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ho doesn’t want to be saved? Especially when it’s by five adorable, talented and sexy boyz, musically spreading God’s word about love and acceptance? This is exactly what you will get if you spend your hard earned dollars on this upcoming show, part of the On Stage Cabaret Series at the

Diversionary Theatre. I know for some, the “holy” themes in this production can be off-putting, if you are not of the religious persuasion. For many, any “preachin’ of God’s word” can elicit a need to fling objects at said pontificator, or run for the hills. I encourage you to resist the urge to lob and run, there is a poignancy to this production that should not be missed. And, it’s a whole lot of fun to watch... I was lucky enough to witness an afternoon rehearsal with the “Boyz” and

watched first hand the process of “putting it together.” Producer/Director Noah Longton, Choreographer Michael Mizerany and one of the actors, Shaun Tua- zon who just finished playing the character of “Angel” in the San Diego Musical Theatre’s production of Rent (very successfully I might add), were gracious with their time and shared the following insights. Incidentally, the three have a previous connection, having all worked together on the production of Dooley at the Diversionary last year. I asked about the journey the production took to get to the Diversionary,

Noah Longton the producer/director said, “I did the production in college and it stuck with me. I have always wanted to bring it to a larger stage with real danc- ers and real singers and I’ve been wanting to work with the Diversionary for a long time. They saw it and felt it was a really good idea and a perfect fit for the new Cabaret Series—it just came together.” We all remember the boy bands of the ‘90s, there was a proliferation of them,

one couldn’t turn on the radio without being barraged with their perky pop tunes. This show is a perfect representation of that phenomenon, a fun play on stereotypes in so many ways, set to tunes that have a spiritual bent. Noah explained the archetypical characters this way, “it’s a typical boy band, you have the leader/pretty-boy front man, the sensitive ambiguously gay one, next it’s

the ‘bad boy,’ then one that represents ethnicity (who grows up in Tijuana) and because this is a catholic boy band, you have a token Jewish member (laugh- ter). Their names are Matthew, Mark, Luke, Juan and Abraham… You gotta love that.” Part of the premise, is that at the end of their “Raise the Praise Tour,” the group questions their loyalty to each other and ask the question: Is faith really holding them together? I was lucky enough to hear “Epiphany,” performed by Hunter Schwarz, who

plays “the ambiguously gay” character of Mark. It is in many ways a perfect representation of the witticisms expressed in the show. The song details his process of “coming out as a Catholic” (sound familiar?) and begins with, “I look into your eyes and I see the pain you hold inside. Aren’t you tired of the lies you tell so you can hide,” which speaks to his “secret” and goes on with, “Shout it out and make them hear your voice. Your posse might not think it’s dope. To confess your sins, and like the Pope. But this is who you are, it’s not a choice.” It’s hysterical in many ways, but deeply personal to those who have gone through a difficult coming out process, especially when faced with religious judgmentalism… “God doesn’t make mistakes and he made me. Let out what you’ve trapped inside. Come on and show your Catholic pride—That’s how you were meant to be,” ala the “I am what I am...” anthem. Funny, poignant, sweet and sentimental and a whole lot of work for the cast members who just stated rehearsals in early July. There are 13 choreographed numbers with very tight harmonies and physically demanding routines, and as Shaun Tuazon laughingly put it, “Wait, we have to do these tight harmonies AND dance? This is hard!” My guess is that they will all “rise up” to the challenge and spread their message of unity, love and acceptance—which is really what the story (and faith) is all about. Take the time and see this show, you might just have your own “awakening!”

Altar Boyz is playing at the Diversionary Theatre, 4545 Park Boulevard from Thursday, Au- gust 9 through Sunday, August 19. It’s a short run, so get your tickets now! To purchase tickets, or for more information, call 619.220.0097 or go to



RAGE monthly | AUGUST 2012 monthly | AUGUST 2012

Hunter Schwarz, Patrick Mayuyu, Hanz Eayeart, Shaun Tuazon and Nicholas Sloan in ALTER BOYZ.

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