Michael Patrick Walker
Michael Patrick Walker
|Book||Kevin Del Aguila|
|Productions||2004 NY Musical Theatre Festival
2005 Off Broadway
2007-2009 U.S. tour
2007 Chicago Resident Production
2009 Celebration Theatre Production
Altar Boyz is a musical comedy with music and lyrics by Gary Adler and Michael Patrick Walker and book by Kevin Del Aguila (based on an idea by Marc Kessler and Ken Davenport). Centering on a fictitious Christian boy band from Ohio, the show satirizes, among other things, the phenomenon of boy bands and the popularity of Christian-themed music in contemporary American culture. It began an Off Broadway run on March 1, 2005 and closed on January 10, 2010, having played 16 previews and 2,032 regular performances making it the 9th longest-running Off-Broadway musical of all time.
The musical is presented in real time as the final concert of the national "Raise the Praise" tour staged by the five-member group the Altar Boyz. Four of the group's members, Matthew, Mark, Luke and Juan, apparently are named after the authors of the four canonical Christian Gospels. The fifth member is Abraham, who, the group explains in the show's opening number, is Jewish. The members of the group address the audience directly and refer to the venue and location in which the performance is taking place. The Altar Boyz perform their songs, with choreographed dancing in the style of boy bands, and present several scenes concerning the group and its origins, as well as each member's strengths and demons, as part of the concert.
During the show, the Altar Boyz repeatedly turn to a machine on stage, the "Soul Sensor DX-12," which has a display that they explain shows the number of burdened souls in the theatre. Their goal is to reduce the number on the machine to zero by the end of the concert.
Although many of the lines and lyrics in the show are susceptible to humorous or satirical interpretations, as is common in satire, the performers do not acknowledge such double meanings in their performances.
Directed by Stafford Arima and choreographed by Christopher Gattelli, Altar Boyz debuted at the 47th Street Theatre (The Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre) in New York City as part of the New York Musical Theatre Festival in September 2004. The NYMF cast included Cheyenne Jackson as Matthew, Tyler Maynard as Mark, Andy Karl as Luke, Ryan Duncan as Juan, and David Josefsberg as Abraham. Marc Kudisch performed the pre-recorded role of "G.O.D." Due to the nature of the festival, the NYMF run was limited to 8 performances on an irregular schedule over the course of a few weeks.
After 16 preview performances, the show opened Off Broadway at Stage 4 of Dodger Stages (now New World Stages) on March 1, 2005. The cast was the same as in the NYMF production, except Scott Porter played the part of Matthew and Shadoe Stevens played the pre-recorded role of "G.O.D." The production closed on January 10, 2010 after 2,032 regular performances, making it the 9th longest-running Off-Broadway musical of all time. The closing cast starred Michael Kadin Craig as Matthew, Travis Nesbitt as Mark, Lee Markham as Luke, Mauricio Pérez as Juan, and Ravi Roth as Abraham.
There have been touring productions of Altar Boyz in the United States (in 2007, 2008 and 2009) and resident productions in Chicago (2007), and Korea, Hungary, Finland, Australia, the Philippines and Japan as well as numerous regional and amateur productions. In 2013 it was performed as part of the Adelaide Fringe.
Awards and nominations
- Outer Critics Circle Award Best Off Broadway Musical (winner)
- Drama Desk Award Outstanding Musical (nominee)
- Drama Desk Award Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical (Tyler Maynard, nominee)
- Drama Desk Award Outstanding Choreography (Christopher Gattelli, nominee)
- Drama Desk Award Outstanding Music (Gary Adler & Michael Patrick Walker, nominees)
- Drama Desk Award Outstanding Lyrics (Gary Adler & Michael Patrick Walker, nominees)
- Drama Desk Award Outstanding Book of a Musical (Kevin Del Aguila, nominee)
- Drama Desk Award Outstanding Orchestrations (Doug Katsaros & Lynne Shankel, nominees)
- Lucille Lortel Award Outstanding Musical (nominee)
- Lucille Lortel Award Outstanding Choreography (Christopher Gattelli, winner)
- Lucille Lortel Award Outstanding Featured Actor (Tyler Maynard, nominee)
- Lucille Lortel Award Outstanding Sound Design (Simon Matthews, nominee)
- Drama League Award Distinguished Production of a Musical (nominee)
- Drama League Award Distinguished Performance Award (Ryan Duncan, David Josefsberg, Andy Karl, Tyler Maynard, Scott Porter, nominees)
- Theatre World Award (Tyler Maynard, winner)
Altar Boyz was recorded in March 2005 and was released on May 17, 2005 by Ghostlight Records (an imprint of Sh-K-Boom Records).
- ""Altar Boyz" at Lortel Archives--The Internet Off-Broadway Database". Retrieved 2006-10-22.
- "Altar Boyz to close Off Broadway." theatermania.com, December 4, 2009
- altarboyz.com Official Site
- MichaelPatrickWalker.com Official site for Composer/Lyricist Michael Patrick Walker
- DelAguila.info Official site for Book Writer Kevin Del Aguila
- StaffordArima.com Official site for Off Broadway Director Stafford Arima
- Robyn Goodman (producer) - Downstage Center interview at American Theatre Wing.org, August 2005
- AltarHolics.com Official Fan Site
- TheProducersPerspective.com Blog for one of the producer's of the Off Broadway production