Friday December 15th 2017

“Altar Boyz”

Highly Recommended **** Whether a large -scale musical, brought down to “storefront” sizing, or a cabaret-type concert show, TheoUbique always finds just the right talent to make their shows perfect. They are still located in their home at No Exit Café in Rogers Park ( they are moving to Howard Street in Evanston soon), making the Rogers Park Theater scene complete. Under the watchful eye of Artistic Director Fred Anzevino, this smaller theater company continues to bring solid talent to the area. Anzevino has nurtured and developed some of his talented performers to become directors and choreographers as well as performers, expanding their potential, and for the latest production “Altar Boyz”, Courtney Crouse has taken on the duties as director with Sawyer Smith handling the choreography. The musical direction is still under the very able hands of Jeremy Ramey- he is sensational!

“Altar Boyz” is a 90-minute ( no intermission) story about a mythical band, a Christian Boy Band with five performers- Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Abraham (?)! the show is in reality a parody of both singing groups/bands and Christian pop/rock music and is filled with musical numbers as the five young men explain their stories and how they came to join a “boy’s band ( to use a statement from “The Music Man”). The book by Kevin Del Aguila is based on an idea by Marc J. Kessler and Ken Davenport, taking a shot at the boys bands and Christian groups that appear to preach as they entertain.

The music and lyrics are written by Gary Adler and Michael Patrick Walker- 13 songs that are very strong in propelling the story itself. The opening number which also is the Finale, “We Are The Altar Boyz” is probably the only song that has “legs”, but I must say that once again, the talent they have assembled at TheoUbique is strong enough to bring the audience to its feet! These are five wonderful singers (they are pretty good movers and shakers as well). The start of the show is the boyz explaining how they became a unit and some back stories on each. The leader of the group is Matthew ( a powerful Max DeTogne, who is making a name for himself in Chicago), Luke  ( a solid performance by Colin Schreier) is the one that seems to be out- of- place, but when he sings, and hits some high notes that show just how talented he is. Mark ( the adorable Frankie Leo Bennett) is very “elfin” and probably someone you would want to take home with you and place on a shelf. The fourth “boy” is Juan ( deftly handled by Marco Tzunux ,a newcomer to Rogers Park and one we are sure to see a great deal more of ) was a foundling with no family, but the “Boyz” have become his family. Last but not least is Abraham (Steven Romero Schaeffer is dynamite) the Jewish member of the Boyz . After all, the guy on the cross was also Jewish, so why not?

The Boyz are finishing up their tour and have landed in Rogers Park where their mission is to make all of the people in attendance be free from worry and doubt. They are sponsored by Sony on the tour and it seems they have a special computer that can read the inner feelings of the audience. With their banter and musical numbers they are able to bring the number of faulty hearts down to four and then it all happens. I do not want to spoil the events that take place at the end, but will only tell you there are some confessions that change the outcome.

The show is fun and funny as well as heartwarming. The guys do use the audience and in fact, tonight being Press Night, they involved Hedy Weiss (Sun-Times) into the show as well as a young lady in the seats who was brought on stage. It looked as if she had fun and played along with the guys. Is this show great? I would say that for most, not so! However, it set records Off-Broadway  and will have you clapping your hands and stomping your feet. Song titles, such as “The Calling”, “I Believe”, “Rhythm In Me” are all well performed and the harmony of these five performers voices is amazing. The moral they deliver is well worth waiting for and the evening is about as entertaining as one can expect- Happy Holidays!

“Altar Boyz” will be presented at TheoUbique’s home at No Exit Café located at 6970 N. Glenwood Avenue through January 14th with performances as follows:

Thursdays  7:30 p.m.

Fridays  8 p.m.

Saturdays  8 p.m.

Sundays  7 p.m.

NO PERFORMANCE on CHRISTMAS EVE

Special performance on New Year’s Eve at $49 – $69 with dinner

Tickets for regular performances are $34- $39 and can be purchased by calling 800-595-4849

you can also go online to www.theo-u.com

Student rush- any unsold tickets will be made available to students at the door- cash only

Seniors get a $5 discount

Optional Dinner is available at $25 -must be pre-ordered

Altar Boyz” Menu:

First Course:
Roasted winter squash soup – creamy soup with toasted pepitas.  (Vegan and gluten free)

Entrée:
Baked turkey breast (or tofu for vegetarians), served with agridulce orange sauce. Winter-veggie mash (cauliflower, kale and yukon gold potato) and green beans amandine. (Gluten and diary free)

Dessert:
Organic pear cake, served with grand marnier sauce and whipped cream.
(w/o whipped cream, it is vegan)

Parking is a little rough in the area, but Morse Avenue does have metered parking and the Red Line station is right there.

To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-up and click at “Altar Boyz”

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