ENCORE THEATER COMPANY
The quintessential Boy Bands: upbeat (and often emotional) music… slick choreography… the perfect individual and group images… slightly-too-perfect rhymes… the Soul Sensor DX-12? Well, maybe not for any other boy band, but for the Altar Boyz, it’s key! During the final concert of their “Raise the Praise” tour, the Boyz seek to reduce the number of burdened souls in the audience (indicated by the number on the Sensor) to zero.
“Jesus called me on my cell phone / No roaming charges were incurred / He told me that I should go out in the world / And spread His glorious word”
Altar Boyz, presented in real time as that concert, is a satirical, “foot-stomping, rafter-raising musical comedy,” and the fictitious Christian boy band includes five Ohio members: Matthew, Mark, Luke, Juan, and Abraham (who, actually, is Jewish). Some of the Boyz’ signature hits include “Rhythm in Me,” “The Calling,” and “I Believe.” Directed and choreographed by Lauren Morgan and musically directed by Mark Barnhill, this Dayton premiere kicks off Encore Theater Company’s summer season, and runs for one weekend only, June 16 – 18.
“We think that church is super fine / We are the Altar Boyz / We love the wafers and the wine / We are the Altar Boyz / And I think / You’ll find….. We’re gonna altar your mind!”
This show is unique in that each cast member must be a triple-strength performer, because everyone is acting, singing, and dancing for nearly the entire show! Therefore, learning the show has been hard work, but the actors I spoke with were excited about the challenges they’ve faced and the strides they’ve taken as performers. The cast includes students and/or Dayton residents Drew Bown, Andrew Koslow, Korey Harlow, Zack Steele, and Zach King, with a special appearance by local Muse Machine alumnus and Broadway performer Tyler Maynard as “the Voice of God.”
“When I hold your body next to mine / it feels so good / and feels so right / and it also makes my Levis feel real tight… / and I know that there is something about you, baby…/ Girl, you make me want to wait.”
Not only does the cast play a great team onstage, but everyone has an excellent collaboration as well. Each of the cast members are or have studied some type of theatre at the collegiate level, and most are new to Encore Theater Company’s mainstage; however, they’ve all contributed unique talents and abilities to make this show strong and fluid, to refine timing of the show’s extensive humor and rehearse even the most difficult 5-part harmonies. Koslow, who plays Mark, explained in an interview with onStageDayton,
“The most rewarding thing for me about this show is how much we’ve truly banded together (pardon the pun) to make this show happen. We’ve run into a thousand road blocks, from losing cast members to sometimes only having two Boyz available for certain rehearsals due to commitments to other shows. Despite all that, we’ve put together an incredible and entertaining show… I truly couldn’t be prouder of our entire cast and production team.”
That commitment and collaboration have paid off: Zack Steele, who plays Juan, praises,
“[Altar Boyz] will have [audience members] crying from laughing so hard. The script is bulletproof and the Boyz’ chemistry on stage will carry you on a journey all the way through curtain call. The singing is great and the satire is ever-present.”
“I truly believe there is something for everyone in this show, and no one can prove me wrong unless they come and see for themselves.”
“You know The Bible tells you God’s the one that made you / So get out on the dance floor And shake what He gave you!”
So, whether you’re holding onto music of the early ‘90s or just love to make fun of boy bands, Altar Boyz is the perfect show for you. Don’t miss it!
Tickets & Performance Information
Altar Boyz – June 16 – 18, 8:00 pm
Encore Theater Company
Performances will be held at Sinclair Community College’s Blair Hall Theatre. Tickets are $15 and can be reserved through http://brushfire.e-vent.info/Events/Sinclair/Default.aspx, by contacting (937) 512-2808 (be sure to leave a message) or firstname.lastname@example.org