Customer Reviews: Altar Boyz (2005 Original Off-Broadway Cast)
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on September 29, 2005
Seriously - although this may seem a silly thing to say, the nearest thing to this hilarious romp IS "Nunsense" - albeit that the older musical could not be more unlike this one in many ways. The basic idea in both cases is to gently (in fact lovingly) point to some of the fundamental absurdities in religion (specifically Christianity - even more specifically Catholicism).

Catholics, (and other Christians) will however laugh with the rest of us - in fact I detect the odd "in" joke that they will get and we won't. Having said that, this IS satire - it is basically making (good natured) fun of certain aspects of Catholicism (and Christianity in general). In other words - don't be afraid of being preached at if you're not religious - and on the other hand don't expect anything too uplifting if you are. It's meant to be funny, OK?

The other thread to the satire is musical - poking fun at a certain species of stereotypical pop music. This is really brilliantly executed - fans of this sort of music will simply enjoy, and wonder why the rest of us are in stitches. Of course this is the very best kind of musical satire.

The CD itself is presented NOT as a cast album, but as if it were an album from the Boyz themselves - complete with corny dedications taking off seriously "Christian" albums. AT first glance, in fact, or even second glance for that matter, there is nothing to connect it with a musical! I can imagine it being mis-classified in record shops!

I hesitate to point to any specific moments in this score - but my favourite is the song "Something about you" where one of the boyz who is definitely heterosexual (frankly, the others give one reasons to wonder) sings about his girl friend and their "chaste-but-highly-charged" relationship. People who don't take pre-marital chastity very seriously AND those who take it very seriously indeed will both find the lyrics very amusing.

That is probably what I like best about this show, and why it reminds me so much of Nunsense - it has humour that one can approach from both sides of the religious-nonreligious fence. Jokes that can make fun of religion without mocking it.

Great stuff, anyway.
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on July 17, 2005
This off-Broadway show is about a struggling Christian rock band on its way to New York and the "big time." Matthew, Mark, Luke, Juan, and Abraham take the audience to church with songs like "Church Rulez," "Rhythm in Me," and "The Miracle Song." With lyrics like "God just called me on my cell phone" and "Girl you make me want to wait," you KNOW you're going to be laughing and singing along.

I took my 18-year-old son to see the show when we went to a New York journalism convention in March 2005. It was not my choice, but I figured it was his trip, it appealed to him, so we went. BOYZ, was I surprised! What a treat! It was fun even before the Boyz came onstage when the stage crew came out and manually sprayed fog on the stage. Then the Boyz came on, and it was non-stop singing and hilarity from beginning to end.

At Dodger Theater, all seats are close to the stage and have good sight-lines. The neatest thing, however, is that the stars come out to the lobby after the performance and sign their poster and mingle with lingering audience members. What a truly genuine bunch of guys!

The CD was not available in March, so I kept track of it via their website ([...]) and ordered it through Amazon as soon as it was released. The CD is another treat! The songs are well-performed and tightly-recorded. I am transported back into the Dodger Theater audience each time I listen to it, and I listen to it A LOT! I have a CD at home, a CD in my car, and a CD I lend to friends.

The touring show begins in September 2005. If it comes close to you, go see it. You will not be disappointed. Meanwhile, enjoy the CD and the website -- both are full of fun, trivia, photos, Boyz-in-character blogs and end notes, and lots of laughter. (The website video of the Boyz in character at the pizza place is particularly hilarious.)

Amazon has a great price on the CD. Order more than one! Then go to the Boyz website and get yourself a tee-shirt and an "I Got Crunk" button. SEE THE SHOW!
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on June 12, 2005
This CD is absolutely amazing. It's so funny and so clever. Now, as a young Jewish girl, I wasn't sure if I was going to enjoy this. It definetely exceeded my expectations.

Now, it's about a Christian boy band who are on the last stop of their "Raise the Praise" tour.

The amazing score is backed by an absolutely phenomenal cast.

Scott Porter graciously takes the role of Matthew,"The Leader", and does he do it well. His voice fits so well for this music, it's like the songs were written for his voice. He's got a beautifully smooth tone to his voice that keeps you hooked every time he sings. During his solo song, "Something About You", he croons to a swooning audience member, "Girl, you make me wanna wait."

