"Altar Boyz" delivers energy, humor
July 22, 2008
"Altar Boyz" have it rough. They are persecuted with Nair, and beset with eating disorders, exhaustion, unanswered love, and a lack of faith in the Independent Republic of Park City.
But the struggling boy band has no qualms about giving people the giggles. During a Sunday matinee, a half-full auditorium got religion dished funny side up in the irreverent but sweet-hearted musical comedy "Altar Boyz," playing Wednesday to Sunday at the Egyptian Theatre through Aug. 2.
Evening shows start at 7:30 p.m. and the Sunday matinee starts at 2 p.m.
The show is staged as a concert and offers ample chance for audience members to stand up, cheer and dance. One of the heartthrobs, Matthew, even serenades a lucky girl, pulling her from the first few rows, and crooning one of the band’s dubious No. 1 hit singles: "Girl, you make me want to wait."
The struggling boy band takes playful jabs at Catholicism and Judaism, and discovers its own faith along the way. If the show sounds sentimental, don’t be misled. The men deliver with spunk and charisma lines about cell phone conversations with Jesus and the struggle or S.T.Ruggle, as one band member calls it to maintain faith in modern times.
The Altar Boyz delivers the kind of apostasy you can laugh at.
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The five men show off as though representing The 10 Commandments in a funky new translation of the bible. The chemistry of the quintet is undeniable and each man is game to assume an earnest, if flawed, personality type. Luke is the gangster wannabe. Juan (Phil Lowe) is the Latin one. Abraham (William Richardson) is the Jewish one. Mark (Kevin Jordan) is the sensitive one, and Matthew (Thomas Asher Marcus) is the boy band’s leading man.
The show is engaging, audience members say, and a good way to spend a Sunday.
The Egyptian is the first theater west of the Mississippi to take on the off-Broadway farce. The show plays better in Park City than more conservative areas of the state, some say, but never crosses the line into patently offensive.
That’s because everything the Altar Boyz say and do is coated with innocence, not irony. Mark is in love with Matthew but unwilling to express his potentially destructive feelings. Kevin Jordan, game for the part, flits around the stage with an impish energy that carries much of the 90-minute performance. He offers some of the show’s funniest and most touching moments.
Juan, played by Phil Lowe, adds his own distinct mark with a hushed masculinity brooding beneath his assimilated surface.
William Richardson’s Abraham is the classic misfit. He has the moves and talent, but is often obscured from the spotlight by Matthew, Thomas Asher Marcus’ classic ham-as-front man.
The Altar Boyz are funny individually, but they are at their best when they stick together.
For ticket information and show times, go to egyptiantheatrecompany.org. "Altar Boyz" concluded its run Aug. 2.