[dropcap size=big]N[/dropcap]otice to the faithful: You need not fear “Altar Boyz”.
Notice to the secular community: You need not shun “Altar Boyz”.
Notice to the fundamentalists: Maybe you better just stay at home, curl up in your favorite chair, break open the (insert preferred holy text here), and throw another heretic on the fire place.
“Altar Boyz” tells the tale of a politically correct boy’s band on a mission from God.
You have Matthew (Craig McEldowney) the group’s leader, Mark (Michael Marchak) his devoted friend who is slightly more in the closet than the confessional, Juan (Joey Acuna), who, like Moses, found it necessary to cross some borders illegally to reach the promised land, Luke (Jason Chacon), who’s “stoned” on God, and finally there’s Abraham (Tyler Vess), one of the chosen people who been chosen again to be part of the band. (What? With God you argue?)
With book by Kevin Del Aguila, and music and lyrics by Gary Adler and Michael Patrick Walker, “Altar Boyz” goes after some well deserving targets, among them the commercialization of religion and rock, as well as the tiresome phenomenon of media hyped boy bands. (Sorry, but I’d rather sit through the Ten Plagues than an N’Sync reunion tour.)
What “Altar Boyz” does not go after is Christianity, Judaism, or any other “ism” for that matter. It is rather a sincere tribute to those of faith. Notice I said faith without naming any particular religion. This is because God favors no group, only the devout do that.
Generally the dividing line in musical theater is that the “believers” attend revivals of “Godspell” while the heathenish rationalists head for matinees of “Jesus Christ, Superstar”. Well, with such snappy little ditties as “Jesus Called Me on My Cell Phone”, and “Everybody Fits in God’s Family”, “Altar Boyz” comes pretty close to bridging the chasm separating those two groups.
Director Kristin Towers-Rowles along with musical director Richard Berent and choreographer Samantha Marie have delivered a joyful, feel good, toe tapping tent revival show minus the tent. Of course, it does help having a cast whose enthusiasm and commitment can not be faulted.
This show should appeal to all with goodwill in their hearts, but especially those blessed with the spirit who understand that all paths that one climbs heavenward up the mountain reach the same peak.