I can see it now, young impressionable girls pasting posters in their lockers and giving gleeful, longing looks at Matthew, Mark, Luke, Juan and Abraham while applying layer after layer of lip gloss. They can sing, they can dance, and the Altar Boyz have even got Jesus calling ’em up on their cell phones.
Altar Boyz is an irreverent (but never mean-spirited) musical comedy about an aspiring Christian boy band (with one nice Jewish boy) on its Raise the Praise tour. Matthew (the leader), Mark (the sensitive one), Luke (the bad boy), Juan (the Latin lover) and Abraham (the gefilte fish out of water) are all-singing, all-dancing heartthrobs who praise the Lord with funk and rhyme. [City of Surrey]
It’s been a big year for me and the Arts Club. I’ve attended five shows now and each one continues to shine in its own way by being thought-provoking, whimsical, or simply classic. However, it wasn’t until tonight that two things happened that I thought simply impossible…
The first was hearing the words “West Whalley Ring Road” in the dialog of an Arts Club play, and the second was when ‘Matthew’ (the leader of the Altar Boyz) took my hand and pulled me up out of the audience. I was then guided up onto the stage at the Surrey Arts Centre with the Boyz and — well I don’t want to divulge too much, you’ll have to see the show for yourself to get the juicy details or visit their Flickr stream to get an idea.
The entire show is basically a stop on the concert tour for the Altar Boyz, who resemble Backstreet meets *NSync combined with a little Take That and Boys II Men soul all in one. I haven’t left a show giggling and humming tunes in my head since I saw High School Musical with my niece, and although the Altar Boyz are just as pure and innocent, the facetious and cheeky undertones had the audience roaring with laughter several occasions with few pauses in between.
The choreography is perfection, right down to the Boyz doing the ‘hold your belt buckle and swing your legs out to the side a la New Kids on the Block in ‘The Right Stuff’ video‘ or the ‘pretend to be knocking on a door while hopping in one place like in the ‘Bye Bye Bye’ video from *NSync‘. Yes, actually these are the technical names for the dance moves (in my books, anyway).
This is also the third time I’ve seen Vincent Tong (who plays Juan) in an Arts Club show this year as he was also in History Boys and Beauty and the Beast. His singing is great, presence and humour undeniable, and man has he got some moves. Each cast member lights up the stage, especially Jeremy Crittenden (as Matthew) while he looked at me with sparkling eyes and sang ever so sweetly those few precious words, “Girl, you make me want to wait.”
Directed by Bill Millerd, the Altar Boyz experience is flat out entertaining and will make you smile, chuckle, groan, and maybe… just maybe feel a little naughty (and in need of a good confession).
You can catch them on tour over the next few weeks, which is a fabulous idea since it not only plays to the whole ‘concert tour’ theme, it also gives audiences around the Lower Mainland, and the interior, a chance to check out their local theatre.
Jan 16-31, 2009 – Surrey @ Surrey Arts Centre
Feb 2, 2009 – West Vancouver @ Kay Meek Centre (Sold out)
Feb 3, 2009 – Mission @ Clarke Theatre
Feb 4-5, 2009 – Burnaby @ Shadbolt Centre for the Arts
Feb 10-14, 2009 – Coquitlam @ Evergreen Cultural Centre
Feb 17, 2009 – Vernon @ Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre
Feb 19, 2009 – Cranbrook @ Key City Theatre
Feb 21, 2009 – Nelson @ Capitol Theatre
June 18 â€“ August 1, 2009 – Vancouver @ Granville Island Stage
You can read their tour blog (fully in character) or follow the Boyz on Twitter. I don’t say this often, but I would probably go see this show again (although I would prefer to stay in my seat the whole way through the next time around).