Celebrate altarBOYZ at the "Celebration"
altar BOYZ, currently playing the Celebration Theatre in WeHo, is a jubilant celebration of living by 5 members of a boy band that really care about each other and you, their audience! With their genesis as altar boys, all but one are catholic and show via rock music the ins and outs of staying sin free, or at least a close proximity. They announce that their mission is to save all souls - quite a hefty goal, but you haven't met these boys or experienced their drive and commitment.
"Everybody fits in God's big family" is a motto that guarantees membership to a Jew, Abraham (Kelly Rice), a Latin, Juan (Robert Acinapura), a homosexual, Mark (Clifford Banagale), his best freind Matthew (Jesse Bradley) and tough guy, loveable Luke (Jake Wesley Stewart). Friends for life these guys sing, dance and tell their stories, not unlike the pals in Stephen Schwartz's Godspell and Stuart Ross' Forever Plaid. As in these other pop musical shows, each guy is a down-to-earth character that must learn to stay true to the gang, but first to himself. There are some silly jokes, some games like a confession session, and live audience participation. But all is not fun. The boys encounter problems, none more grave than Juan's birthday surprise of finding his real parents for the first time. Sadly, for him, their home is underneath a tree. The religion teaches that we cannot be slaves to those we leave behind; we must accept their passing as a natural stage of life. A painful lesson, to be sure! And Mark, who must learn that the acceptance of one's gayness in an atagonistic world is a never-ending battle.
There are examples of vanity, pride, lust, betrayal and greed to contend with. As in Forever Plaid, where the lads seek the harmony of the perfect chord, the altar BOYS seek a lifelong harmony that can only be found in being true to one another. This is a soulful, sometimes irreverent, but always spiritual ...journey - of trying to find one's niche, hopefully righteous, in this crazy world. The entire cast are a joy to watch under Pearson's skilled direction and within Ameenah Kaplan's stomp-like choreography. Whether catholic or not, you'll EXULT and be OVERJOYED!
Post Note: I am overjoyed with the new artistic direction of the Celebration. This wonderful show ushers in a new season that looks very, very bright!