Cast Size: No Chorus • Small (1-10). Vocal Demands: Moderate. Good For: High School • College/University • Amateur/Community • Professional Theatre • Religious Organization.
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Written By: Reverend Leonard Rusay , June 01, 2005
Our Lady of Lourdes Church
390 Country Road 523
Whitehouse Station, N.J. 08889-9490
(908) 534-2319Â Â Fax: (908) 534-5670
June 1, 2005
What's in a name? When I first heard of the new off-broadway show entitled ALTAR BOYZ my first thought was, "here we go; a catholic bashing spectacle." But after doing some research, I took a leap of faith and decided to see the show. To my surprise, it proved to be anything but anti-catholic. After getting used to its silly "premise", I began to listen to the lyrics and they were actually pro-Catholic! A positive catholic role model was presented by the composers and lyricists. It might be all in how one views the production; however I perceived a group of vital, faith-filled men on that stage. Is the show appropriate for everyone? Not necessarily. Best described as a "Catholic N'Sync", I believe that the target audience begins with the kids in eighth grade and is appropriate for adults that enjoy pop music. Will adults "get into it"? Those that have seen the production seem to quite a bit.
Bottom line for most people is that it cannot be THAT good; there must be something that is problematic. Well for some that might be. The most obvious is the character of Mark, a young man with a sexual identity issue. At least the problem is obvious to us, not him. This is shown in the song that he sings in the show where he proudly professes that he is a practicing Catholic! There is tongue in cheek humor, some double entendres but ultimately the message comes across loud and clear. A life of faith, brotherhood, community, loving and hope id what we all need.
After taking a small group of parishioners to see the show, I took their advice and sponsored a trip for my youth group. The kids almost immediately wanted to know when we could organize a return trip so they could invite their friends. Since the recording has been released, the kids' parents are surprised that this is the only thing on their iPods and cd players.
I feel compelled to recommend this show to all, young and old, who need a spiritual boost. It's great to feel good enough about one's faith that we can laugh at some of the things we do and feel compelled to applaud our Savior. Thank you ALTAR BOYZ for showing me that truly "God put the rhythm in ME."
Reverend Leonard Rusay
ALTAR BOYZ, the new musical comedy and critically-acclaimed hit of the New York Musical Theatre Festival, is the hilarious account of a struggling Christian boy-band (with one nice Jewish boy) looking for their big break in the Big Apple.
Hailed as "high-octane entertainment" (TALKIN’ BROADWAY), ALTAR BOYZ tells the holy inspiring story of 5 small-town boys—Matthew, Mark, Luke, Juan and Abraham—trying to save the world one screaming fan at a time. Their pious pop act, including lyrics like "Girl You Make Me Wanna Wait" and "Jesus Called Me On My Cell Phone," worked wonders on the Ohio bingo-hall-and-pancake breakfast circuit. But when fate brings them to New York, will the boyz take a bite out of the forbidden apple?
With angelic voices, sinfully spectacular dancing and a touching story, ALTAR BOYZ is destined to rock the masses of all denominations!
Outer Critics Circle AwardsJanuary 01, 2005 — Best Off-Broadway Musical
Vocal Range of Characters:
The ALTAR BOYZ "10 Commandments"
Written By: Kevin Del Aguila, Ken Davenport, Marc Kessler, Gary Adler and Michael Patrick Walker
THE ALTAR BOYZ “10 COMMANDMENTS” (TABLET 1)
1. THOU SHALT NOT PLAY FALSE IDOLS: Yes, the Altar Boyz are stereotypes playing out their assigned roles in the boy-band. However, finding the real people within those roles is key. And though performers must have a sensibility for the humor of the show, do not succumb to the temptation to “camp it up” or overtly wink at the audience. Overemphasizing punch lines, commenting on the material or adding unnecessary shtick only serves to cheapen the characters and undermine the audience’s belief in them. Allow the audience to laugh from their observance of the Boyz’ honest and sincere behavior; clue them in to the humor as opposed to blatantly pointing it out. The Boyz have big and colorful personalities, but exaggerate them too much and the audience will not buy the fact that they’re watching a real boy-band on stage. It’s a fine line to walk—between parody and realism—but ultimately, it helps make the show funnier, more interesting and touching.
2. THOU SHALT NOT KILL THE JOKE: Most boy-bands have an “is he gay or isn’t he?” member of the group. In Mark’s case, the humor comes from the fact that there’s really no question whatsoever in the audience’s mind about what team he’s playing for. And though he may exhibit many stereotypical traits associated with said team, he and all of the other Boyz must remain completely unaware of this fact. They should never question, judge or comment on his behavior. To them, he’s just the sweet and happy Mark they’ve grown up with.
