"Altar Boyz" is Great Entertainment from Pollard Theatre

Elizabeth Hurd Published: October 12, 2013

Just north of Oklahoma City in Guthrie, lovers of fine visual and performance art find excellent entertainment.  The Blue Grass Festival coupled with the Art and Wine Festival coincided with the opening of “Altar Boyz” at the Pollard Theatre.  Recently with City-Rep and the University of Central Oklahoma’s excellent collaboration on “Godspell” the inspiration continues with “Altar Boyz” in Guthrie.   The show revolves around an aspiring boy band spreading the beautiful message of unity and uplifting love with an interesting combination of hip hop, rap and 21st century rock and roll.

The opening of the show displays magnificent lighting effects designed by W. Jerome Stevenson and Michael Long.  The set is expansive, beautiful and quite workable thanks to the thoughtful work of James A. Hughes and once again, Michael James provides perfect costumes.

“Altar Boyz” highlights the stimulating direction of Timothy Stewart as well as creatively exciting and physically extravagant movement by Choreographer Jennifer Rosson and Assistant Choreographer Joshua McGowen.  Great teamwork is displayed between Stewart, Rosson and McGowen provide a secure foundation for the demanding and strenuous dance routines the actors must perform.

Musical Director Stevenson works beautifully with Band Leader Todd S. Malicoate (keyboard 1)for a great sound from performers and band members, Peter Van Gee on keyboard 2, Jason Hunt on guitar and Steven Starks on drums.

With all this support technically and musically the five member male cast has all they need to sink or swim.  And swim they do!  “Altar Boyz” is a splash hit!  The story line is simple; five young men come together with a love of music and a love of God.  Realizing that God inspires their music and the music inspires faith the go on tour.  On the last night of the ‘Raise the Praise’ tour (in Guthrie, Oklahoma) they use their ‘soul sensor’ to uplift the souls of the audience and ultimately discover their own faith in one another and their love of God brings all unity.

This minimalist musical plot, conceived by Mark Kessler and Ken Davenport from the book by Kevin Del Aguila has music and lyrics by Gary Adler and Michael Patrick Walker.  Essentially it is the back story that unifies what becomes an exciting rock concert.

The cast of “Altar Boyz must be talented, balanced and extremely competent physically.  These five young men have strong beautiful voices and exceptional harmonizing abilities that never falter through the most frenetic dance movements.

Clayton Blair as Luke has grown into an exceptionally fine performer with a booming voice and confident cool moves.  Austin J; Morris as Matthew has a commanding stage presence and he uses his beautiful voice and tight movements to create a moral compass for the band.  Nicholas Hunter is a distinctive Mark, with surprising deft moves and broad vocal range. A student at UCO he is prominent in musical theatre and classical programs and he shows great promise as an actor.  Matthew Morales is Juan and his excellent voice adds a great deal of flavor along with his Spanish accent.  In addition Morales being the band’s ‘token Hispanic’ as he terms himself, the band also has recruited one Jewish member among the Catholic group.  Abraham just happens by the Catholic Church as the band forms and they discover he is a very talented poet and lyricist.  Jared Blount is Abraham and he is excellent at vocally expressing the lyrics Abraham writes and his wiry agility in dance is exceptional.

Together the five actor/singers harmonize perfectly with superb timing and movement in dance routine after dance routine maintaining smooth vocal expressions.  Occasionally, should one hear the Voice of God, don’t panic, it is the voice of Greg Hopkins with the gentle boom of deity.  The Judeo-Christian ethic appears to be alive and well in the Heartland and “Altar Boyz” plays at the Pollard Theatre through October 26, 2013.  Tickets can be purchased on line at www.thepollard.org or call 405-282—2800.  Curtin rises at 8:00pm Thursday through Saturday with Sunday matinees.  Reserve soon and enjoy great musical theatre at the Pollard, 122 W. Harrison in downtown Guthrie.