The Midtown Men are playing the Golden Nugget in Atlantic City, NJ this weekend.
If you are nearby, don’t miss it! This is a nice article from The Press of Atlantic City including an interview with Michael.
by DAVID SPATZ
Artistic boredom can be an occupational hazard for any show’s cast who performs the same scenes with the same dialogue and the same music one night after another, one year after another.
Unless, of course, you’re one of the four members of the vocal group the Midtown Men. For six years, the quartet — who were the original stars of the Broadway musical “Jersey Boys” — have toured with a show that usually opens and closes with the solid gold music of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons, whose lives and early success are depicted in “Jersey Boys.”
In between the Four Seasons hits, though, the Midtown Men — Christian Hoff, Daniel Reichard, J. Robert Spencer and Michael Longoria — stretch themselves out and cover the music of a variety of artists — male and female, groups and soloists — but never leave the comfortable music blanket of the 1960s.
Beyond the music of the Four Seasons, it’s difficult to predict what the Midtown Men will cover when they bring their show to the Golden Nugget 9 p.m. Saturday, July 16. During a recent concert, they sang the music of everyone from the Ronettes and the Mamas and the Papas to the Beatles, the Beach Boys, The Association and the Zombies.
And that’s just for starters. The Midtown Men have a dozen other artists within easy reach.
“As soon one of the guys gets bored with their solos, we just pick another song from the ’60s,” says Longoria, 35, who originated the role of Joe Pesci in “Jersey Boys” before taking over the part of Frankie Valli.
“That really goes to show you how awesome that music is. It’s music that’s all written by teenage lovers, right?” he adds. “It’s just a great thing to re-live again when we do the Midtown Men in concert.”
The Midtown Men is an outgrowth of their success on Broadway. But it wasn’t easy when the four actors decided to form a group, create their own show and use their connection to the popular Broadway musical to help sell tickets.
Lawsuits were traded by both sides — the Midtown Men and the creators of “Jersey Boys,” including Valli — until it was eventually agreed that Hoff, Reichard, Spencer and Longoria would be careful about how they used their “Jersey Boys” connection to promote their new venture.
For Longoria, getting plucked from the cast of the 1960s musical “Hairspray” — where he made his Broadway debut — and becoming part of a show that would quickly become a staple of the Great White Way, was the culmination of hard work and dreams.
Longoria attended New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. After graduating, he needed to find a “survival job” that would pay the bills while he auditioned for acting gigs. He waited tables at Ellen’s Stardust Diner in Times Square, where the singing servers are expected to prepare a repertoire of songs from the 1950s and ’60s.
“It became a great training ground because one of my first auditions for Broadway was for ‘Hairspray,’ which is all about the 1960s,” he says. “So I went in there and sang ‘Runaround Sue,’ and it was a (musical) style I became very comfortable with it.
Then came “Jersey Boys,” and while Longoria wasn’t very familiar with Valli, he certainly knew songs like “Sherry” and “Walk Like a Man” and “Big Girls Don’t Cry.”
“So there were another several years of me singing in that (1960s) genre,” he says. By the time the Midtown Men were created in 2010, Longoria felt it was just another “natural career progression” to branch out and learn about the music of other 1960s pop artists.
As excited as Longoria was to land the role of Pesci in “Jersey Boys” — before he got into acting, Pesci was a friend of Valli’s — he says it was “amazing” the night Valli came in to see the show when he was being considered to take over the Valli part.
“(Valli) was very supportive of me,” he says. “Before I got the approval to take the part, he had to see me do it. And I remember he came backstage and pinched my cheeks after the show and said, ‘You were ‘effing’ sensational,’ only he didn’t say ‘effing.’ That was him telling me from the bottom of his heart that he really connected with my performance. And that’s all I needed to hear from him to know that anything I did up there, he was going to be cool with.”
THE MIDTOWN MEN
When: 9 p.m. Saturday, July 16
Where: The Grand, Golden Nugget, Huron Avenue and Brigantine Boulevard, Atlantic City
How much: $35 and $50, available through Ticketmaster.com
The guys have been wanting to play Sun Valley, Idaho since their first year of touring. They said it was “another special evening for us together” and well worth the wait. We can see why!
The Midtown Men—’Happy Together’ In The ‘60s
BY KAREN BOSSICK (Eye on Sun Valley)
They started off as actors on Broadway. And they parlayed that into a rock and roll band that has taken them to stages across the country.
