Lee Markham, one of the 'Altar Boyz,' hails from Treasure Island

Lee Markham, who graduated from the Pinellas County Center for the Arts and USF and plays Luke in the off-Broadway production, has advice for the American Stage in the Park actors: Keep it real.

Special to the Times

Lee Markham, who graduated from the Pinellas County Center for the Arts and USF and plays Luke in the off-Broadway production, has advice for the American Stage in the Park actors: Keep it real.

Lee Markham, who grew up on Treasure Island, is one of the Altar Boyz in New York. Markham, 26, went into the long-running off-Broadway production this month to play Luke. It's a role he knows well, having previously played Luke — the bad boy of the group, a gangsta for God whose big number is Body, Mind and Soul ("Who needs a GED?/I got my B-I-B-L-E!'') — in productions of Altar Boyz in upstate New York and Pennsylvania.

Markham graduated from the Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School and from the University of South Florida. He moved to New York to pursue an acting career in 2005. Altar Boyz, now in its fifth year at New World Stages theater, is his best gig yet.

"It's definitely a step up the ladder,'' he says. "I get a steady paycheck ($905 a week) and I'm in a show that is probably going to run long-term.''

Markham's advice for cast members of the American Stage in the Park Altar Boyz comes down to two points: Keep it real ("Don't camp up the characters'') and try to keep cool in the Florida heat.

"I hope it's not too hot for the guys, because there's a lot of dancing,'' he says. "I can't imagine doing an outdoor production. I give them props for that.''

John Fleming, Times performing arts critic

Lee Markham, one of the 'Altar Boyz,' hails from Treasure Island 04/15/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 15, 2009 4:30am]

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