It’s time to “Raise the Praise” because Altar Boyz, the mega successful off-Broadway musical comedy, is coming to the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, July 12th-21st. The North Carolina Theatre brings to life the humorous story of a Christian boy band from Greenville, Ohio, and their mission to “rock the masses of all denominations” and “(soothe) the troubled souls of Raleigh” while facing some of their own personal demons, and learning the true meaning of friendship.
The Altar Boyz consist of five magazine-ready gentlemen: Matthew, Mark, Luke, Juan, and Abraham. The first four members are named after the four authors of the Christian Gospels, while Abraham is the sole Jewish member who is still unsure of how he even wound up in the group. In standard boy band fashion, each member has their own persona and vocal strengths, as well as fancy dance moves to truly thrill the crowd with spiritual hype.
The show itself is a concise ninety minutes, and unlike most musical theatre productions, has no intermission. The plot centers around the group’s last show on their “Raise the Praise” tour, and is built to make the audience feel like they are watching an actual live boy band concert. That being said, many of their songs and exchanges leave the door wide open to quite hysterical and satirical interpretations.
“It’s an eclectic group, and no one’s safe,” Garner native Jeremy Woodard, aka Luke, jokes. “No one can really get offended that [they’re] getting made fun of, because the very next moment, [someone else] is getting made fun of… no one is getting away clean,” he assures. Woodard attributes much of Altar Boyz’s success to its lighthearted approach of poking fun across the board so that everyone can enjoy it and feel comfortable laughing along.
Despite the humor, the musical quality is anything but a joke. “It’s funny because [the music] is so good! You can get up there and just make fun of stuff, but if it’s not as put together as it needs to be, then it kind of falls apart,” Woodard says. He states that it is his favorite part of Altar Boyz because “beyond it being hilarious, you have to be really good to help the point come across.”
Judging by the backgrounds of each cast member, the show will not be short of any talent to help bring the point across. Each cast member: Marshal Kennedy Carolan (Matthew), Patrick Elliot (Mark), Jeremy Woodard (Luke), Patrick Ortiz (Juan), and Tripp Hampton (Abraham), possesses an impressive and diverse theatre background that will most certainly add further credibility to the convincing boy band act.
Woodard is a proud North Carolina native, and says he has “been a huge advocate of how much talent we have down here for a while.” While large cities such as London and New York boast reputations of having long established theatre scenes, he feels the only advantages they possess over the Carolinas are the money invested in such programs, and the fact that the pool of talent is massively bigger per the population size. The quality of talent, however, does not differ.
With its cheeky music, ultimately sweet message, and quintet of talented and swoon-worthy cast members, Altar Boyz is sure to be a hit in the Triangle area. As Woodard impeccably states, “everyone’s gotta laugh at themselves no matter what [their] beliefs system is.” Rest assured, no roaming charges will incur with any ticket purchases.
For tickets: http://www.ticketmaster.com/promo/uidt50
For more on NC Theatre: http://nctheatre.com/
Photography by Jason Rizzo.