‘Altar Boyz’ singers entertain but don’t save many souls
By Carol Davis
SAN DIEGO— Judging from its longevity, Alter Boyz which began its run Off Broadway in March of 2005 and closed on Jan. 2010, making it the ninth longest Off-Broadway musical, there is something some might find appealing at the core of this off-beat musical. It was the winner of the Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Musical Off Broadway, and was nominated for the drama Desk Award for Outstanding Musical.
Don’t think Forever Plaid because these boys aren’t your clean-shaven,‘50’s, “Three Coins in a Fountain” alter boyz. They are the current craze. They are the NOW Altarholics out to save our souls rather than take us on a trip down memory lane group. This group, about a fictitious Christian boy band, satirizes the popular boy bands and does it almost to a fault.
They sing, they dance and they talk to God and the ‘Sony’ countdown machine hanging above the stage that records all the souls yet to be saved every night. (Soul Sensor DX-12) And you guessed it the machine registers ’0′ at the end of their lively performance. This takes place after some soul searching and confessions of their own as well as changes of heart and perhaps a few silent confessions from the audience (or so they say). When it finally registers that big old 0, we know that there are zero souls left to be saved due to the hard working efforts of the dynamic quintet.
Did I mention they are all (with the exception of one) Catholic youths who decide to spread the ‘word’? They are your stock jocks, hunk, Hispanic, homosexual, recovering stoner and token Jew. We all know it takes a village.
Noah Longton is directing and producing this Kevin Del Aguila (book) and Gary Adler and Michael Patrick (music and lyrics) musical in association with Michael Mizerany (choreography). And while the production is physically housed in Hillcrest’s Diversionary Theatre it is not one of their productions; rather it is a part of Diversionary Cabaret Series.
The boyz are on the last leg of their national ‘Raise the Praise” tour and are still filled with ‘fire and brimstone’ as they are about to stomp and shout their way to saving souls. The group includes: Matthew (Hanz Enyeart), Mark (Hunter Schwartz), Luke (Shaun Tauzon), ooops, Juan (Patrick Mayuyu) and finally Abraham (Nicholas Sloan).
Overall the show is a high-energy performance piece with songs like “We Are The Altar Boyz”, “Church Rulez”, “The Calling”, “Body, Mind and Soul” and “Epiphany”.” Most of the young men are talented, have a solo or two that defines who they are and who they like and what they do. As the show moves forward we also get to know more about them, but it’s mostly the same.
Abraham always wears a HUGE Jewish star and a skull cap (why that’s important, I know not.) and at one point he dons a prayer shawl (which he proceeded to put on the floor during a quick costume change—-OUCH!) that he wears over his choir gown when the boyz all try to look saintly. Good luck on that one. Rebecca Noland is credited for the costumes.
On the Good News/Bad News meter, the good news is that the boyz dance better than they sing. Michael Mizerany’s choreography keeps the pace up and hopping for most of the 90-minute show. A four-piece backup band on the stage behind the performers is more good news. The bad news is that nothing is amplified so when they are speaking to the audience, some of it falls on deaf ears and solo numbers are spotty at best. They fare better singing as an ensemble than they do individually.
If you’re looking for some theatre fun and don’t have to think much about ‘the story’, this would be a fine pick. Another incentive might be the fact that the bar is open throughout the performance and audience members are encouraged to take advantage of it.
See you at the theatre.
Dates: through Aug. 19th
Organization: Noah Longton Presents
Production Type: Musical Comedy
Where: 4545 Park Blvd, San Diego, CA 92116
Ticket Prices: $25.00
Venue: Diversionary Theatre
Davis is a San Diego-based theatre critic who may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Short URL: http://www.sdjewishworld.com/?p=30382