Jerry Springer stars as the flamboyant attorney Billy Flynn in "Chicago" next month at the Academy of Music and also soon plays the role on Broadway, but fear not, the king of trashy talk shows isn't giving up his bread and butter any time soon. "It's two days a week. It's mindless. Anyone could do it," says Springer of his relaxed schedule of taping three episodes on Mondays and two on Tuesdays of the syndicated show he's hosted for 19 years.
He says "Chicago" producers offered him the role after seeing him on "Dancing with the Stars," and they hired him before they bothered to ask if he could sing. "I can carry a tune," he says of his singing skills.
The talk-show host has earned great reviews for his performance as Flynn on the London stage and before opening in Philadelphia he'll also play the role on Broadway. "The best acting is not acting," Springer told us.
"I don't go out there trying to be Richard Gere; it's me that's doing it. That really works." "Hamlet is next. I'll be the guy selling tickets outside," jokes Springer when asked if he aspires to more theater work. "Look, I never thought I'd do this. I'm 65, I've had a great, lucky, lucky career. Whatever comes along comes along."
We asked Springer yesterday whether he views Penn grad Maury Povich's show full of paternity tests and family drama as competition. He doesn't. "He figures out who's the father and then the kids that are born eventually wind up on our show," Springer says of his friend Povich. "He's like the farm system. You watch that show, you get to see who our future guests are," says Springer.
You can see a video of our interview here, or look for the video player on the right side of this page.
Springer lunched yesterday at the Capital Grille (Broad & Chestnut) and picked up "By His Own Rules," Bradley Graham's new book about Donald Rumsfeld, at the nearby Borders.
He stars in "Chicago" from Sept. 15-20 at the Academy. Tickets are available online or at 215-731-3333.