Memphis, TN - The final stop for a national "Raise the Praise" tour of a Christian boy band is the concept for the next production in the Next Stage at Theatre Memphis November 2 – 18. The show will be reprised January 11 – 20, 2013. The musical satire, Altar Boyz, features characters Matthew, Mark, Luke, Juan and Abraham as they perform to save souls and keep count of the unsaved in the audience.
In true boy band fashion, figuratively and literally, local actors Stephen Garrett, Cody James, Christopher Hanford, Joseph Johnson and Bruce Huffman sing and dance at a non-stop pace to the musical direction of Kenny Long and choreography of Jared Johnson. Brandon Kelly is on deck as a swing player and backup singer. Director Cecelia Wingate takes the band and the audience through all the stages of belief and self-doubt and creates a true concert environment. Theatre Memphis resident lighting designer Jeremy Fisher and set designer Christopher McCollum have designed the ultimate venue for the touring band in the Next Stage.
Wingate says, "If this weren't so much fun I'd think I was in church. There is just something so great about being able to laugh at yourself and still make a poignant point. That makes this show one of a kind. My "posse" has worked their butts off to make this one of the most fun shows I have ever had the privilege to direct. The technical staff at Theatre Memphis just simply makes magic happen. Praise be to the production guys. We've had a blast rehearsing Altar Boyz. It's just so funny and really touching as well. Take every memorable boy band and pop star move, smash it all up and you'll see it onstage in Altar Boyz! The choreography is fantastic and funny….even the lighting is funny!"
"it was important that the movement be original and true to the boy band style for this to really, really work," Wingate says. Jared Johnson as choreographer created the moves and has been working with the cast members on conditioning for months. This is Johnson's first show to act as the principle choreographer, something he credits Theatre Memphis with the opportunity. "I am so excited about this show," he says with a big smile. "I really thank Theatre Memphis for the trust they put in me. And the guys, too. This show totally rocks."
Theatre Memphis Executive Producer Debbie Litch feels Altar Boyz is a break-out hit waiting to happen. "Yes, it could be irreverent in places but Cecelia is so good at finding the heart of a story … and she has done that with this show. No doubt. The younger crowd will love this show. I fully expect every one of these talented young men in the show have groupies before the run is over." Anyone who wishes to follow the Altar Boyz as they gear up for the Memphis gig can "like" the Facebook page, Altar Boyz Raise the Praise Tour 2012.
Theatre Memphis is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization located at 630 Perkins Extended (corner of Perkins Extended and Southern) and is a community theatre whose mission is to provide outstanding theatrical experiences to enrich the lives of our audiences and participants.
Theatre Memphis receives funding from ArtsMemphis and Tennessee Arts Commission.