Few things in this world are gayer than boy bands. But in the hands of Uptown Players, Altar Boyz is a giant flaming rainbow of fruit flavors.
The popular spoof of bands like ‘N Sync, Backstreet Boys and New Kids on the Block focuses on the Altar Boyz, a Christian pop group filled with boy-next-door hunks: Matthew (Alexander Ross), Mark (Drew Kelly), Luke (Brian Daniels), Juan (Angel Velasco) and Abraham (Michael Tuck).
Set on the last night of their “Raise the Praise” tour, secret desires and conflicts are revealed as the boyz attempt to convert the audience and save their souls through syrupy sweet harmonies while dancing their asses off. By the end of the first number, they’re all dripping in sweat. Perhaps Equinox should create an Altar Boyz workout class because this sucker’s gotta burn at least 1500 calories per show.
Ross fills out his jeans quite well as the tall, dark and muscle-y one of the bunch, his Matthew the object of Mark’s (and our) not-so-secret desires. Great voice. Great moves. Really great biceps.
Kelly’s portrayal of the flamboyant Mark is imbued with subtle looks and gestures that allow him to steal the show and get the biggest laughs. Coming in a close second is Velasco as Latin heartthrob Juan, over-the-top Antonio Banderas-esque accent and all.
Daniels and Tuck are equally strong and round out the group very nicely, each given their own signature song. The harmonies and choreography courtesy of John de Los Santos prove that these guyz have put in more than their fair share of rehearsal hours to portray the tight-knit group. The casting of Kidd Kraddick as the voice of G.O.D. is genius, because the stories we hear from the KISS-FM office is that the DJ already thinks he is radio’s almighty being.
We saw the original cast production off-Broadway during the musical’s original run and we must say that the Uptown Players version is even better. They’ve tweaked the script just enough to keep references current and locally relevant.
Hell, if church were this much fun, we’d go every day.
Tickets $25 – $30
Starring: Brian Daniels, Drew Kelly, Alex Ross, Mike Tuck, and Angel Velasco
Directed by: Cheryl Denson
Music Direction by: Adam Wright
Choreography by: John de Los Santos