Archive for January, 2013
Delightfully Closing the Generation Gap with “The Midtown Men”
IN ENTERTAINMENT, MUSIC / BY MARC S. BORIOSI (The Levity Ball, Top Entertainment News Source)/ ON JANUARY 27, 2013 AT 6:44 PM /
Attending a concert is one of the many bonding experiences that parents have shared with their children for hundreds of years. Whether it be the Renaissance period halls of Europe or the modern stadium seats of the local civic center, there are few experiences as exciting as attending a live concert. With modern concerts however, all too often something just feels missing. Performers all too frequently seem dry, unexcited, and as though they don’t really want to be there. This is especially true when comparing the concerts of today to those of the 1960s era. Thankfully though, there is now a group that not only sounds like one of the rock groups from the 60s, but also makes you feel as though you’ve stepped back in time 50 years and are truly in 1965 watching the likes of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.
The group of whom I speak is none other than The Midtown Men. The Midtown Men are four gentlemen who originally performed in the hit Broadway show Jersey Boys which was the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. Now, having moved on from the Broadway show that brought them together, they tour as The Midtown Men, and perform numerous hit songs from the 1960s rock area. The interesting part about this group, however, is not the fact that you are getting to hear 60s era music live in concert; it’s the fact that The Midtown Men are so incredible at the portrayal of their characters that you truly believe you are watching a rock group from the 60s.
It isn’t merely the music that you will hear at one of their shows, but also the feelings that being in the audience is certain to bring. Before you know it you will be screaming right along with hundreds of others, just like a Beatles groupie. This is an amazing bonding experience for you and your children or grandchildren as it allows a younger generation to truly bear witness to just how it felt to be present at the dawn of the rock and roll era. This feeling of pure joyful entertainment is not something that is given by many modern musical groups of the present.
So, if you happen to be one of the lucky ones who are close to one of the tour locations for The Midtown Men, then do not miss the opportunity to take your family to one of the best shows to hit the stage in more than 40 years. Take a step back in time, hold your baby, and enjoy the groovy feelings of the rock and roll age all over again.
After a hugely successful show in Easton, PA last night, The Midtown Men have moved on to Clinton Township, MI, the next stop on their “Full House” Tour. (I just made that name up, but it certainly fits, doesn’t it?)
The Men will play two shows at the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts – 8:00 tonight (Saturday, January 26) and 3:00 tomorrow afternoon (Sunday, January 27.) [click here for ticket information]
Although it’s below freezing in Michigan today, we know the Men will heat up the Macomb this weekend! And the Michigan weather aside, Midtown Man Daniel Reichard says he is “excited to be back in his college state! Go Blue!”
The Midtown Club wants to give a shout out to Dina C. for her STREET CREW help for tonight’s Easton, PA show. This is Dina’s second go-round as a STREET CREW member – thank you so much, Dina!! I know the MEN appreciate all your help!
Here’s a remembrance of Dina’s last visit with The Midtown Men.
Check the concert calendar to see if there’s an opportunity for you to help out by joining the STREET CREW!
Valerie Smaldone, 5 time Billboard Magazine Award winner, midday host of New York’s 106.7, FM, and friend to The Midtown Men, was in attendance at the Men’s Gramercy Theatre Showcase. Valerie shared her thoughts on the Men and the show on The Three Tomatoes website:
The insider scoop on New York City nightlife Broadway news and other fun around town
From Boys…into Men!
Do you love the Broadway show Jersey Boys? Are you into the music of the 60′s? How about a combination of those two, with a fresh twist? Pour that musical concoction into a martini shaker and you get The Midtown Men, four handsome, supremely talented gentlemen who perform music that you know and have loved. The Midtown Men consist of Tony Award winner Christian Hoff, Michael Longoria, Daniel Reichard and Tony nominee J. Robert Spencer. This group is the first vocal group every formed by the original cast of a Broadway show.