The Midtown Men—part of the original cast of the smash hit “Jersey Boys”–will perform at Sun Valley Pavilion at 8 p.m. Sunday, July 3. Tickets start at $35 and are available at www.sunvalley.com or by calling 208-622-2135.
The boys in their Rat Pack-inspired suits will deliver a high-octane blast from the past as they sing their way through a hit parade of songs by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Turtles, Mamas and Papas and Motown.
“I wasn’t even born when these songs came out but I grew up listening to them,” said Midtown Men member Daniel Reichard. “It’s music that’s so appealing, so intoxicating, so energizing. They’re songs you can relate to, songs that light your heart up, songs that make you happy to be alive.”
Reichard a native of Cleveland, Ohio, played Candide for Leonard Bernstein’s “Candide” at the New York City Opera. He was with the original coast of “Forbidden Broadway: 20th Anniversary Celebration.” And he played Emmet in the world premiere of Jim Henson’s “Emmet Otter’s Jugband Christmas” at the Goodspeed Opera House.
It was the role he created of Four Seasons songwriter Bob Gaudio for “Jersey Boys” that launched him as a rock and roller.
“Bob will go down as one of the 1960s’ greatest songwriters,” Reichard said. “He wrote musically catchy and heartfelt hits like ‘Sherry,’ ‘Big Girls Don’ Cry,’ ‘Walk Like a Man,’ ‘Big Man in Town,’ ‘Rag Doll’ and ‘Dawn Go Away.’ He and Bob Crewe wrote ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.’ Once you get songs like that in your head, they’re always in your head.”
Reichard and his comrades—Christian Hoff, Michael Longoria and J. Robert Spencer—went five seasons starring in a thousand-plus performances as they portrayed the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons in what became one of Broadway’s biggest hits of all time.
Reichard said it was great to tell a story about a group of musicians that wasn’t well known.
“We enjoyed it so much, and then the invitations to perform began pouring in…all of a sudden we realized we had a show by accident,” he said. “We thought: Why not take it on the road and see what it’s like to become a rock and roll band.”
The quartet began singing at casinos and fairs in 2010—they electrified an audience at the Utah State Fair three Septembers ago in pouring rain.
One night at New York City’s Beacon Theater they were even joined on stage by many of the legends of the ‘60s, including Petula Clark, who sang “Downtown,” The Shirelles, who sang “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?” and Gene Cornish of The Young Rascals.
Their album “The Midtown Men: Sixties Hits” garnered five-star album reviews from iTunes. And they recorded their first radio single, “All Alone on Christmas,” with members of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band.
“The idea of concert art appeals to me a lot,” said Reichard. “And who better to base a show around than Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. They have so much soulfulness. They’re macho yet they have so much emotional vulnerability. They provided four decades of recordings and Frankie’s still performing in concert.”
All of the guys would like to return to their theater roots, Reichard said. But they’d like to keep touring as The Midtown Men, as well.
“I love singing for people who love this music so much. I love singing music that lifts people’s spirits and is so satisfying,” he said. “The best case scenario would be to do both!”
This past Thursday, Michael Longoria was joined onstage by a few dozen NYC and Broadway talents to present a concert benefitting New Alternatives, an organization that helps homeless LGBT youth in New York. Michael and his very funny co-host, Ashley Austin Morris (The Electric Company) had an easy chemistry and kept the show moving, telling jokes and introducing each singer.
It was an absolutely electric evening, with each performer delivering heartfelt performances. The atmosphere was relaxed and intimate, with a vibe of friendship, love and support.
Michael opened the show with a really beautiful acappella version of “Imagine” by the Beatles. It set the perfect tone for an evening devoted to the homeless youth of New Alternatives. He then introduced Ashley, who got the audience laughing and ready to have a good time.
As advertised, the vocalists were talented beyond belief. With each performer, it seemed, the audience’s collective jaw dropped even lower. Songs were eclectic, from many genres, including pop, jazz, rock, and Broadway. There were even a few singer/songwriters who performed original work. I really enjoyed being introduced to some new artists that I hadn’t heard before.
