“ALTAR BOYZ’ ARE SHAKING UP LONG WHARF
        BONNIE GOLDBERG

    Church bells ring, are you listening? “Altar Boyz” are ringing the hallelujah chimes, calling all sinners and believers to come to a musical confessional from now until Saturday, September 13 at the Main Chapel of Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven.
    Part gospel revival meeting, part Bible camp, part Sunday School class, “Altar Boyz” is all high voltage, high energy musical comedy, a spoof on a Christian boys band that is marking the end of their national “Raise the Praise” tour.  The boys, aptly named Matthew, Mark, Luke and Juan, with one token Jew Abraham, want to convert the nonbelievers and take temptation way from the sinners in their midst and, in the process, prove it’s cool to be Catholic.
    The guys led by Matthew (Philip Drennen), Mark (Dan Scott), Luke (Anton Fero), Juan (Andres Quintero) and Abraham (Tim Dolan) are used to playing bingo parlors but want to headline at the Hollywood Bowl.  Like a Richard Simmons exercise video, the five lads applaud God for giving them rhythm as they perform synchonized choreography and impassionaed song.
    In this modern age, they hear Jesus’s message on their cell phone, fax, email and beeper as they encourage the audience to work on their souls, to cleanse them of sin.  According to the boys, God is making a comeback and they are happily his willing agents.  Don’t worry about fire and brimstone, these guys are all into love and forgiveness and, ultimately, family.
    “Altar Boyz” is the brain child of Kevin Del Aguila, book, and Gary Adler and Michael Patrick Walker, music and lyrics.  The show was conceived by Mark Kessler and Ken Davenport, choreographed by Christopher Gattelli and directed by Stafford Arima.
    For tickets ($36-46), call Long Wharf Theatre, 222 Sargent Drive, New Haven at 203-787-4282 or www.longwharf.org. ; Performances are Tuesday to Saturday at 8 p.m., with matinees Wednesday and Sunday at 2 p.m. and Saturday at 3 p.m.
    Learn how everybody fits into God’s great family according to the gospel of Matthew, Mark. Luke. Juan and Abraham, the self-anointed and heavenly “Altar Boyz.”

This review originally appeared in the Middletown Press on July 17.

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