Wearing sharp suits, and engaging smiles, The Midtown Men, along with their 11 piece band took the stage at The Gramercy Theatre Sunday night, and had the crowd on their feet. Superstar singers from the 60′s were there too, including Gene Cornish of The Rascals, the fabulous Marilyn Maye, Shirley Alston Reeves of The Shirelles, and Judy Craig Mann of The Chiffons, all enjoying the evening.The songs that they choose are classic 60′s, and their harmonies are amazing, as well as their good-natured teasing of each other.
You may have caught them recently on Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve, or the Late Show with Letterman, or The Tonight Show. And they are on the road!The Midtown Men have quite a touring schedule ahead of them, and they are coming back to the East in the Spring. You can catch them in Stamford, Connecticut on May 17, in Princeton, New Jersey on May 18, and Morristown, New Jersey on June 7. If you live in other parts of the country, they are hitting all corners of the US, so go their website to find out more.
In addition to more information about the group and their touring schedule, you can also purchase their music at the STORE on The Midtown Men website. Click here to visit the STORE.
A huge thank-you to the Scranton STREET CREW, Mary H. and Katie Louise F. We sure do appreciate your support! Mary and Katie Louise received tickets to tonight’s show in return for their time and efforts.
Check the calendar for your chance to join The CREW!
Category: STREET CREW
At Macomb Center: From ‘Boys’ to ‘Men’
By Gina Joseph; Royal Oak, MI DAILY TRIBUNE Posted: Friday, 01/18/13 09:39 am
The “Jersey Boys” are back in town, only this time they’re headlining as The Midtown Men.
(The) Midtown Men, formed in 2007, reunites the four stars from the original cast of Broadway’s “Jersey Boys,” including Tony Award-winning singers Christian Hoff, Michael Longoria, Tony Award-nominee J. Robert Spencer and Daniel Reichard.
“I am very excited,” Reichard said of the show coming to the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts at 8 p.m. Jan. 26 and 3 p.m. Jan. 27. “I love my friends in Ann Arbor. I grew up in Cleveland, but I went to the University of Michigan – so it feels a little like home to me.”
After graduating with a bachelor of fine arts from U-M, he headed to the Big Apple, where his tenor strength landed him a role in “Forbidden Broadway: 20th Anniversary Celebration.” That led to his portrayal of artist and social activist Keith Haring in “Radiant Baby” and Emmet in the world premiere of the musical version of Jim Henson’s “Emmet Otter’s Jugband Christmas.”
At age 25, he was living his dream.
That background put him more at ease than the other guys auditioning for “Jersey Boys,” the documentary musical about Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Reichard also was under the impression that it was a regional show, and no big deal.
“I sang Billy Joel’s, ‘For the Longest Time,’” Reichard said. Then he read for the part of Tommy DeVito, the tough guy in the group. He did OK, but wasn’t the person they imagined for Tommy. In fact, the director told him he should instead look at the role of Bob Gaudio, and encouraged him to read for that part. Gaudio is the quiet but quintessential music maker who wrote his first hit for a group he started at age 15. It was his song, “Sherry,” that launched the incredible string of hits enjoyed by the Four Seasons. Reichard did what the director asked, surprising the audition group who assumed he would need a day to prepare. On the way out, Reichard thanked everyone and added, “Oh, by the way, I play the piano too.”
His cute quip won them over and he was offered the job.
But did he really want it? That was the next question. “I was in love with New York,” Reichard said. The show was opening in California and for all he knew, closing there the week after. In fact, producers had to shell out free tickets in advance, just to be sure of a crowd for opening night at the La Jolla Playhouse at University of California, San Diego. Still, something was telling him to take a chance.
“It was the most life-changing decision I ever made,” Reichard said. “It literally changed all of our lives and our families’ lives.”
Not only did the show last longer than a few weeks, “Jersey Boys” played to packed houses around the world, and earned the group fame, a Tony Award (for Hoff) and Tony nomination (for Spencer)**, plus enough income for Reichard to afford a plush apartment in Greenwich Village. Midtown Men is the next chapter for these accomplished entertainers, who were so popular as a group that long after they left the show, were still being asked to sing as “The Jersey Boys.”
“We were constantly keeping this thing (a celebration of music) alive,” Reichard said. When it was clear they were being requested for their harmonies, rather than that of the characters, they decided to take the show on the road, making them the first vocal group ever formed by the principal cast of a high-profile Broadway show.
