Archive for February, 2012
The Midtown Men’s Christian Hoff
Friday, March 2, 2012
Symphony Hall, Springfield, MA
Christian Hoff: singer, actor, guitarist, dancer, businessman. Hoff is one of the original Broadway “Jersey Boys” (JB). Along with the other three “Boys,” the quartet has morphed into “The Midtown Men,” taking their sell-out concert as ambassadors of 60’s music on a USA tour.
This is a paraphrased interview with Hoff.
Did you realize JB would be a hit? The minute we read the script the first time we knew there was something transcendent about this play. Magic happened. When we sang the first song, kinetic energy sparked. This was something special, although we didn’t realize JB would be so spectacular and live on. Even Frankie Valli doubted that it would be a phenomenon. I’m so happy we were part of it.
Tell us about the audition. I got a call, “What are you doing?” I answered that I was hanging around with my two kids and making dinner. “Get here NOW,” was the response. So, I grabbed my kids and my guitar, and raced to the audition. They just said “sing anything.” Apparently, they had already wanted someone like me – a tough guy image but soft inside. The director was a visionary and had picked out the personalities of each of us before he met us.
And you hadn’t met each other? We were all strangers at the start. After you work together as a team, overcome egos, you become a family. We have chosen to stay together. There is energy between each of us. The original chemistry that created JB has led us to this new show, Midtown Men. It was like magic on Broadway, and now it’s magic on the road. We are humble, and at the same time pumped up. We’ve got a kick-ass band, and except for them, we do everything ourselves – produce, choreograph, write arrangements, and do the paperwork of a business. I call us a creative juggernaut.
How is JB similar to Midtown Men? We are living what we portrayed. In many ways, Midtown Men replicates our personal JB experience. No group of Broadway actors from one show have ever broken off to perform as a unit. We had a chemistry and sound of four individuals who came together in JB. JB became our catalyst to continue as a unit. The sum is greater than each of us. We decided to keep that energy going and created Midtown Men. It takes a whole team to launch a rocket.
How did you feel when you won a Tony Award? It was a visceral feeling, a culmination of 30 years as an entertainer. To be recognized was transcendent, amazing. The real life men of JB won against all the odds. It was similar for us. I’m so proud to be part of something bigger than myself. I am honored to have been in a role worthy of a Tony Award, and honored to have portrayed Tommy DeVito. We have become good friends. He’s the kindest man.
Why the title Midtown Men? Just like The Four Seasons, we went through name after name. We wanted to segue from JB to where we are in our careers now. “Midtown” means Broadway and also means the center or any city – where anyone could have grown up. We’re just regular guys, like the people in the audience. Also, we are older now, so we decided to title ourselves “Men” instead of “Boys.”
Why should people attend this concert? All ages are diggin’ it. The show transcends music interests. It’s nostalgic and innovative at the same time, pure entertainment and joy. We burst out from the heat of the spotlight. Tommy DeVito told me, “You guys are better than we ever were.”
In addition to The Four Seasons, the guys “become” The Beatles, Beach Boys, Jackson 5, and even the Zombies.
The Midtown Men will immerse themselves in their fabulous sixties sound as they thrill a sold-out audience in Jackson, TN. Tonight’s ‘Blue Suede Spectacular’ at the Carl Perkins Civic Center is a benefit for the prevention of child abuse. Following is an excerpt from The Jackson Sun highlighting the event:
The Jackson Sun, 2/16/12, by Jesse Hillman
Total immersion is one way to describe the method The Midtown Men use to approach the way they perform music from the sixties. Tony Award winner Christian Hoff has another:
“The beauty of it is we were cast for the way we look and sound when we perform. When we are singing we’ve got it surrounded. We love the era. We love the music,” Hoff said.
Members of The Midtown Men were all major players in “The Jersey Boys,” which was a huge hit. In this new iteration – what Hoff calls chapter two, since they are not affiliated with “The Jersey Boys” any longer — The Midtown Men will cover ’60s music when they take to the stage here Feb. 25 for the “Blue Suede Spectacular” benefiting the Exchange Club-Carl Perkins Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse. ..
…”This event is over the top. We are sold out of tables, and people are still calling. We have very few reserved seats left, and the general admission tickets are going fast,” said Pam Nash, president and CEO of the Exchange Club/Carl Perkins Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse. “We are so very blessed to have the Midtown Men (Original Jersey Boys off Broadway) coming. We know everyone will enjoy the show. We are bringing New York and Broadway right here to Jackson.”
…Members of The Midtown Men are Hoff, who won his Tony for his portrayal of Tommy DeVito in “Jersey Boys,” Michael Longoria, Daniel Reichard and Tony Award nominee J. Robert Spencer. The quartet celebrates the music of the ’60s, and they each bring wide experience to the stage as singers and actors…
…Noting the charitable cause they will be performing for here, Hoff said, “We couldn’t be prouder. I’m a huge (Carl) Perkins fan as a guitarist. I’ll be bringing my 16-year-old son with me, and he’s a Johnny Cash fan. We are planning to go to Memphis and visit Sun Records. We couldn’t be more proud to be there.”
