Aired on KSDS-FM on 2/3/17
RUN DATES: 1/20/17 – 2/19/17
VENUE: Coronado Playhouse
To borrow a phrase from Public Radio’s Michael Feldman, “innuendo and out the other.” Double entendres abound in “Altar Boyz,” which spreads the Good Word by using angelic voices in devilishly clever ways.
The silly, spoofy musical, which satirizes boy bands and Christian music tropes, debuted Off Broadway in 2005 and ran for five years, subsequently becoming a sensation around the world.
With book by Kevin Del Aguila and music and lyrics by Gary Adler and Michael Patrick Walker, it’s a bit gay and a trifle risqué.
“The “Boyz” are five formerly troubled guys in a fictional Christian band. A highlight of the minimally-plotted proceedings is when each tells his version of the group’s Genesis — deeply personal Gospels according to band members Matthew, Mark, Luke and Juan … and Abraham, their fervent lyricist, who sports a super-sized Jewish star.
Also amusing is their goofy electronic Soul-Sensor DX-12, which gauges the number of people in the theater “burdened by sin.” The aim of the 90-minute evening is to get that digit down to zero by show’s end.
The piece falls a little flat when it tries to get more serious and dramatic. When the show stays light and fizzy, it soars heavenward.
This is Michael Mizerany’s third go-round with the piece. In 2012, he choreographed the Diversionary Theatre production. Last year, he helmed a concert version at the Coronado Playhouse, to see how the typically conservative community would respond. The show was received with rapture.
This time, in full production, Mizerany has directed and choreographed, with sharp, stylized boy-band moves that are a holy hoot. He’s amassed a blessedly talented cast of ‘triple-threats,’ who zealously sing, dance and act. The four-piece band is divine.
This uplifting show, which heralds the 71st season of the Coronado Playhouse, enlightens us about Jesus, who apparently keeps up-to-date with technology. And as for takeaways, in these troubling times, it’s good to keep in mind that, now and for eternity, ‘hatin’ rhymes with Satan.
©2017 PAT LAUNER, San Diego Theater Reviews