You got a lead guy, a bad boy, a sensitive one, a baby-faced youngster and even a vaguely foreign lover.
But the Altar Boyz are not your average boy band.
The stars of the musical of the same name, coming Wednesday to the Auburn Public Theater, sing to save their audience's souls. Presented as a live concert, the show finds the biblically named heartthrobs Matthew (Todd Adamson), Mark (Patrick Elliott), Luke (Justin Packard), Juan (Danny George) and Abraham (Brian Golub) performing until an on-stage "soul sensor" signals that their audience is free of spiritual burden. In between numbers, which come with requisite boy-band choreography, the audience gets its own glimpse at the souls, bright side and dark, of the Altar Boyz.
"The goal is for all of the audience to see some of themselves in one of the characters," said Packard, whose Luke is the edgy one — think Donnie Wahlberg or A.J. McLean — of the Altar Boyz.
The premise of a Christian boy band touring with a soul-reading machine in tow may suggest that "Altar Boyz" is satire — but not quite, Packard said. Instead of pointing out faults or making fun of Christianity, he said, the show takes a tongue-in-cheek approach, like "Nunsense" or "Church Basement Ladies." Director Douglas Hall added that the show stops well short of the kind of aggressive criticism found in "The Book of Mormon."
"There is a lot of humor," Hall said. "But it takes you on a journey that's really beautiful. It's something meaningful."
Hall and Jeff Theiss, the show's music director, are coupling that meaning with plenty of original choreography and memorable renditions of the "Altar Boyz" soundtrack. With a five-piece on-stage band, the performers let loose on upbeat numbers like "Rhythm in Me," and look inward on ballads like "Epiphany."
"There's so much group and individual singing," Theiss said. "They each have their own style individually."
Distinguishing the songs is their modern pop sensibility, which makes them more suited to radio than the show-tune soundtracks of most musicals, Packard said. And given the intimate concert setting for the show, neither Packard, Theiss nor Hall rule out the possibility of audience members getting pulled on stage.
Along with the improvisation and new staging and dancing, the fact that five new souls are portraying the Altar Boyz in the first season of the Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival makes this summer's production a particularly unique one, Packard said.
"To be able to break ground on this is a gift to the community," Packard said, "and to us as artists."