As the evening went on, instead of waning, the energy actually increased. The final few performers were very well known to the audience, including Diana DeGarmo and Constantine Maroulis of American Idol fame, as well as Felicia Finley (Broadway) and Christina Bianco (Impressionist, Off-Broadway). We were all waiting for the “Broadway Diva” who would be making a special, unadvertised appearance at the concert. When Tony Award winner Alice Ripley (Sideshow, Next to Normal) took the stage, the cheers were deafening. She sang a song from Next to Normal (“I Miss the Mountains”) and then paused to speak a bit about the way the Broadway community has responded to the recent act of violence in Orlando against the LGBT community. As I’m sure many of you know, Broadway for Orlando released an All-Star charity single benefitting the LGBT Center of Central Florida. With special permission from the song’s creators, Alice sang a solo version of that song for us, and brought the house down.
Although many of us may have initially chosen to attend the concert for a variety of reasons, whether to support Michael, or hear some great music, the real reason we were there was always at the forefront. Coming together in solidarity to benefit those that the larger society may cast aside – the LGBT community in general, and the homeless LGBT youth of NYC in particular – was a powerful part of the evening. Thanks to Michael and his whole team for putting on a very fun and memorable event.
Fresh off the debut of his solo album, Michael is hosting a very special concert on June 23 to benefit homeless LGBT youth of New York City. New Alternatives is an organization that helps homeless LGBT youth become self-sufficient and transition out of the shelter system and into stable adult lives. The center — which provides services including case management, education, life-skills training, community-building recreational opportunities for self-expression and support services for HIV-positive youth — will be losing its donated space after August, and Longoria is hoping the benefit will raise money as well as awareness to keep the program afloat.
Michael is also quoted as saying, ““What happened in Orlando is just a reminder that no matter how much love we have, other sources of evil are always going to resist, so let’s find a way to get serious in a positive way that shows our support for each other and our love for each other in public”
In addition to Michael and his co-host, Ashley Austin Morris, featured performers and guests include: Constantine Maroulis, Diana DeGarmo, Daniel Reichard, Marty Thomas, Christina Bianco, Tori Scott, Ryan Raftery, Willito Rivera, Matthew Gagnon, Felicia Finley, Alexa Green, Ashanti J’aria, Danny Longoria, Tim Young, Jennifer Malenke, Michelle Dowdy, Cameron Mitchell Bell, Jennifer Bishop, Matthew Roscoe, Jenna Miller, Kristina Nicole Miller, Marissa Pontecorvo and Andrea Nardello.
Raffle items include:
Tickets to The Color Purple (Broadway)
Broadway Records Album Package
Bottle of Pinot by Tituss autographed by Tituss Burgess
Tickets to Fiddler on the Rood (Broadway)
Tickets to Kinky Boots (Broadway)
Tickets to Finding Neverland (Broadway)
Tickets to Himself and Nora (Off-Broadway)
Tickets to Trip of Love (Off-Broadway)
Tickets to Feinstein’s/54 Below
697 10th Ave, New York, NY 10036
Thursday June 23rd
$10 suggested donation
On June 12, 2016, our very own Christian Hoff hosted a Tony viewing party at NYC’s Palm West restaurant.
The elegant evening featured selections from the Palm’s menu, and wines by sponsor Santa Margherita. Guests enjoyed the Tony broadcast and generously participated in a Silent Auction throughout the evening. Christian eloquently shared his family’s experience as his daughter Ella and wife Melissa are thriving and surviving ALL leukemia and breast cancer. He also spoke of The V Foundation’s role in research, and how their work is truly changing the future of cancer diagnosis and outcomes.
A highlight of the evening was Christian signing his caricature on the Palm’s new Tony Wall, which also features Hugh Jackman, Jefferson Mays, and Ben Vereen among others. Said Hoff, “It was a distinct honor to celebrate the 70th annual Tony Awards at The Palm and kick off the 10th anniversary of my Tony Award by signing my caricature on the new Tony wall! The evening matched the broadcast’s sensitive and transforming celebration of Broadway’s best by raising awareness and thousands of dollars toward cancer research and patient care for The V Foundation. On behalf of my wife and daughter and millions of others battling this disease, thank you”
Several Midtown Club members were there to experience this special event and many thanks to Pat Palumbo and Catherine Sanneman for their hard work in organizing the event. Special thanks also to Robert Sanchez, Sales Manager at the Palm West, who states that “The partnership between The Palm and The V Foundation is just beginning and we vow to fight as long as the fight is necessary.”
The Midtown Club would like to wish Daniel a very happy birthday today.
We hope that today is a wonderful start to your best year yet. We can’t wait to see what you have in store!