…The Midtown Men will play to a full audience as the Blue Suede Spectacular is always well-attended. ..
…”Our volunteers and staff are the best and have been working months on the decorations and props to give people the feeling of really being in New York,” said Nash. “The sights, sounds, food, and unique auction items will give everyone an experience they will never forget. We hope to raise $250,000 to help the children in West Tennessee, while having a wonderful time visiting New York and Broadway without having to leave Jackson.”
Congratulations to Coleen Deems, who has won a pair of tickets to see The Midtown Men in Springfield, MA on March 2nd! We asked fans to share (in three different places) their favorite Midtown Men or 60s song. Coleen was the only one to CORRECTLY respond by sharing on all three sites listed – here on the CLUB site, The Midtown Men’s Facebook page AND Springfield CityStage & Symphony Hall’s Facebook page. Coleen shared that her favorite Midtown Men song is “Don’t Worry Baby”, adding that The Midtown Men “rock the Beach Boys songs.”
Fear not, Midtown Men and 60s music fans! We have another pair of tickets to give away. Just be sure and respond on all three sites. And if you’ve already responded, but missed a site, you’re still in the running. Just be sure and complete your assignment!
Here are the instructions:
1) Share as a comment to this post;
2) Click here to Like and share as a post to The Midtown Men’s Facebook page ;
3) Click here to Like and share as a post to the City Stage and Symphony Hall’s Facebook page.
Complete these simple steps for your chance to win tickets to see The Midtown Men in Springfield, MA on March 2nd!
1) Share as a comment to this post;
2) Like and share as a post to The Midtown Men’s Facebook page – http://www.facebook.com/#!/themidtownmen ;
3) Like and share as a post to the City Stage and Symphony Hall’s Facebook page – http://www.facebook.com/citystage.symphonyhall.
Check out the concert calendar to see where they’ll visit next. And check out this fabulous write-up in today’s Leader-Post:
Midtown Men freshen up classics
Show adds new twists on old hits
By Barbara Woolsey, The Leader Post
For four Broadway actors, Jersey Boys was just the beginning.
And some beginning it was – the production is one of the biggest musicals of all time, winning multiple Tony awards and spawning over a thousand performances.
Now, a few former cast members are embarking on a new adventure. This time, not as Franki Valli and the Four Seasons, but as The Midtown Men.
“We started singing together outside of the show, just for fun in our dressing rooms, for private parties,” explained group member Christian Hoff. “After we left (Jersey Boys), we really missed singing with each other and the unique bond that we had in the music . and what it’s brought us is more than a concert act, but completely beyond anything that we did portraying the Four Seasons.”
Hoff along with Daniel Reichard, J. Robert Spencer and Michael Longoria, sing music from the likes of the Beatles, Beach Boys, and of course, Franki Valli. The biggest challenge, said Hoff, is trying to fully capture the era in a 90-minute show.
The hits are classic, but done with a fresh take. It’s that approach that’s being applauded by not only those who grew up with the music, but the new generation.
“What we do on stage, it’s very Rat Pack meets Mad Men, ” explained Hoff, who portrayed Tommy DeVito in the musical. “Old school, off the cuff. You know, we even rip each other. We bring our hearts to the music.”
Now, The Midtown Men are touring North America …
“We have to pinch ourselves constantly,” said Hoff. “Here we are in front of thousands of people and they’re standing and cheering for us as individuals and as artists and singers, not as the characters we played in Jersey Boys. That’s a great surprise.”
Such an accomplishment hasn’t come easily.
“We’ve turned down Broadway, TV and film to try and do this,” explained Hoff. “There have been great sacrifices . but what we’ve said no to has been eclipsed by the success we’ve had.”
The Midtown Men recently recorded an album called Sixties Hits and plan to hit the studio again soon. The band is also collaborating with orchestras in Canada and the U.S., to add another dimension to its live performance.
“The tension that keeps us together is like that of brothers or teammates,” said Hoff. “But when it comes to the music of the 1960s, we know that we are stronger together. It’s being together that’s blowing us up.”
The Midtown Men kicked off their 2012 “TOUR” in perfect style tonight at the Tennesee Williams Theatre, located on the beautiful campus of Florida Keys Community College. A friend who was in attendance reported that the sold out crowd went wild! She also shared that she spoke with a reporter after the show who shared that he has covered shows down there (Key West, FL) for 18 years and has never been to a performance he has enjoyed like this one. WELL, WE COULD HAVE TOLD HIM THAT!!
What a fantastic way to start off the year! And let’s hope the MEN, Christian Hoff, Michael Longoria, Daniel Reichard and J. Robert Spencer, can get a little rest down there in the Keys, because they are in for quite a TRIP…in just the next eight weeks they will perform 19 shows in 16 cities, including 4 shows in CANADA!
Check out the 2012 Concert Calendar for a show near you. I will update the calendar as new shows are announced, so please keep checking back.