Review – “Altar Boyz” at Drury Lane

altarboyz2.jpgProduction: Altar Boyz
ProducersDrury Lane Water Tower
Synopsis: The Christian rock band, The Altar Boyz, is holding their final concert before they break up, and you’re the audience.  In the process of the evening, a handy “Soul-ometer” updates the audience as to how many souls have been saved as the concert continues.  Will your soul be saved by this kitschy group of boy band popsters?
Pros: Cleverly cute songs, including “Jesus Called Me On My Cell Phone” and a lesson in maneuvering a Catholic mass (“Stand up, sit down, kneel, go in peace…).  The mostly-local cast is great, and the show’s gimmick, the large digital “Soul-ometer”, works well, holding the show together.
Cons: Songs trend towards pop fluff, high ticket price.
Overall: Though you will not walk away from Altar Boyz spiritually enlightened, you definitely will be exhausted from the pure fun and athleticism of the show.  Check it out!

Rating: «««½

October 14, 2007 | 1 Comment More

Fun video from Bailiwick’s “Zanna, Don’t”

Here’s a rough-ish recording of the bows and finale from “Zanna, Don’t!” at the Bailiwick.  I especially like the 3-part accapella section near the end of the clip.  Can’t wait to see it myself!

October 12, 2007 | 0 Comments More

“Zanna’ trivia – Queer Eye star played lead

For most of the segments of “Queer Eye For The Straight Guy” that I sat through, I often wondered “why the hell do they have this culture guy on?  He’s useless!”.  I was talking about Jai Rodriguez, the Queer Eye rep in charge of the vague “culture” aspect of straight-guy-reprogramming.  Anyway, it wasn’t until later that I found out that he was an accomplished singer/performer, playing the lead in “Zanna, Don’t!” during the Off-Broadway run of the show.  I dug up a montage of his performances.  Unlike the Off-Broadway cast recording, he seems to have taken some bad advice, plunging into an American-Idol-singing style.  Oh well….

October 12, 2007 | 0 Comments More

Half-Priced tix

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October 12, 2007 | 0 Comments More

Giving “House Theater” the boot???

springfarm1-small.jpgLooks like one of my favorite theatre companies is losing their performance space.  House Theater has called the barn-like Viaduct its home for a number of glorious years.  The space, located near the corner of Belmont and Western, always has had such a gritty feel to it – tucked away west of Lakeview, one not even knowing that a theater was there if you missed the small “Viaduct” arrow.  But once you got inside, the energy of the space was amazing. House Theater used this yawning space to great advantage, being able to reconfigure the seating to fit the show. 

Unfortunately the Viaduct owners have decided that they would like to take the space towards a new direction.  Not really sure what that means – a music venue?  A bar?  A Gentlmen’s Club?  (yeah, right). 

 I really hope that House Theater will take their time in finding the perfect spot.  Artistic director Nathan Allen reports that they are now looking for a flexible space in the areas of Lincoln Square, Roscoe Village or Uptown.  I personally think that Uptown, somewhere around the Lawrence or Wilson el stops, would be an ideal location, but it all depends on what’s available.  Good luck!

By the way, if you haven’t checked out their smash hit “The Sparrow” at the Apollo Theater, do it now!!

October 11, 2007 | 0 Comments More

Praises abound for “Altar Boyz”

AltarBoyz - Chicago Cast

Chicago cast of Altar Boyz

From Chris Jones at the Chicago Tribune :

Despite the dizzying array of competing entertainments on offer this fall, I suspect “Altar Boyz” will do well at Water Tower. Just 90 fast-moving minutes in the company of an attractive male cast, this will be irreverent enough to please shoppers out to let loose a little on the Magnificent Mile and affectionate enough to ensure no one cancels church.  (To read entire review, click here.)

And Hedy Weiss at the Sun-Times calls Altar Boyz “A high-spirited journey to epiphany”, adding:

As for the “boyz,” they are tireless and neatly differentiated. Devin DeSantis is Matthew, the easily charming lead boy; Brian Crum is Mark, the megavoiced “gay Catholic”; Tyler McGee is Luke, the ever “exhausted” substance abuser with acrobatic skills; Adam Zelasko is Juan, the Mexican foundling, and Nick Verina is Abraham, the wandering Jew and lyrics writer. The powerhouse onstage band, led by Chicago’s Alan Bukowiecki, is hot. Now all that is needed is a DVD featuring the Altar Boyz’ workout routine.  (read entire review here.)

Kris Vire of TimeOut Chicago:

Altar Boyz ends not a moment too soon—any longer than 90 minutes and the joke would overplay its welcome—but for anyone with a religious background and a sense of humor about it, these five triple-threat actors (a more sparkling crop than we often get in Chicago musicals) should win over plenty of converts. (read entire review)

MORE REVIEWS: Tom Williams at ChicagoCritic.com – “…entertaining, catchy, and pleasant”,

October 10, 2007 | 1 Comment More

In honor of the opening tonight of “Altar Boyz”

As tonight is the opening of “The Altar Boyz” in downtown Chicago, I thought I’d post a little teaser that I found on YouTube.  Enjoy!

October 7, 2007 | 0 Comments More

Review – GayCo Production’s “iHole”

iHoleProduction: iHole
Producers: GayCo Productions
Synopsis: iHole finds the uproarious hilarity of a nation and a queer community taking separate but equal journeys as they are sucked into the powerful force of the iHole.  Through it all, GayCo learns what politicians have known for years: it’s hard to resist being pulled into The Center.
Pros: Energetic, funny skits about gay life in Chicago, great location, low ticket price of $15
Cons: Uneven, a few segments fall flat
Overall: iHole is a great compliment to a fun evening out in Lakeview. Take in the revue, and then go out for dinner and drinks.
Rating«««

October 6, 2007 | 1 Comment More