“Our calendar is completely full and we’re booking into 2014,” said Reichard, who likens himself to the Paul McCartney of the group. “Christian drives us forward to get the big things done. Michael disciplines us to be cautious and careful. Bob is the big dreamer, the optimist and the patient one. I think my role in some ways is to connect all of the different points of view.”
Before every performance they huddle as friends to say a prayer of thanks for each other, the music and the audience.
“We’re living the rock ‘n’ roller’s life — waking up in a different city every day, going to rehearsals in the afternoon and then performing at night. “What’s come as a surprise is we’ve gotten to have this broad adventure and a comprehensive tour of the United States of America,” Reichard said.
The Midtown Men perform 8 p.m. Jan. 26 and 3 p.m. Jan. 27, at the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts, 44575 Garfield at Hall Road in Clinton Township. Tickets, $55 gold circle, $50 house, $5 discount for ages 55 and older and military personnel, are available at www.MacombCenter.com, by phone at 586-286-2222, or at the box office 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday through Thursday and noon-6 p.m. Fridays.
**Actually, J. Robert Spencer’s Tony Nomination was for his role as Dan in Next to Normal.
Midtown Men please audience at Scranton Cultural Center Friday
BY CAITLIN HEANEY (STAFF WRITER, THE TIMES-TRIBUNE.COM)Published: January 19, 2013
The temperatures outside the Scranton Cultural Center at the Masonic Temple might have dipped below freezing on Friday night, but inside the stage was hotter than ever.
The Midtown Men – Michael Longoria, Christian Hoff, Daniel Reichard and J. Robert Spencer – had the crowd laughing and clapping throughout a concert that boasted such 1960s hits as “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “My Girl” and “Daydream Believer.” And the quartet will stick around Scranton this weekend for four more shows, presented by Broadway Theatre League of Northeastern Pennsylvania at the cultural center.
The four stars previously found success on the Broadway stage while originating roles in the hit musical “Jersey Boys,” based on the story and music of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Their time together in that cast led to the Midtown Men’s formation, and they now tour the country singing some of the most beloved music of the 1960s.
And they’re a funny bunch, too, playing well off each other when chatting between songs. Joking with the audience and poking fun at one another, they had the crowd laughing with stories about their upbringing and experiences on Broadway. With their impeccable attire, bright smiles and wit, the group oozed a charm the audience ate up.
But the night was, of course, about the music, and the audience clapped along as the group ran through a set list that included music by the Temptations, the Beatles, the Jackson 5 and – of course – the Four Seasons. They didn’t seem to try for exact imitations of the originals, which served them well by allowing them to infuse their own style while still keeping alive the songs’ integrity.
They encouraged the audience to dance and sing along at times, too, and many people seemed more than happy to oblige. It made for an entertaining night all around, as the audience couldn’t help but absorb some of the fun the Midtown Men clearly seemed to have while performing.
With four Broadway vets – including a Tony award winner and a Tony nominee – on stage, the audience might have expected a show full of strong voices, slick dancing and a style only the best of the best can provide.
And the Midtown Men did not disappoint on any of those counts.
Contact the writer: email@example.com, @cheaneyTT on Twitter If you go
What: The Midtown Men
When: today, 2 and 8 p.m., and Sunday, 1 and 6 p.m.
Where: Scranton Cultural Center at the Masonic Temple, 420 N. Washington Ave.
Details: Tickets are $39, $49 and $59 and are available at the box office, over the phone at 800-745-3000 or 342-7784 or online at www.ticket master.com.
You can get a sneak peek of THE MIDTOWN MEN tomorrow, Friday January 18 when they appear on PA LIVE (WBRE – NBC) between 4 – 5pm. The performers will stop by the show and provide a preview of what is to come when they get on the stage this weekend and they might even sing a song or two.
SCRANTON CULTURAL CENTER
Friday – 8pm
Saturday – 2 & 8pm
Sunday – 1 & 6pm
Get your tickets at:
The Cultural Center Box Office
Or Click Here
Thanks to Midtown Club Member Mary H. for the heads up! Gotta love the Midtown Club community!
