Religion is one of those topics you’re not supposed to bring up in polite company, but it’s the main focus of an off-Broadway musical that’s making its first Iowa appearance. Twenty-five-year-old Andrew Call plays Luke in “Altar Boyz,” a spoof about a five-member religious singing and dancing boy-band, a sort of ‘N Synch in church. Call says he initially feared the show might offend people, but “I’ve actually come to respect people that have religious affiliation more just for believing in something so passionately. That’s what drives me.”
Call says he’s now routinely performing for audiences that range from atheists to priests, nuns and rabbis. He says it’s not surreal but pretty funny. A few nights ago, three priests came to the show and one said it was the best show he’d ever seen. Des Moines is this troupe’s second stop on a tour that opened in Detroit in September. Call says the characters in the on-stage Altar Boyz are four Christians and one Jew, but he says the story plays to people of all religions — and those who don’t believe in God.
Call, an Arkansas native, says he knew the subject matter could become a hot-button issue for some people. Since he grew up in the Midwest, the now-New York resident says he knew the mindset better and says people out here are very accepting of the storyline and message. “Altar Boyz” is at the Temple for Performing Arts in Des Moines through February 12th. For more information, surf to “www.civiccenter.org”.