BWW Reviews: ALTAR BOYZ at Seattle Musical Theatre - Filled With Humor, Heart and Hips
God has heard our prayers. He knew we were all longing for some hot guys to come and teach us all about his divine wisdom and make us laugh along the way. And so he has sent us the Seattle Musical Theatre production of "Altar Boyz" to show us the path. Not only do they have some incredible voices, sexy gyrations and hilarious characters but these Boyz and director Troy Wageman managed to make the Boyz more personable and empathetic than I've seen in previous productions, making their story all the more meaningful.
Scream and squeal because Ohio's most famous Christian boy band, Altar Boyz has come to Seattle for the last performance of their "Raise the Praise" tour. These five heavenly hotties; Matthew - The leader, Mark - The sensitive one, Luke - The bad boy, Juan - The Latin lover, and Abraham - The Jewish one; have come to save our souls with their divine beats and devilish dance moves. And along the way we'll learn more about the Boyz and where they came from as well as learning some troubling news about their pasts, presents and futures. And while, yes, it's a parody of boy bands in general and the rise of Christianity in contemporary music, it's done in such an honest and sincere way that even Christian groups have adopted their songs as part of their own faith.
But as good as this show from Kevin Del Aguila, Gary Adler and Michael Patrick Walker is, it's not bullet proof. You still need an incredible team backing it up. Luckily SMT has just that. I've already mentioned the wonderful direction from Wageman but what I haven't mentioned is his killer choreography. With homages to boy band styles from Justin Timberlake to Justin Bieber, Wageman has infused them with high energy crisp smart moves that make you tired just watching. And backed up by Kimberly Dare and her incredible band, this is one perfect foundation on which the performers to build. And build they do.
Mark Tyler Miller as Matthew couldn't be more honest, forthright and even a little clueless with his performance. He's the perfect poster boy and has some killer pipes to match the look. CJ Conrad as the overly flamboyant Mark manages some remarkable feats and hilarious moments in some very tight pants. Eric Hagreen as the not so bright bad boy Luke is a force of comedy to be reckoned with. Bo Mellinger as the fiery Latino Juan couldn't be funnier or sexier if he tried with those swiveling hips. I've seen him in some ensemble roles around town and now that I've heard him sing some solos I question why he isn't in more leads. And Jeff Orton as the out of place Jewish boy manages some outstanding and heartfelt vocals in what can be a one note joke of a show. And together they form a truly tight and powerhouse of an ensemble.
All I can really say is do not miss this one! Yes it's a rock concert so if you don't like the loud they have some earplugs for you. And yes, it's a parody of boy bands and Christianity so if you're overly sensitive in that regard it can come across as a little blasphemous, in which case you may want to stay home. But if you want a fun and fabulous time, then here they are. They are the Altar Boyz and they're gonna alter your mind!
"Altar Boyz" performs at Seattle Musical Theatre through March 10th. For tickets or information contact the SMT box office at 206-363-2809 or visit them online at www.SeattleMusicalTheatre.org.
Photo credit: Jenni El Fattal