Tyler Maynard humorously tackles Mark, "The Sensitive One". He too has an incredible voice. He also seems to be the closeted gay member, and comes out during the show stopper "Epiphany" - as Catholic. He is so funny, and each line he delivers is so tongue in cheek that you can't help but laugh.

Andy Karl hilariously takes on the role of Luke, "The Bad Boy". Luke is the ghetto one, the one from the "wrong side of the tracks". Which he really isn't, which makes it that much funnier. He delivers each lyric with such humor and he does it so effortlessly. He is absolutely hysterical, rapping and being so white-ly ghetto. During his solo song, "Body, Mind and Soul", he hilariously says, "Who needs a G-E-D? I got my B-I-B-L-E!"

Ryan Duncan takes on the role of Juan, "The Latin Lover". He is armed with a wonderful Spanish accent, which comes through on most of the lines he sings, making them that much funnier. During his time to shine in the song "La Vida Eternal", the witty lyrics are backed by music well suited for Ricky Martin.

And last but certainly not least, is David Josefsberg as Abraham, "The Gefilte Fish Out of Water". Namely, the Jewish one. Now you would have to do some research on the show to figure out how he got into the group, but that's on you. He is just so funny, especially during his song "Everybody Fits". He also has an incredible voice, that being showcased in his song.

All in all, this CD is wonderful. If there weren't references to God, this CD surely would be a number one hit. The cast is incredibly talented, and they have incredible music and lyrics to work with. I highly suggest buying this CD.

PS - Also, if you do go and see the show, do not be disappointed if you get one of the two incredible understudies, Daniel Torres and Kevin Kern. Each of them knows all five parts, and will astound you either way. Also, Daniel is incredibly sweet. I've e-mailed him numerous times and he's been very quick to e-mail me back.

Go see this show, and buy this CD. You won't be disappointed.

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on June 12, 2005
My husband and one of our best friends went to see Altar Boyz, with no expectations. What a fun show!!! The show was completely tongue-in-cheek. If you just don't like boy-band music, you probably won't get into the CD. If you're into satire, you'll get into it.

Personal note: After the show, we pre-ordered the CD. After ordering, we met Tyler Maynard (Mark), Scott Porter (Matthew) and Daniel Torres (Juan) from the cast. What a bunch of nice guys. They were sincerely appreciative of the audience who came to the show. This made us bigger fans. Good things happening to nice people. We saw Tyler here in Cleveland, in a show called "Disney's On the Record" and recognized him.
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on August 8, 2006
"Altar Boyz" is one of the greatest shows to hit off-Broadway. I had the privledge of seeing it last summer and I was falling out of my chair with laughter.

"Altar Boyz" is about a Catholic boyband struggling to make it big, while saving their audience's souls through thier music. Some conservative Christians and Catholics may be offended, but the musical tastefully pokes fun at what should not represent Christianity-hypocrisy, soul-counting, and cheesey, bad art. Anyone familiar with pop contemporary Christian music and how bad it is will definitely appreciatte this CD.

The songs are not masterpieces, but then again, they're not supposed to be. The songs are catchy, fun, and hilarious. It's definitely entertaining and worth checking out.
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on May 27, 2005
I've been reading other people's reviews of this product and they seem to be all over the place. Some people loved it others hated it. I would put myself in the former group, with my big toe in the latter.

This show was fantastic. As a Gay Christian I understood every single joke, and the sarcasm behind the songs. When I saw this show performed the vocal and comedic talent of the 5 performers was astounding. They were fantastic. The rest of the audience (even my Christian/Republican/Bush-can-do-no-wrong Mother enjoyed it). There are a some underlying sarcastic themes directed toward fundamentalism, but on the whole this show put God and Jesus in a very positive light.

That being said though... for some reason the show just does not seem to translate well onto CD. My friend, another Gay Christian, has yet to see the show, but was planning on ordering the CD anyway. I advised him not to do so, because as I was listening to the CD after having seen the show, I thought to myself that if this CD was all I had to go by, the show would not have been as appealing to me. It spoils some of the better jokes, and those jokes don't make as much sense without the dialogue needed to put them into context. Also, the singers' voices don't sound as good as they do in person, and neither does the instrumentation.

