Sunday, January 4, 2009

January 4th closings; 13 the Musical; Altar Boyz Review

It's rather poignant that I begin this entry of the new year on the day that many shows on Broadway are closing. I know a lot of this is due to the economic stress and what not and while some shows definitely deserved to close earlier (I'm looking at you Grease), some other didn't.

I'm talking about that little musical called 13.

My friend Jared and I were able to see the show December 13 in New York City. To be honest, I had no real inkling to see the show but due to losing In The Heights lotto, our next bet was the 13 student rush tickets for only $25. So despite the extremely rude box office lady at the Jacobs Theatre, we obtained our tickets for the matinee that day.

The story is simple, Evan, a boy about to turn 13, has parents going through a divorce. In turn, Evan moves away from his beloved NYC to the Midwest to begin a new life. Moving in the middle of October, just a few days away from his bar mitzvah, he has to gain new friends and learn how to 'become a man.

Through the ups and downs of the adventures in his new town, and the fantastic score by Jason Robert Brown (Last 5 years, Songs for the New World), played on stage by teenagers, and sung and acted by kids that are still in middle school, I grew to adore this show.

Walking into the theatre, I wasn't surprised that half the seats were empty....until 5 minutes until show time and it seemed every single seat in the orchestra had been filled. With people of all ages, surprising tons of young tweens, who were given booster seats to help see the stage. It was a completely odd experience for me because I'm not used to see such young people at the theatre. But that was what was great about this experience. Exposing youth to a show that is absolutely catered to their age group - with real life experiences that they can relate to. And some not so much.

I was surprised by the blatant openness that some of these characters possessed. One of the characters desperately wanted a girl named Kendra (see the song, "Hey Kendra"), when a boy swoon, "I wanna get up all in your business." Another character claims to be a sex god (Archie), who walks around stage on crutches, who also pines for Kendra. I say this with extreme ease because I saw Rent when I was just 13 and had no idea what was going on during "Contact", so if this is as risque the show got, than good for them. After all, it's not like Spring Awakening junior or anything.

Two songs that stuck out to me were "Any Minute" and "It Can't Be True". The first occured during the big movie date and was just a hilarious moment when the gang goes to see a scary R rated movie "Bloodmaster", which seems less than ideal as the movie progresses.

Someone got his eyelids torn off
And I’m sitting here
And I should be doing something
That guy got an axe in his throat
And she’s sitting there
And I don’t know why I’m waiting

But oh, any minute
I’ll be getting closer
And I’ll be where I want to be
Any minute

Someone got his gall chopped in half
And he’s sitting there
And maybe he doesn’t want me

Maybe it was something I said
Or maybe my breath
Why did I eat those pork rinds?

Cause oh, any minute
He could turn and kiss me
And we’ll be where he ought to be
Any minute

She just set his penis on fire

This is weird

What do I do?

Am I fat?

This is so not romantic

He wants to be with Lucy

This was such a stupid idea

The next song I immediately loved was "It Can't Be True", with the girls in the show circulated a rumor about the main character Evan and Kendra. With the beat and the girls' fantastic singing (which makes me insanely jealous), it's a song that stuck out.

Oh, hey, Lucy. What’s up?

Check this out. I just got the juiciest text from Charlotte who told me the nastiest thing about Kendra.

Kendra? No! What?

Alright, I’ll tell you. But remember…
Everything Charlotte says is a lie
It’s a lie, it’s a lie, it’s a lie
Everything Charlotte says is a lie
You better not believe her

Cause she said she saw
Kendra and Evan at the mall
Standing face to face
Laughing, and talking, and holding hands
Slipping all the way to first base!

But everything Charlotte says is a lie
You better not believe her

Sadly, the show closes today after being on Broadway for a short time. I do feel that this show will do very well in regional productions because it does have a base of fans that will carry this show.

The previous night I saw the Off-Broadway show, Altar Boyz. I had seen this show in its tour carnication at Gammage in Arizona and loved it. We were able to get $25 tickets to this show as well, thanks to producer Ken Davonport and his social we attended that day.

The show is based on a 5 member boy band who worship good ol' Jesus Christ. Yes, it's as hilarious as it seems, truly. Especially if you're a Catholic, a lot of the references are geared to the sometimes insane-ness of the religion (And yes, I'm Catholic, and was not offended).

Hailed as "high-octane entertainment", Altar Boyz tells the holy inspiring story of 5 small-town boys - Matthew, Mark, Luke, Juan and Abraham - trying to save the world one screaming fan at a time. Their pious pop act, including lyrics like "Girl You Make Me Wanna Wait" and "Jesus Called Me On My Cell Phone," worked wonders on the Ohio bingo-hall-and-pancake-breakfast circuit. But when fate brings them to New York, will the boyz take a bite out of the forbidden apple?
I'm really glad I saw this show again because it never fails to make me fall out of my seat laughing. I mean, who can deny lyrics like this:

Spoken: Girl, whenever we get this frisky,
I know it’s hard to put on the brakes, baby, I know.
But something’s making behave responsibly tonight.
It’s your special blend of charisma and spunk.
Crunk, I guess you’d call it.
But whatever it is, you got it all up in you girl.
You got crunk.

And I think you understand my choice,
And I know you see it’s true.
When I tell you that this hurts me more than you.

And I know that there is something about you, baby (something about you, baby)
Something I can’t even say what it is (something I can’t say)
But there’s something about you, baby (something about you, baby)
Girl, you make me want to wait (ooh, ooh, ooh)

Sadly, the venue was way less than half full. The show premiered at the New York Musical Theatre Festival and opened Off-Broadway in 2005 and has not posted a closing date - so if you're in the city and want to see something hilarious that will have you singing the tunes afterwards, go see the Boyz.

1 comment:

David said...

altar boyz was really good. got front row for that one (i got spit on ?!). sad to see it go.