StageCoach produces off-Broadway’s Altar Boyz in Nashua
By Heidi Masek firstname.lastname@example.org
Matthew, Mark, Luke and Juan — and Abraham close their 2009 “Raise the Praise” tour in Nashua.
StageCoach Productions is presenting Altar Boyz, a show about a fictional Christian boy band. It started an off-Broadway run in 2005.
If you missed the late 1990s boy band craze of ’N Sync and the Backstreet Boys, see this show, Trevor Buteau said. StageCoach will be “busting out” all of the old boy band dance moves, he said. Buteau plays Luke. Lauren Cassidy choreographs.
Director Timothy L’Ecuyer said the musical numbers cover a wide range, including a nod to Enrique Iglesias.
L’Ecuyer became interested in Altar Boyz after listening to a friend’s recording of the New York version. It was different from a lot of musicals he’s worked on. Pop and boy band styles “are not something you find in My Fair Lady,” he said.
StageCoach likes to do shows everyone else isn’t doing, shows that might be a little edgy, said Peggy Harris, a volunteer for the community company. Hayward and L’Ecuyer founded StageCoach with Michele Henderson, and the company launched with a musical Jane Eyre in 2007. They’ve also staged musicals Jekyll and Hyde, Parade, The Secret Garden and Sweeney Todd.
Altar Boyz only has five cast members, including Michael Spaziani, Zachary Bencal, Josh Dennis and Tyler Christie. The youngest is about to be a senior in high school, the oldest just graduated from college, Harris said. They’ve all been acting together for about six years, mostly in Peacock Players and some other community shows, Buteau said.
In this play, the stage really is supposed to be a stage.
“It is like you’re going to see a boy band show except the whole thing is scripted,” Harris said. The back story is that the Altar Boyz served as altar boys together before forming a band and recruiting their Jewish friend, Abraham.
The Sony Soul Sensor DX-12 on stage measures how many unsaved souls are in the audience, and the Altar Boyz are on a mission to get that counter to zero, said musical director Judy Hayward.
Buteau called the show hysterical.
“They are sincere with what they are trying to say... but they don’t realize that what they have said could have a double meaning,” Hayward said.
In “Everybody Fits,” a number with the message that everyone is accepted in the family of God, they use Sheri Lewis-style Lamb Chop puppets, L’Ecuyer said.
Altar Boyz sort of merges “traditional church teachings and boy band lore,” L’Ecuyer said. The script indicates that religious beliefs should be treated as if they are the newest, hottest trend, L’Ecuyer said. “We try to follow that as much as we can,” he said. The Altar Boyz talk about faith the way boy bands talked about clothes, he said. By the end of the show, they get over that a little and it becomes a show about community, faith and brotherhood, but it “never even comes close to being heavy-handed about it,” L’Ecuyer said. “It effectively uses comedy to make its point,” he said.
If you go
What: Altar Boyz, book by Kevin Del Aguila, music and lyrics by Gary Adler and Michael Patrick Walker, conceived by Marc Kessler and Ken Davenport.
Who: Presented by StageCoach Productions
When: Friday, June 26, at 8 p.m.; Saturday, June 27, at 2 and 8 p.m.; and Sunday, June 28, at 2 p.m.
Where: Janice B. Streeter Theater, 14 Court St. in Nashua
Contact: 320-3780, www.stagecoachproductions.org
Note: Call to inquire about a limited number of floor-level, stage-side rush tickets.