September 19, 2007

Altar Boyz


Only a few years ago you couldn't turn on the radio without hearing the most recent pop song by a boy band. Bands like 'N Sync, Backstreet Boys and 98 Degrees ruled the airwaves and spewed out one formulaic hit after another. A show which manages to both embrace and mock that pop culture phenomenon, "Altar Boyz," is on stage now at the Phoenix Theatre in Indianapolis. The off-Broadway musical is making its Midwest premier.

The show is staged like a concert featuring the five-member boy band "Altar Boyz." The members of the band, Matthew, Mark, Luke and Juan (the latin member), are good Catholic boys who believe they were called to minister through the rhythm God put in them. The fifth member of the group is Abraham, a Jewish guy who ended up in the band by mistake. Mix them together and they create the self-dubbed "apostles of pop."

There is, like in any boy band, the "cute" one, the "bad boy," etc. The boys get down while sharing their holy motives with the crowd. They also share their personal crises and a few confessions from the concert goers.

Audience members can't help laughing as the lights dim and the boys belt out the serious ballad "Jesus Called Me On My Cell Phone.” The show has an underlying message of morals, but is 90 percent comedy. For anyone who had more than their fill of the boy band craze this production is a well-deserved laugh about the choreographed hilarity of what MTV entertainment has become. It wouldn't be nearly as funny if it didn't resemble the reality of those boys bands so closely.

The show is rated "G" but includes many innuendoes and thinly veiled references for adults.

Performances: "Altar Boyz'" closed Oct. 21, 2007.

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