Boy band fans will recognize much of Patrick Elliot’s hilarious choreography in NC Theatre’s “Altar Boyz,” which is appropriate, since the story’s main focus is on a group of 20-something would-be pop stars with a religious bent. In fact, the play is really more of a “concert,” with the boys dancing, singing, and pausing for some oh-so-deep religious musings. Each song-and-dance number is more uproarious than the last as the boyz try desperately to reduce the number of “lost souls” in the audience—a convenient lost-soul counter ticks its way down (and up again a few times!) as the show breezes on.
Though this entire review could focus on just how amazing the choreography is, credit also has to go to John Bartenstein’s lighting design, which often takes the form of perfectly-timed spotlights and full-on laser light shows. And then, of course, there are the 90s-style costumes by Meredith Scott. Though there were a few minor sound-snags at the opening night performance, everything else comes together perfectly for a funny and thoroughly entertaining show.
When the boyz aren’t busy belting out tunes, they’re dragging reluctant audience members on stage—watch out if you’re a pretty girl sitting on the front row! But, aside from all the laughs, there are some deeper things happening here. Band member, Mark (Patrick Elliot), is harboring a secret crush on handsome front-man Matthew (Marshal Kennedy Carolan), and his struggles to reveal his crush and his true self are delicately touched upon. Likewise, there’s a nice commentary here about God or at least religion as a marketable concept. This “concert” combines the antics of every mega-church preacher and televangelist and turns it into something funny, touching, and incredibly clever. The show is a surprise hit for the season and a must-see for any lover of religious parody…or The Backstreet Boys.
The North Carolina Theatre presents ALTAR BOYZ at 7:30 p.m. July 13, 2 and 7:30 p.m. July 14, 7:30 p.m. July 16-19, and 2 and 7:30 p.m. July 20 and 21 in the A.J. Fletcher Opera Theater in the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, 2 E. South St., Raleigh, North Carolina 27601.
TICKETS: $64.20-$80.10 (including fees).
NCT Box Office: 919-831-6941, ext. 6944, or http://www.nctheatre.com/tickets/season-tickets.
Ticketmaster: 800-745-3000 or www.ticketmaster.com/venueartist/115203/978955.
GROUP RATES (10+ tickets): 919-831-6941, ext. 5204. SHOW: http://nctheatre.com/shows/altar-boyz.
PRESENTER: http://www.nctheatre.com/. NCT BLOG: http://www.nctheatre.com/stage-notes.
NOTE: Arts Access of Raleigh will audio-describe the 2 p.m. Saturday, July 20th, performance.
Altar Boyz (2005 Off-Broadway musical): http://www.altarboyz.com/ (official website) and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altar_Boyz (Wikipedia).