“The Altar Boyz”

Just when we thought boy bands had faded to an unpleasant memory in music history, the “Altar Boyz” have burst onto the stage to “altar our minds.” Winner of the 2005 Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Off-Broadway Musical, the “Altar Boyz” are raising the roof and a few eyebrows, but certainly not hell. In fact, the Boyz are promising us salvation through their soulful tunes.

Matthew, Mark, Luke, Juan and Abraham (the lone Jewish boy) tour the nation on their musical crusade. After settling in New York for their last performance, the boys encounter a big problem. The goal of each show is to bring the number of lost souls down to zero on the Soul Sensor-obviously they do not remember the misfortune of Adam and Eve and the last big apple. Undaunted, the boyz continue to get down with G.O.D. (their words not mine) and celebrate their “Raise the Praise” tour with a spirit N*SYNC would be proud of.

As they perform hits like “Calling (Jesus Called Me on My Cell Phone)” and “Something About You (Girl, You Make Me Want to Wait)” the boyz begin to question their belief in one another.

Matthew (Scott Porter), the sinfully good-looking “leader,” questions his ability to carry out God’s plan. Mark (Tyler Maynard) questions his friendship with Matthew, but never waivers from his faith in God (and Cher). Luke (James Royce Edwards) battles with “exhaustion” (think Lindsey Lohan). Juan (Nick Sanchez) hopes to find his birth parents (and snarls in a decidedly Antonio Banderas fashion at every female in the audience). Abraham (Dennis Moench) just wonders why he’s in the group at all.

“Altar Boyz” is a hysterical look at the world of Christian music, the boy band phenomenon, and the miracle of hair gel. Most of all, the Altar Boyz teach us how to accept who we are and who we aren’t.

“Altar Boyz” is playing at Dodger Stages. For more information, visit http://www.altar-boyz.com/.