Friday – 8pm
Saturday – 2 & 8pm
Sunday – 1 & 6pm
The Cultural Center Box Office
Or Click Here
Would you like to win a pair of tickets to see The Midtown Men in concert? Well, here’s your chance! The Midtown Club is giving away tickets for the Men’s upcoming shows in York and Scranton, PA!
Have you seen The Men in concert before? If so, leave a comment to this post and share where and when you saw the show, and what your favorite part of the experience was. If you haven’t seen the show, leave a comment sharing what you look forward to most if you win tickets. And please let us know which show you are able to attend – York or Scranton. Everyone who responds is eligible to win.
If you don’t win, there are still tickets available. Click here for ticket information for Thursday night’s show at the Strand in York, PA. Click here for ticket information for Friday, Saturday and Sunday performances in Scranton, PA.
Ex-Yorker, Broadway star returns with The Midtown Men
MEL BARBER / The YorkDispatch
Classic rock: Singing music of the Beatles, the Mamas and the Papas, the Beach Boys and other big names, the foursome made the leap from Broadway to their own touring singing group just a few years later. For Spencer, now in his 40s, it’s a natural outgrowth of a childhood immersed in music.
“I grew up listening to all decades of music, and I vividly remember as a child, whenever I’d get in the car with my parents, I’d always ask them to put on the classic rock station,” he says. “In a lot of ways, the music of that era taught me how to be a singer, it taught me how to be a musician. … I know that my gift was crafted in that yellow station wagon with the wood paneling, listening to the classic rock and roll station.”
A drummer since fourth grade, Spencer talks beats and arrangements with the percussion section of the Midtown Men’s backing band. Each of the four members has his own area of expertise, he says.
“The four of us in the Midtown Men were all musicians before we ever were actors,” he says. “Chris is talking to the guitar players, Daniel’s over at the piano and Michael is usually talking to the horn section. … We bring a lot of creativity and variety to the table because we know music and we know how we want it to sound.”
Making it their own: Creating their own sound is a passion for the Midtown Men. The group isn’t interested in a by-the-numbers tribute or a note-for-note remake of classic tunes; there’s a sense that the music is a living thing to be both respected and reinvigorated with a new approach.
“The songs that we choose have to resonate with us personally and as a group,” Spencer says, “but also ‘What can we give it so the audience can take that home with them?’ … We always give it a new fresh sound and arrangement.”
He describes the group’s take on “Can’t Buy Me Love,” translating the catchy Beatles classic into a Las Vegas lounge style.
“It’s completely different from (Paul) McCartney and (John) Lennon; we give it that really Frank Sinatra horn-layering arrangement,” he says. And, of course, updates are always on the horizon. “We’re going to be throwing some new stuff, new groups, new songs into the show for the new year.”
All smiles: The audience gets to see “best friends on stage cutting it up, singing great music, having a good time,” Spencer says. “If the audience sees you’re having an organic and authentic good time on stage, then they’re having a good time. … The thing I always guarantee audiences is that they’re going to walk away with a smile on their face.”
Spencer, too, will have an extra-large smile on his face on Jan. 17, when the Midtown Men hit the stage at the Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center. It’s a homecoming, a chance to reconnect with friends from his days at Central York High School and York Little Theatre.
“I’m just so excited to get back to York. … I’m hoping it can be a great reunion for me and my high school friends,” he says. “I’m very, very excited to get back, and I want people to get themselves to the theater, because I promise you it’s going to kick off the new year in such a positive and uplifting way for everybody.”
See the show and get the music:
The Midtown Men will deliver singing, dancing and comedy featuring the music of the 1960s at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 17, at the Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center, 50 N. George St., York.
“After every show we sell our CDs, we meet fans, we take pictures,” says Midtown Men member J. Robert Spencer. “It’s one of our highlights. We love it.”
Tickets are $49-$59. For more information, call 846-1111 or visit www.strandcapitol.org.
The Midtown Men have out a Christmas single, “All Alone on Christmas,” written by Stevie Van Zandt, in addition to an album of classic 1960s hits. For more information on the group, visit www.themidtownmen.com.