Archive for March, 2013
By BY WALT BELCHER | The Tampa Tribune
Published: March 27, 2013
With finger-snapping music from a bygone era and clean-cut good looks, the quartet sings, swings, cracks jokes and shares showbiz war stories.
The Midtown Men, a sort of retro “boy band” comprised of middle-aged Broadway veterans, creates a 1960s vibe that recalls the Frank Sinatra/Dean Martin Rat Pack days as well as the harmonies of The Four Seasons, the moves of Motown groups like The Temptations, and the cool machismo of “Mad Men.”
Formed by four actors who were in the original “Jersey Boys” cast, the Midtown Men include J. Robert Spencer, Christian Hoff, Daniel Reichard and Michael Longoria. They bring their song-filled show to Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater at 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday.
“We were in ‘Jersey Boys’ for more than a thousand performances,” says Spencer in a telephone interview. “We became close friends so we have a chemistry that makes this work. Not only do we tell our stories but we get to sing some really iconic music of the 1960s.”
“It’s like a little Johnny Carson, a little Rat Pack and music from a whole decade,” he says.
“Jersey Boys,” a hit since it debuted in 2005 and still going strong worldwide, tells the musical story of 1960s pop group Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.
The Midtown Men’s repertoire goes beyond the Four Seasons to include golden oldies such as The Monkees’ “Daydream Believer;” The Zombie’s “Time of the Season; The Drifters’ “Up on the Roof;” The Associations’ “Never My Love;” The Mamas & the Papas’ “California Dreamin’;” and more.
They also cover those Four Season hits like “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry” and “Candy Girl.”
In the original “Jersey Boys,” Spencer portrayed the group’s bass singer Nick Massi; Hoff won a Tony Award for his portrayal of band member Tommy Devito; Reichard portrayed band member Bob Gaudio.
Also in the original, Longoria created the role of Joey (based on actor Joe Pesci who was a close friend of the Jersey Boys) and later stepped into the role of Valli.
Each member of The Midtown Men found success after the “Jersey Boys” run. Longoria has been working on his own album; Spencer starred in the 2008 critically acclaimed “Next to Normal” on Broadway and has his own independent film production company; Hoff has appeared on several TV dramas filmed in New York and sings in nightclubs; Reichard also performs in New York clubs and in concerts.
THE MIDTOWN MEN
WHEN: 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater
TICKETS: $35 to $45, (727) 741-7900 and http://rutheckerdhall.com
The Midtown Men have been blazing a path across Florida and leaving very ecstatic fans, old and new, in their wake!
DAYTONA BEACH: The packed house on February 28th at the Peabody Auditorium in Daytona Beach was crazy for the MEN. And my group of 15 was no exception. The entire experience was fabulous, from the beautiful Florida weather to a delicious lunch and beautiful view from Joe’s Crab Shack on the Daytona Beach pier, to singing and dancing the night away and sharing the experience with family and friends.
PENSACOLA: The Men then had the pleasure of a very enthusiastic crowd at the Saenger Theatre in Pensacola. Another gorgeous beach, more beautiful Florida weather, and from what I understand, a fantastic show for all. And Street Crew Member Barbara Gandy was on hand to take lots of pictures (more to come) and ham it up with the boys!
TALLAHASSEE: After a quick side-trip to central Georgia, The Men were back in Florida, this time in the State Capitol of Tallahassee. The weather wasn’t quite as nice, but the crowd at the Men’s first-ever arena show was just as enthusiastic! I was so glad to hear the people around me singing every song, enabling me to sing my heart out uninhibitedly…is that a word?!!?
The crowd went wild when THE MEN broke into a few verses of ”Tallahassee Lassie”, which they admitted to learning earlier that day on the five hour trip from Athens – endearing them to the audience even more. From what I learned while speaking to people after the show, other acts are not so thoughtful. Way to go, guys!!
I never miss the opportunity to tell people that The Midtown Men show is enjoyed by audiences of all ages, and this Tallahassee show was no exception. My 10 year old daughter and her friend had a blast, as did many other kids in the audience. At one point during the show, perhaps while I was singing and dancing and embarrassing her, my daughter whispered to her friend “This is like One Direction for our parents’ generation!”
Written byAriel Backer,Staff Writer, fsunews.com
What a night will ensue when The Midtown Men arrive in Tallahassee this week. The dashing vocal quartet, who are comprised of seasoned Broadway veterans, serenade audiences with classic tunes from the ’60s era. The group’s 2012-2013 national tour will cover a total of 77 cities from coast to coast; this week their journey stops in the Capital City for one night only.
On Friday, March 22, The Midtown Men will present their acclaimed live concert experience at the Tallahassee-Leon County Civic Center.
Formed in 2007, The Midtown Men reunites four stars from the Original Broadway Cast of the 2006 Tony Award-winning musical Jersey Boys—a production that celebrates the legend and tale of the 1960’s rock ‘n roll group The Four Seasons.
