Altar Boyz, The Resurrection
The music industry can only wish that ‘NSync and The Backstreet Boys had half the talent of the latest cast of Altar Boyz. The off Broadway phenomenon has settled into the Drury Lane Water Tower Theatre for what is sure to be for years to come.
Directed by Stafford Amina with high octane choreography by Christopher Gattelli, bother of whom are the original New York creative team, the production sounds, looks and moves perfectly. Add to the mix a superior cast with Devin Desantis as Matthew, Brian Crum as Mark, Tyler McGee as Luke and Adam Zelasko as Juan. Just to add a daft dimension to this Matthew, Mark, Luke and Juan theme, Nick Verina (who recently starred in Forbidden Broadway S.V.U) plays Abraham—the only Jewish member of the group, who is indispensable, because he writes their material.
The show is far more energetic and tighter than the New York production and the recent tour, elements from which it benefits. Gattelli's choreography is endlessly inventive in its clichéd lack of invention. As in any boy band, the group is as good as their weakest member. That is the rub, there is not one weak member of this group. The Altar Boyz perform just as well together as each of the performers do with their solo numbers. As far as vocal pipes go though, Devin Desantis' voice is better than any pop singer on the charts today. Brian Crum, who has the best number in the show, is hilarious perfection as a boy infatuated with the lead singer. His big moment is "coming out" to the audience in song—as a Catholic.
The musical numbers of the show are the reason to go see the ninety minute production. From "The Calling" a/k/a "Jesus Called Me On My Cell Phone" and "Girl You Want To Make Me Wait" the Boyz know how to sell a song and the Drury Lane's space fits the show like a glove.
Altar Boyz is being produced in Chicago by Joe McGinnis, a Chicago native and recent Tony Award® winner for Spring Awakening (Best Musical 2007); Bart Kahn, whose 30 years of experience includes national and international tours, several Chicago productions and many years on Broadway with 42nd Street, The Lion King, and Avenue Q; and Carl Moellenberg, another recent Tony-Winner for Spring Awakening, and one of the producers of Fiddler on the Roof in London. McGinnis also produced the national tour of Altar Boyz which made its debut in Chicago at the LaSalle Bank Theatre in October 2006. Kudos to the producers in having the faith in Chicago theatre to let Alter Boyz recruit the masses one Windy City soul at a time.
Tickets, priced from $45 to $55, are currently on sale via the Drury Lane Water Tower Place Box Office, through March 30, 2008 by calling 312-642-2000 or online at Ticketmaster.com or www.altarboyz.com
Pictured: The Altar Boyz perform Number 918 (left to right) Juan (Adam Zelasko), Abraham (Nick Verina), Luke (Tyler McGee), Matthew (Devin DeSantis) and Mark (Brian Crum).
Photo by Michael Brosilow