Wednesday, August 11, 2010

"Altar Boyz!" a fun show that parodies Christian boy bands

The Altar Boyz! From L. to R.: Tom Garutto, Eddie Maldando, Trey Compton, Barry Shafrin and Steven Cardona are the Altar Boyz.

If you've enjoyed some quality time watching videos of boy bands then this is the show for you: four wholesome lads from Ohio, Matthew, Mark, Luke and Juan, meet up with their Jewish friend Abraham when they all hear the voice of God telling them to go out among the masses and save a few souls. Only if you are a Christian fundamentalist, it's not going as planned. Imagine if Fred Phelps got a call from Jesus informing him that he was back on earth to help spread the word, but that he was calling from the Crown and Anchor in Provincetown.

You see, Altar Boys - playing at the nearby Theater Barn in New Lebanon, NY from August 12-22 - is a rip roaring parody. It makes fun of boy bands, Catholicism, contemporary Christian music, closeted gays, gay Latino pop stars, boy-band costume designers, simplistic theology, unrequited gay crushes, commercialized Christianity, and occasionally someone in the audience. Those who were brought up Catholic, or Southern Baptist, or have been gay-bashed or even got mocked for going to an 'N Sync concert years ago will feel downright welcome.

And those with sharp ears will find a special message in the song "Rhythm in me" sung by gay boys: "God put the rhythm in me. Put it in me! Put it in me!"

The Altar Boyz (l to r) Trey Compton (Matthew), Barry Shafrin (Mark), Tom Garutto (Luke), Eddie Maldonado (Juan), Steven Cardona (Abraham).

Imagine the shades of red that someone like Tony Perkins or Pat Robertson would turn if they were seated next to you. These are no New Kids on the Block, at least once they hit the road and got out of Ohio.

Read my interview with the director, Bert Bernardi about the show, visit my Berkshire on Stage website where a little more family friendly interpretation of the show prevails. I have not seen it yet, but will get a review up early next week, hopefully by Monday, August 16.

Performances of Altar Boyz take place from August 12-22 on Thursdays and Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at 5pm and 8:30pm and Sundays at 2pm. Tickets are $24 except Sunday matinees which are $22. For tickets call 518-794-8989. The Theatre Barn is located at 654 Route 20, New Lebanon, NY 12125. They have a simple website with season and subscription information.

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