What the show’s about:
A musical drama that combines highly theatrical songs and movement sequences with naturalistic dialogue and characters, Love Jerry grapples with the long term effects of child sexual abuse in a family.
Jerry is likable and shy; his brother Mike is a macho family man. When Jerry is accused of sexually abusing his young nephew, the brothers must reconcile their love for each other with the grim circumstances that force them apart.
Dreamy movement and song interweave throughout the story, creating a highly theatrical work. As Jerry wends his way through the justice system and the subsequent mandatory therapy, the brothers must confront the dark side of what it truly means to love someone.
This play contains strong language and mature themes, and is not suitable for young audiences.
Does this play condone child abuse?
This play is sometimes called, “the pedophile musical,” which conjures up images of a “Springtime For Hitler” style romp. In light of the frothy image we have of most musicals, some have wondered if this play makes light of child sexual abuse. Love Jerry does not in any way, shape, or form, condone or exonerate child abuse. Instead, it’s a serious examination of a problem that flourishes in silence.
The play is not so much about child abusers as how child abuse affects a family. According to Prevent Child Abuse Georgia, an organization aimed at preventing child abuse before it happens, 90% of child abuse is perpetrated by a relative or close friend of the victim’s family – it’s someone the child knows and trusts. This play illustrates some of the early warning signs of abuse in a fictional but common American story.
This isn’t a typical musical – there are no tap-dancing child abusers, nor does the play make light of this very serious and important issue. The play is actually a very small, quiet, and honest look at a problem that is plaguing this country.
Love Jerry has been endorsed by child abuse prevention organizations. For its January 2006 premiere, Actors Express Theatre company partnered with these Prevent Child Abuse Georgia to create literature the audience can take home with them, educating them about child abuse prevention, as well as hosting nightly post-show discussions about the topic after each performance. I strongly urge other producing theatres to follow a similar approach when presenting this play.