My friend didn't listen to me though, and bought it anyway. He said that he loved the CD and it only made him want to see the show more.

To each their own, I suppose. I personally would suggest seeing the show first and letting the CD be a reminder of just how hilarious this show actually is, rather than letting the CD be your first impression.
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on October 17, 2005
When I first heard about the musical "Altar Boyz," I was a bit skeptical, but when it came to Detroit, I decided that I really wanted to see it. I finally did last night, and its definitely one of my favorites.

Each song is catchy and has a hilarious way of poking good-natured fun at some religious beliefs. There was a point in each song that had the entire audience laughing out loud, and listening to the ALTAR BOYZ (ORIGINAL OFF-BROADWAY CAST) disk is just as much fun as the show itself.

Highlights of the ALTAR BOYZ SOUNDTRACK are "Something About You" (my personal favorite), the song about waiting until marriage to have sex, even though you've really fallen for the right person; "Number 918," the most overly-dramatic, hilarious song from the entire show, and "The Calling," which had the audience in stitches over the ridiculous idea of Jesus calling somebody on their cell phone or paging them on their beeper.

Overall, the show and CD are both very impressive and will prove to be enjoyable for both people with very strong religious influences and people who don't. The songs are full of fun lyrics and rythm and are guaranteed to put you in a good mood! Highly recommended.
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VINE VOICEon March 4, 2006
We saw Altar Boyz in New York at the Dodger Theater with its original off-Broadcast cast. Ostensibly we had made the trek from Dallas to see Billy Crystal's "700 Sundays" and - while there - we made loose plans to fit in two other shows (depending upon prices, availability, etc). One was the Billy Crudup/Jeff Goldblum show "Pillowman" (disappointing); the other was "Altar Boyz." One year later, all we talk to friends about is "Altar Boyz." "How was 700 Sundays'?" they ask. "Really good!" I reply cheerily...followed by launching into a 10-minute blow-by-blow re-enactment of "Altar Boyz." It's that good. It has that reaction on people.

The CD can't possibily live up to the show itself which - though a spoof on boy bands - is founded on the strong singing abilities of the five 'band' members (no hiding here) and the tight accompanying band. Each of these five guys can really carry a tune and - although this doesn't translate to CD all that well - have real comedic chops. The standout by far is Tyler Maynard, whose Mark character has a serious man-crush on the Justin Timberlake-like leader Matthew. While Maynard's 'relevatory' rendition of "Epiphany" doesn't bring forth the revelation the audience is expecting, it does succeed in bringing down the house. It's the highest point in a show with many high points. If the CD captures even 50% of that energy for you, it's well worth your money.
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on May 19, 2005
Every once in awhile a show comes along that is so perfect in achieving its' goal you just want to jump up and shout I BELIEVE! This is about a boy band with Christian values but once they identify themselves, Matthew,Mark,Luke and Juan and Abraham-He's Jewish- you know tongues are going to be planted firmly in cheek. The Backstreet Boys as well as N'sync get their nods as well as Ricky Martin, and there's even a rap number. Every number on this CD is blissfully joyous, performed by 5 talented performers and kudos to the band. But these songs are not religious tracts-especially "There's Something About You" which is about abstinence before marriage but listen carefully to the sly lyrics. I also must bring attention to the song 'Epiphany'-this is the moment when Mark decides to come out of the cloisters(closet)featuring the most amazing singing I have heard in quite some time-absolutely glorious and major goosebumps . I would recommend this CD to anyone-This would even cheer a grouch.
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on September 3, 2005
There should be ten stars for this show and for the CD. I was expecting a fun show; I never expected a fantastic one; I was expecting good music, I never expected great music. I expected a show and music that made fun of people of faith; I never expected a show and music that celebrated both (With tongue firmly planted . . . in cheek, of course!)The CD's quality is not QUITE up to the live performance, and that is perhaps because that as they have performed it they have made it better than when the CD is recorded. There are those who might be afraid of "ALTAR BOYZ" as I was at first; but be not afraid, it is not sacrilegeous; nor does it seek to convert; but it does evangelize in a way that makes the good news TRULY good.
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