The Midtown Club loves you and we are behind you all the way!
Category: Daniel Reichard
On November 4th, 2016, The Midtown Men will be playing at the California Center for the Arts in Escondido. Presale for TMM friends and fans begins TODAY, June 11. This is a week ahead of the public sale, beginning June 19th. This is an amazing chance to get the best seats in the house. Don’t miss this opportunity!
Click HERE for The Midtown Club pre-sale tickets.
**If any friends/fans in or around Escondido would be interested in being part of the TMM Street Crew, hanging posters to spread the word about the upcoming show, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get you set up!
What a weekend it was! A reunion, a homecoming, a celebration….call it any or all of those and you would not be far from the truth. Three thrilling days, each one unique and exhilarating in its own way.
On Friday night, the Men played to a sold out crowd at the Count Basie Theater in Red Bank, NJ. It was their third time at this theater, and they were welcomed back with open arms. From the guys: “This was our most thrilling and invigorating show we have ever done at the Count Basie and we have all of you to thank for it! We are blessed to have such longtime friends who turn up to see us time and time again!”
I think the audience would agree that we are the ones who are blessed – by their talents, their humor, and their sincerity. I think this comment from a fan on their Facebook post says it all: “We loved this show! So much talent on one stage! Your voices are amazing! Your interaction with the audience is wonderful. The autographs after the show were fun, and it was so nice to meet each of you face to face. And let’s not forget the musicians – exceptional talent!”
On Saturday, the party moved to BB Kings Blues Club in Midtown Manhattan. A smaller, more intimate venue, the audience dined at tables and enjoyed seeing the Men reconnecting with many longtime fans and friends that they have known since their Jersey Boys days. Very special guests were in the house, including LaChanze and Maureen VanZandt, as well as Rick Elice, who (with Marshall Brickman) wrote the book for Jersey Boys.
The energy in the house was palpable, and the crowd filled with love overflowing for the guys. It was incredible to see not only the relationships that the Men have built with their fans through the years, but also the friendships that have been cultivated among the fans themselves. It was truly a reunion, filled with reminiscing and creating new memories.
On Sunday, the Men headed north of the city to the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, CT. One of the largest casinos in the country, it hosted our Midtown Men in their Mohegan Sun Arena. That night, they played to a crowd of over 8,000! The Midtown Men described the experience as “an indescribable thrill” that they will never forget. Judging from the over 100 joyful comments of their Facebook post, it doesn’t seem the audience is likely to forget their time with the Midtown Men either.
Finally, the Midtown Club celebrates all the friendships, some new and some dating all the way back to 2006, that have been created through the artistry of these four Men, whether in Jersey Boys or TMM. It is a special thing to meet people who share a common interest, and then develop a bond that is so strong that you know you have made lifelong friends. We invite you to share your own stories and send in photos from the weekend, if you were there.
It’s hard to believe that it’s May! Christian, Michael, Daniel, and Bobby had a busy winter, sharing their talents with audiences all over the map. They were in Hawaii and Florida, even China, and everywhere in between, it seems. Now, they are preparing for a “homecoming” of sorts, returning to the NYC area for a pair of very special shows.
From Broadway World:
“We are blessed with incredible audiences all over the country but I have to admit that there’s something really special about playing for our hometown fans in New York and New Jersey, ” said Tony Award winner Christian Hoff. Daniel Reichard adds, “I think it’s because these are the people who saw Jersey Boys first and have known us and supported us for over 10 years. By now we know so many of them personally and they’ve embraced us as family, and for that we’re very grateful.”
On May 20, they have a return engagement at the Count Basie Theater in Red Bank, NJ, and on May 21, they will perform at BB Kings in midtown Manhattan (just blocks from the August Wilson Theater, where everything all began).
- The Count Basie Theater in Red Bank, NJ on Friday May 20th. Click here for tickets and more information
- BB Kings Blues Club NYC on Saturday May 21st at 8pm. Click here for tickets and more information
ALSO, both of these shows are PBS events; this means that through their new PBS special (“Meet the Midtown Men”), viewers can make a pledge to their local PBS station (NJTV, WLIW, WNET) and get great seats to the shows. There are also VIP tickets available, which include access to sound check and a pre-show meet and greet with the guys. There are still some great seats available, especially to BBKings, but don’t delay!
As always, keep checking back to the Midtown Men website for concert dates and links to tickets. New dates and locations are being added all the time!