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'Altar Boyz' Is A Slice of Theatrical Heaven

Altar Boyz

Book by Kevin Del Aguila, Music and Lyrics by Gary Adler & Michael Patrick Walker,Conceived by Marc Kessler and Ken Davenport, Directed by Stafford Arima, Choreography by Christopher Gattelli, Set Design by Anna Louizos, Costume Design by Gail Brassard, Cast Lighting Design by Natasha Katz, Sound Design by Simon Matthews 

Matthew, Matthew Buckner
Mark, Ryan J Ratliff
Luke, Jesse JP Johnson
Juan, Jay Garcia
Abraham, Nick Blaemire
Voice of G.O.D., Shadoe Stevens

Performances: Now through November 5 at the Colonial Theatre
Box Office: Through Ticketmaster at 617-931-2787 and, or in person at the Colonial Theatre (

106 Boylston Street

It's funny, it's witty, it's energetic, and it's smart, but one only needs a single word to describe Altar Boyz-heavenly.

This fantastically funny parody channels the very best of the recurring boy band phenomenon through Matthew, Mark, Luke, Juan, and Abraham-five boys saving souls and spreading the word of God nightly in cities across the globe.

In each character-and each song-one can see the spirit of boy bands past-New Kids on the Block, Backstreet Boys, 'N Sync, 98 Degrees, and Menudo, with some Village People, Sly and the Family Stone, and even a smattering of Beastie Boys thrown in for good measure. And whether or not you were a fan of any of these groups the first time around, you won't be able to help but love them in this theatrical reincarnation.

Unlike like their real-life counterparts, you see, the Altar Boyz aren't afraid to play up the stereotypes and poke fun at everything under the sun-and the result is a tried and true bit of hilarious, tongue-in-cheek theatrical comedy. To be perfectly honest, I haven't laughed this hard in a very long time.

The selling point, of course, is that from the very beginning, you're not at the theatre-you're at an Altar Boyz concert, watching the musical numbers and backstage antics unfold before your very eyes. Like any good boy band, they interact with their audience from the opening number "We Are the Altar Boyz," a wonderfully choreographed and particularly energetic number, and as the show unfolds, we learn a bit about each boy: Mark is in love with Matthew, Luke has done a stint in rehab for "exhaustion," Juan is a passionate and fiery piece of work, and Abraham is Jewish. This, my friends, is the foundation of great satire.

And it's all uphill from there. The songs are catchy, the choreography is tight, the story is captivating and funny, and the Boyz themselves, well, they just keep on rocking, one song after another, with wonderfully melodic vocals that showcase the very best of the Broadway-pop fusion. Unlike their MTV parody predecessors 2ge+her, these Boyz have staying power.

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Olena Ripnick Olena Ripnick is a Boston University journalism student and freelance writer whose introduction to the performing arts took place when she was cast as Gretel in ?The Sound of Music? at the tender age of six. She has an extensive background in both theatre and music production, and in 2001 founded Rip It Up Productions and has gone on to produce everything from musicals to benefit concerts. She continues to remain involved in the various aspects of the theatre, from performing to directing, as well as the many aspects of the music industry, including event production, artist management, and performance. When she?s not on stage or behind the scenes, Olena can be found on the ski slopes, on air with her weekly musical theatre radio show La Vie Boh?me (, or traveling the world and exploring the infinite abyss. She thanks her family for supporting all her endeavors, no matter how crazy they may seem.

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