned their television licenses in protest, posted private names and addresses of BBC executives on a web site leading to threats of violence, and exaggerated the number of swearwords contained in the production by counting every expletive uttered by each member of the operatic chorus. Their actions however appear to have had the opposite of their intended effect. The TV ratings for the Opera were boosted significantly. Londonís Cambridge Theatre has also now offered people carrying Bibles a discount to the musical, enabling them to get in for just £10. Other stars from West End musicals, as well as singers from the Royal Opera House are to appear at the charity concert, entitled 'A New World', to raise funds for the tsunami appeal. It will take place on Sunday 23 January at 1945 GMT, and will feature some well-known songs from the shows. Stars include David Bedella, winner of the Olivier award for best actor in a musical in 2004, and fellow prize-winner Ben Lake. The Bishop of Chelmsford, the Rt Rev John Gladwin, chairman of Christian Aid, is due to attend the concert.

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