The Midtown Men is compiled of Tony Award-winner Christian Hoff, Michael Longoria, Daniel Reichard and Tony Award-nominee J. Robert Spencer.
During their time in Jersey Boys, the men shared the stage for over 1,000 performances and charmed television audiences with appearances on the Today Show, The Late Show with David Letterman and Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve.
What started off as four performers with an idea turned into a reality bigger and better than their wildest dreams. The men are taking their extraordinary and undeniably successful sound on the road for a third year; they have performed over 200 concerts across the United States, along with several national television appearances.
The Midtown Men’s repertoire channels a similar sound that inspired Jersey Boys, but with a twist. Their musical set incorporates their favorite “Sixties Hits” from The Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Four Seasons and others. There’s a Motown sequence in the show and the quartet weaves in tales from their lives.
The Midtown Men are the first vocal group ever formed by the principal cast of a high-profile Broadway show—and considering that Jersey Boys has such a unique portrayal of events and fantastic music that brings audiences to their feet, these men will surely put on an unforgettable performance.
Not only have The Midtown Men stolen the hearts of audience members of all ages during their shows, but their debut album, The Midtown Men: Sixties Hits, has garnered five-star reviews from iTunes as well as critical acclaim. The album features iconic ’60s hits such as “Can’t Buy Me Love” and “Candy Girl.”
“I am absolutely ecstatic that The Midtown Men are arriving in Tallahassee,” FSU senior Amanda Taylor said. “Their sound is sensational and I love ’60s music, so there’s a lot to be excited about.”
Click here for ticket information.
News Journal correspondent
The dream that started with the Broadway hit musical “Jersey Boys” continues for Reichard on (Tuesday) as the Midtown Men perform at the Saegner Theatre.
The Midtown Men is a showcase of ’60s music featuring songs by the Beatles, the Beach Boys, the Temptations, the Jackson 5 and the Four Seasons, the last of whom were the inspiration for “Jersey Boys.” The Midtown Men also features four stars from the original “Jersey Boys” cast.
“I’m proud to say that I was with the show ‘Jersey Boys’ since the first time the script was ever read,” Reichard said. The play premiered in La Jolla, Calif., before making its way to Broadway and winning the Tony Award for Best Musical in 2006 and the Grammy Award for Best Musical Show album in 2007.
The musical, which also earned cast member Christian Hoff a Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical in 2006, dramatizes the rise and fall of the Four Seasons.
The “Jersey Boys” cast shared a dream as the show became a Broadway sensation. The four stars of the play, Reichard, Hoff, Michael Longoria and J. Robert Spencer were even invited to perform at exclusive events and private parties including Katie Couric’s 50th birthday party.
“We had every celebrity clamoring to go to the show and come backstage to say hello to us,” Reichard said. “When you’re a kid or in high school and you’re dreaming of becoming a Broadway actor, you hear the phrase, ‘The Toast of the Town.’ I didn’t really know what that meant until ‘Jersey Boys’ came along.”
As their popularity grew, so did the invitations to perform as a group. “The show was just such a huge hit,” Reichard said. “It changed my life, it changed my family’s life and that goes for all of us.”
Even as the cast separated to follow newly opened doors, the invitations for the four members continued. Reichard’s post-‘Jersey Boys’ adventures included the lead role in the New York City Opera’s production of Leonard Bernstein’s “Candide.”
Why take a gamble and reunite the four original members for Midtown Men? Reichard recalled the moment he knew it was all worth the risk.
“We went on and worked on other projects and the invitations continued,” he said. “Why don’t we give this a try and do this like a real band? Why don’t we go on the road together and see if we have any success?”
Three years later, the Midtown Men have performed over 200 concerts across the United States along with national television appearances.
“It’s been an amazing second rocket ride,” Reichard said. “And as far as I’m concerned, the experience of Midtown Men has been way more exciting, way more challenging and we have so much to show as a team. We try not to say it too much, but this is the American Dream. It’s a group of individuals who team up, try to make something successful. We’ve done very well.”
The Midtown Men are in the beautiful Florida Panhandle today for one show only at the Saenger Theatre in Pensacola. Barbara Gandy, second-time STREET CREW member is in town for the show, and a little beach time!
Thank you, Barbara, for your continued help and support!!
For the next thirty plus days, the south is going to be celebrating the timeless music of the 60′s as The Midtown Men visit Florida, Georgia and North Carolina. What a great time of year for a road trip, people!!
March 19 – Pensacola, FL
March 21 – Athens, GA
March 22 – Tallahassee, FL
March 25 – Pembroke, NC
March 27 – Key West, FL
March 28 – Key Largo, FL
March 30 – Clearwater, FL (2 shows)
April 19 – Atlanta, GA
April 20 – Atlanta, GA
The Midtown CLUB is looking for STREET CREW for all shows after March 22nd. Leave a comment here if you are interested in joining the CREW. There could possibly be two concert tickets in it for you! Visit the Concert Calendar to look for future dates in your area.