Archive for April, 2013
The Pueblo Chieftan
Posted: , Monday, April 29, 2013 5:00 am
By JOANNE DODDSemail@example.com.
Imagine Frank Sinatra’s classy style, Bob Fosse’s sophisticated moves, the sound of The Four Seasons and Frankie Valli and viola, you have the essence of “The Midtown Men.”
On Sunday afternoon, four extremely talented men recreated the music of the ’60s at the Sangre de Cristo Arts and Conference Center. But, as with all great things, the sum total was greater than the parts. In short, it was the most fun I have ever had at a Broadway Theatre League performance.”
The first clue as to how clever the group was demonstrated in the selection of “Let’s Hang On” as their opening song. “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “California Dreamin’,” “Time of the Season,” “Dawn,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry” and other favorites flowed smoothly one after another with interesting tidbits about the men’s lives interspersed.
If you have a subscription to The Pueblo Chieftan’s digital edition, you can read the rest of the article here. Otherwise, I am working on gaining access to the full text…stay tuned.
Just had to share another fun Street Crew pic from Michelle’s visit to Ft. Collins. There are still some tickets remaining to see The Midtown Men at Lincoln Center in Ft. Collins, CO. Click here to get yours…there’s no telling who you might be sitting next to!
Michelle has been busy spreading the word in the Denver area, and throughout her Roller Derby community! You may recognize the “Roller Derby Mom” to the left from this season of “Amazing Race.” Beth and her teammate Mona Egender are one of the five teams still in the race! Thank you, Beth, for your endorsement of The Men, and we’re rooting for you and Mona!
Here are a couple of pics of Michelle’s handiwork with the flyers. I’m willing to bet she has taken The Midtown Men where they’ve never been before! Thanks Michelle, for your hard work and enthusiasm. It’s been such fun “working” with you.
Tickets are still available the see The Midtown Men in Ft. Collins … click here for more information.
The Midtown Club would like to wish a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Christian Hoff!
Fresh off two fabulous SOLD OUT shows with The Midtown Men and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Christian is headed home today to spend his birthday with his family. Perhaps on his trip, he’ll reflect on what a ride it’s been to this point….
…from his days at the San Diego Junior Theatre when he, “a tow-headed 8-year-old Little Leaguer from La Jolla, traded in his cleats and ball cap for a pair of tights and trumpet to play a boy page in a production of ‘Cinderella’.” From that first performance, Hoff said he knew he wanted a career onstage, and he dedicated himself to the craft.
Christian’s early years were filled with performances from the theater to the big screen to television (visit the “About Christian Hoff” page for details,) experiences which eventually led him to ‘Jersey Boys’ and his Tony Award.
Hard work and dedication, never giving up, never losing his passion for the stage, have all led Christian to where he is today….an amazing performer – singer, dancer, actor – who is living his dream night after night, travelling across the country with his best friends, thrilling audiences in small towns and big cities. He has worked with amazing stars, most recently the multi-talented and fabulous Steven VanZant, he rubs elbows with the likes of Elvis Costello and Bruce Springsteen, yet he never loses himself, never forgets who he is and what it took to get him where he is.
And above all, he never forgets what’s most important in life!
Category: Christian Hoff
Midtown Men celebrate the music of the ’60s
Group will perform favorite songs of the era in Lincoln Center shows April 25-27
By Joyce Davis Special to the Reporter-Herald
On a break from touring with The Midtown Men, Christian Hoff is dropping off his youngest daughter at preschool in San Diego, Calif. It’s a perfect time for a phone interview about the group’s upcoming performances at the Lincoln Center next week.
The Midtown Men — Michael Longoria, J. Robert Spencer, Daniel Reichard and Hoff — as the original Broadway cast of “The Jersey Boys,” brought to life the iconic story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons for nearly 1,000 performances.
The four entertainers later created The Midtown Men, celebrating the all-American music of the ’60s with songs by the Beach Boys, Temptations, Mamas and the Papas and other beloved groups. Now in their third touring season, the men are thrilling audiences with blended personalities and harmonies. (click “Read Post” to view post in its entirety)
Even better news, The Midtown Club is offering a pair of tickets for anyone in the area who is able to volunteer for Street Crew duty!
If you are able to help spread the word in the Ft. Collins/Denver/Colorado Springs areas, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know. I’ll send a Street Crew pack right out to you.
I LOVE this idea! The Midtown CLUB STREET CREW is the best!! Leave a comment here if you’d like to become a Member, and I’ll be in touch. And also, feel free to share your ideas for spreading the word.
In addition to rock icon Steven Van Zandt, The Midtown Men and The Rascals now have more in common than ever … The Great White Way!
The Day They Grooved to ‘Groovin’
The band will perform “Groovin’” again starting April 15 when they reunite for “The Rascals: Once Upon a Dream”—a 15-concert run on Broadway. Below, in a version edited from interviews, Mr. Cavaliere, 70, the song’s co-writer; Rascals guitarist Gene Cornish, 68; and engineer Chris Huston, 69, talk about the single’s inspiration—and why it almost wasn’t released.
