Saturday, April 5, 2008

Blessed are the Boyz


Are the most fervent believers the toughest of audiences? For a musical comedy like Altar Boyz, I thought so. Instead of screaming teenage girls, there were enough parishioners to fill a church and an entire congregation at Onstage Greenbelt, the most nuns I've seen since Holy Week at the Vatican. My first thought when I spotted the veils was: oh no. The countdown to the show set the mood and served as a warning, but they could still take the show at face value.

Oh me of little faith!

From the first musical number, JP Valerio (Matthew), Red Concepcion (Mark), Reuben Uy (Luke), Reb Atadero (Juan), and Chevy Mercado (Abraham) proved to skeptics that they "got the rhythm" in them and were worthy to be chosen. Mercado as the only Jew has a mad falsetto; Atadero as the Latino orphan had the Spanish speakers among the expat crowd giggling; Valerio as the boyband leader has refreshing matinee idol looks and a sweet voice to match; and Uy as the "exhausted one" is probably as close to Rain as it gets, and as makulit onstage as he is in real life. As for Concepcion, he has a soft, ehem, spot in my heart because he channels Jay Manuel and is as funny as hell, er, no, I meant Sister Act. (By mistake, I told him that he reminded me of Jai Rodriguez. At least I was close--Jai Rodriguez dyed his hair in Zanna, Don't!) I asked my mom who was her favorite. "Pare-pareho lang sila...Magagaling." Naks.

Speaking as a churchgoer, I wasn't offended by the show. I didn't feel that it made a mockery out of my beliefs or was blasphemous or sacrilegious. But you can't win everyone over. My mom wasn't offended, but surely my dad would have been. No matter how many people left the theater as non-believers of the show, I had no doubt that the number of non-believers in the Boyz's talent was zero. The Boyz gave their 100% for a full 80 minutes and never faltered or looked tired (though the sweat gave them away). Performing is their calling. "High energy," described one nun I overheard. If somebody out there is taking note of my prayers, they're simple: more polished, perfectly synchronized dance moves and a longer show. Sabi nila nothing is impossible with God, di ba? ;)

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