Five member boy band cast a triple threat in 'Altar Boyz' - Omaha.com
go logo
article photo
article photo
"Altar Boyz" runs Friday through March 25 at the Omaha Community Playhouse. Boy band members include (from left) Quinton Stewart as Luke, Roderick Cotton as Juan, Paul Hanson as Matthew, David Zenchuk as Abraham and Joseph O'Connor as Mark.


THEATER

Five member boy band cast a triple threat in 'Altar Boyz'
By Bob Fischbach
WORLD-HERALD STAFF WRITER


Jim Boggess, the Omaha Community Playhouse's veteran music director, confessed out loud: "Altar Boyz," which opens Friday, is distinctly unlike any musical he's conducted before.

Michael Patrick Walker, who wrote the show's music and lyrics with Gary Adler, said that's because it's about a boy band.

Alatar Boyz

What: Stage musical

Where: Omaha Community Playhouse, Hawks Mainstage, 6915 Cass St.

When: Friday through March 25; 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays

Tickets: $40 adults, $24 students. Exception: $10 all seats March 7 only, at the box office after 4 p.m. that day

Information: 402-553-0800 or online at www.omahaplayhouse.org

"The music style is not what you tend to get in modern rock musicals," Walker said from his home in New York City. "These are double-purpose pop tunes. They work as something the boy band might perform, but also in a theatrical context."

The show within a show finds the Altar Boyz giving their final concert of a national tour. A five-piece backup band stays onstage throughout the 90-minute, intermissionless piece.

The sendup songs may be double-purpose, but the five cast members must be triple threats — strong actors, singers and dancers. That worried director Susan Baer Collins. "The tight harmonies and rhythms are very much 'NSync and Backstreet Boys, so I knew we needed five really terrific singers. We got so lucky. These guys are fabulous."

Choreographer Melanie Walters, whose fast-moving, breath-stealing steps are a nearly nonstop workout done while singing, agreed.

"I could just throw things at them, and they did it," said Walters, who does similar choreography for area show choirs. "They can do it all equally well."

The characters, Matthew, Mark, Luke, Juan and Abraham, are recognizable archetypes, Walters said: the leader (Paul Hanson), the sweet one (Joseph O'Connor II), the tough one (Quinton Stewart), the ethnic one (Roderick Cotton) and the one who doesn't completely fit (David Zenchuck).

While altar boys became a cultural hot topic a few years back, Collins said the show is user-friendly and, though funny, affectionate toward religion. The spoofy lyrics never get too pointed in lampooning Christian music.

Walker said he and his writing partners took four years to find that delicately balanced formula, which opened off Broadway in 2005 and ran nearly five years.

"We're not out to make fun of Christianity," he said. "It's the strange juxtaposition of singing about God, wearing tight pants and being a pop idol at the same time."

Contact the writer:

402-444-1269, bob.fischbach@owh.com

Contact the writer: Bob Fischbach

bob.fischbach@owh.com    |   402-444-1269

Bob reviews movies and local theater productions and writes stories about those topics, as well.

Read more stories by Bob


Contact the Omaha World-Herald newsroom


Copyright ©2014 Omaha World-Herald®. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, displayed or redistributed for any purpose without permission from the Omaha World-Herald.

Latest Stories

The increasingly popular art of hand-brew coffee
The increasingly popular art of hand-brew coffee

Design your own perfect cup with a few gadgets and a bit of patience.


Here's the deal with that outdoor art near CenturyLink Center
Here's the deal with that outdoor art near CenturyLink Center

Years ago, Alan Potash had a vision for a public art exhibition.


Nebraska's best cupcakes and tacos can be found in Omaha, say cupcake/taco experts
Nebraska's best cupcakes and tacos can be found in Omaha, say cupcake/taco experts

Another day, another mention of Omaha food on a food list. Two food lists, in fact.


Small-town Nebraska native becomes big-time comic book writer
Small-town Nebraska native becomes big-time comic book writer

Growing up in Lewellen –– a micropolis near the bottom of the Nebraska panhandle –– Van Jensen didn't have a lot of options for comic books.


Watch Alexander Payne's 1985 student film 'Carmen'
Watch Alexander Payne's 1985 student film 'Carmen'

Here's a treat for Alexander Payne fans: some of the filmmaker's earliest work, a 1985 short silent film Payne made while he was at the UCLA Film School.


Primer: Hand-brewing coffee at home

To start hand-brewing coffee at home, you need some equipment.


Keke Palmer to become TV’s youngest talk show host
Keke Palmer to become TV’s youngest talk show host

LOS ANGELES — Keke Palmer legally cannot buy beer. But she can host a daily talk show.


What to watch: Stan's personal life unravels on 'The Americans'
What to watch: Stan's personal life unravels on 'The Americans'

A botched mission impacts Philip and Elizabeth in different ways. Meanwhile, Stan’s personal life unravels.


Waxahatchee’s vague lyrics hide personal feelings
Waxahatchee’s vague lyrics hide personal feelings

Waxahatchee rose out of Katie Crutchfield’s old bands, and a few bad breakups.


The best bar/restaurant patios in the Omaha area
The best bar/restaurant patios in the Omaha area

It's outdoor dining time again for Omahans. That narrow window of warm -- but not too warm -- weather that makes the ingestion process a bit more enjoyable.


 
Search
Movies Opening this week

Movie showtimes and theater listings






Read this!








VIDEOS

Tonight in Prime Time
© 2014 Omaha World-Herald. All rights reserved