Felix Cavaliere: Back in 1966, I was hopelessly in love with a girl I was dating named Adrienne. I had met her at a friend’s house in Pelham Manor, N.Y., where I’m from, and she became my muse. Adrienne was my first serious girlfriend, and our relationship lasted about a year. Many of my best songs were written about her—or because of her—including “Lonely Too Long,” “Girl Like You” and “How Can I Be Sure.”
Like most musicians, I always worked Friday and Saturday nights—which meant Adrienne and I only had Sundays together. “Groovin’” expressed the bliss I felt relaxing with her on Sunday afternoons, watching the world go by.
I wrote the music on an upright piano in the small apartment that [Rascal] Eddie Brigati and I shared on 79th Street near Park Avenue in Manhattan. Then we collaborated on the lyrics. Even though the song was about my relationship, Eddie did a beautiful job on the verses.
We experimented with the song at the studios of our label—Atlantic Records. Our contract gave us unlimited studio time—but I wanted to record at Talent Masters on West 42nd Street, where many great R&B groups were making their singles.
Chris Huston: Visually, Talent Masters was a dump—it was an old fur-storage vault. But it sounded like a million dollars.
Mr. Cavaliere: I decided we’d use a baión rhythm—to give the song a Latin groove. When I was in high school, I had led a house band at the Raleigh Hotel in the Catskill Mountains. Over those summers, I was exposed to Latin music and saw how many people loved dancing to it.
In the studio, we left out the drums and tried something different. For the basic track, I played piano, Dino Danelli played percussion, and Gene Cornish played tambourine. We overdubbed the background vocals later with Eddie and his brother David.
Gene Cornish: Dino played the conga with a stick under his arm. At the bridge, he used the stick to strike a wood block taped to the drum. The ticking beats sounded like a clock you ignored on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.
Mr. Cavaliere: Arif Mardin, who supervised the sessions, orchestrated a Carmen Cavallaro-style lounge piano solo for me—to give the background a bit more texture. After we finished, I wanted a Latin bass line overdubbed on top of what we had recorded on the basic track.
Mr. Cornish: I was going to record the bass part, but I couldn’t quite get what Felix wanted. Chris suggested Chuck Rainey, who played bass in King Curtis’s band. We booked him the next day for 8 a.m., but when we arrived he was already there and had recorded the track. He nailed it.
Mr. Cavaliere: Adding the sound of birds was my idea. I had heard the Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine” and flipped. These guys had created a sound environment for their single. Ringo sang about a sub—and there were sub sounds. Eddie and his brother David were experts at effects and they whistled the bird sounds. When we were just about finished, Arif suggested adding a harmonica—to drive home the carefree, Sunday feel. But I can’t remember who played it.
Mr. Cornish: The harmonica on the single wasn’t me. I played it several weeks later when we recorded the stereo album version.
Mr. Huston: When Arif wanted a harmonica, there was no time to make calls. That’s when I remembered we had a guy at the studio who swept our floors, Michael Weinstein, who was in a band called the Gurus and could play. So we used him.
Mr. Cavaliere: On the last day of recording, disc jockey Murray the K came in. He knew Sid Bernstein—our manager. After Murray the K heard a playback of the song, he went nuts. He said, “This is a smash, man.” But Atlantic didn’t think so. When the demo pressing landed on [executive] Jerry Wexler’s desk, he called me into his office. He said, “What are you guys doing? You’re a rock ‘n’ roll band. What’s this conga stuff?” I said, “There’s a whole world of Latin people out there who love to dance.”
Jerry said, “Man, you’re going to screw up everything. Put drums in there.” Under our contract, the Rascals were the producers, so we had the final say—but Jerry had final say over whether a single would be released. We didn’t want rock drums on there—just the conga—and I told Sid what had happened, that Jerry might not release it. A few days later Murray the K spoke with Jerry. He told him “Groovin’” was going to be a hit and that he was going to play it on the radio. Jerry backed off.
When “Groovin’” was released in April, a lot of people thought I was singing, “Life would be ecstasy, you and me and Leslie”—like I was with my girl and she brought along a girlfriend. The line, of course, is “You and me, endlessly.” The guys in the band used to make fun of how I slurred uneven words to squeeze them in to fit the beats. The problem was that there was a conga fill under “endlessly.” Gear didn’t exist then to separate the two—to make the three-syllable word clearer.
Mr. Cornish: The song meant the same to me as it did to Felix and Eddie—our day off.
Mr. Cavaliere: My girlfriend Adrienne knew “Groovin’” was written about her and us. When I played her the single, she smiled and said, “Wow, that’s lovely.” Adrienne was an angel who came into my life and left. We split up later that year, amicably, and eventually she married a dear friend of mine. Sadly, she died about 10 years ago.