July 20, 2007 at 04:00 AM EDT

Now this screams Theater of the Absurd: On July 5, the satiric Off Broadway production Idol: The Musical — a low-budget send-up of American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken’s rabid, easily spoofable fan base — debuted for a nine-week run at NYC’s pint-size 45th Street Theatre. It’s about a club of small-town Ohio high schoolers so in love with Aiken that they don choir robes and worship a crude 10-foot statue of him during ”meetings” that are more like religious rituals. ”These kids have found that this is their place to belong,” says creator-producer Todd Ellis. ”Other clubs, like the Red Hat ladies, wear funny hats. These guys wear funny robes.” Gushy songs like ”Idolize,” ”Quakin’ for Aiken,” and ”Burnin’ Hunk of Clay” — during which one character practically makes love to her in-progress sculpture of the pop star — provide a campy, hummable soundtrack. No word on what Aiken thinks of the show (his reps didn’t return calls for comment), but Ellis, an avowed fan who feels the crooner should have won season 2, never wavered about which Idol to use for inspiration. ”It was always Clay,” he says. ”Claymates advance the theme that society has become obsessed with Idol and the contestants.” Plus, they’re always good for a laugh.

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