3. REMEMBER THE DISBELIEF AND KEEP IT SUSPENDED: Like religion, the mysterious powers of the Soul Sensor will be believed by some and poo-poo’d by others. But as long as the Boyz believe in it fervently, the audience will go along for the ride. We can assume that in all of their concerts up to this point, the Boyz have always been able to make the Soul Sensor countdown reach zero (they’ve probably had to perform “Epiphany” a few times, but never the dreaded “Number 918”). Tonight, however, is not like any other night....
4. THOU SHALT HONOR THY SCRIPT AND THY “SCRIPT”: Clearly, much of the “concert” that the Boyz perform has been scripted for them. They may “ad lib” here and there, but for the most part, they all know their cues and lines. As the evening progresses, however, the banter becomes more “off the cuff.” The closer they get to achieving their goal of zero on the Soul Sensor, the more they have to wing it—by adjusting their set list to play whatever song they think might affect a given audience, or covering for the occasional Luke diatribe or Juan breakdown. Discovering which dialogue is either “rehearsed” or happening in the moment should be a fun task for the actors and director.
5. THOU SHALT NOT COMMIT VIBRATO: The vocal sound of Altar Boyz should resemble the pop music aesthetic it’s parodying as closely as possible. This means that pretty, musical theater-like vibrato is sacrilege. Straight tones give the harmonies a purer and more radio-friendly, boy-band sound.
THE ALTAR BOYZ “10 COMMANDMENTS” (TABLET 2)
6. THOU SHALT COVET THY MTV: Like the vocals, the choreography of Altar Boyz should strive to emulate real boy-band moves and attitude (with some occasional religious iconography thrown in for good measure). Mark is the resident choreographer for the Altar Boyz, which means that the dancing in the show should look as though it was created by someone who grew up intimately familiar with the teachings of both MTV and the Catholic Church. Like everything else in the show, every boy-band cliché should be treated as gospel, just as every traditional religious reference should be embraced as the latest and coolest trend.
7. THOU SHALT NOT CAST THY ACTORS IN VAIN: Performers in Altar Boyz should be able to sing, dance and act (the Holy Trinity of talent). Beyond that, they should be good comedians and possess the right MTV-ready “look” for a boy-band. And though the ages of the Boyz can waiver throughout the 20-something range, in a perfect world Mark would be the youngest member of the group and Luke would most likely be the oldest (probably held back a few years in school). Yet they should all be close enough in ages that it’s plausible that they could have served as altar boys together in their pre- to early-teens, or (as in the case of Abe) have been in the same grade in school.
8. THOU SHALT NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS AGAINST ABE: Abraham is not a convert or a “Jew for Jesus.” Though he sings and writes songs for the group about JC, he is simply obeying God’s strange request, while remaining faithful to his Jewish beliefs. Sensitivity to this fact should be kept in mind and reinforced while staging.
9. THOU SHALT NOT MAKE UNTO THEE ANY GRAVE ATTITUDES: The Boyz might be a tad naïve and unaware of how the audience perceives them, but there is enviable strength to be found in their optimism and passion for their beliefs. Keep them true innocents—loving, joyous and supportive, never bitchy or judgmental. Even in the face of an audience volunteer who refuses to play along....
10. THOU SHALT NOT STEAL: This doesn’t really have anything to do with our show. But it’s good advice, just the same.
IMPORTANT BONUS COMMANDMENTS
11. THOU SHALT NOT INSERT AN INTERMISSION IN “ALTAR BOYZ”: In the beginning, Altar Boyz was created to be performed without an intermission. The creators require that your production be performed in ONE ACT, unless you have received prior written approval from R&H Theatricals.
12. THOU SHALT NOT RECORD THE BANDThe “Raise The Praise”: concert tour – like any pop-music concert – features live musicians. The physical presence of the band onstage contributes to creating the feel of a real concert. Under no circumstance may you record the musical accompaniment to Altar Boyz”
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- ALTAR BOYZ - Orchestration Package
- 1 – Piano Conductor/Keyboard I
- 1 – Keyboard II
- 1 – Drums
- 1 – Guitar
- ALTAR BOYZ - Rehearsal Set
- 10 – Libretto Vocal Book
- 2 – Piano Conductor/Keyboard I
- 1 – Digital Logo
- ALTAR BOYZ - Libretto Vocal 10-Pack
- ALTAR BOYZ - Pre-Production Pack
- 1 – Libretto Vocal Book
- 1 – Piano Conductor/Keyboard I
- Altar Boyz - Add' Weeks Libretto Vocal 10-Pack
5 Men, aged 17-30
All five men are called upon equally to sing and dance-each character has a distinct personality, and a chance to shine.
Matthew - The Leader
Mark - The Sensitive One
Luke - The Bad Boy
Juan - The Latin Lover
Abraham - The Gefilte Fish Out Of Water
Announcer/Voice of G.O.D. - Voiceover
ALTAR BOYZ takes place in the present, in the theater you're in. (ALTAR BOYZ opened Off-Broadway in 2005)
ALTAR BOYZ was originally performed with a unit set and a band onstage.