Archive for October, 2014
’If we’re going to entertain lets have a party, let everyone in the room have a party,’ and that’s what we try to do.
j. robert spencer
BY SUE BRICKEY
BLADE STAFF WRITER
(excerpts from article – click here to read in its entirety)
The quartet has that Rat Pack style, with skinny ties and well-tailored Hugo Boss or Ted Baker suits…They came to fame as Jersey Boys, but now audiences come out to see them solely as The Midtown Men, J. Robert Spencer said in a recent phone interview. “We’re fortunate enough to say this keeps us extremely happy and busy.”
Among Spencer’s favorite musical experiences is being flown out to San Francisco for a private birthday party that had a stellar entertainment lineup: the Midtown Men, Jason Mraz, and Bruno Mars. “Never in a million years did we think we would run into, or open for, Jason Mraz or Bruno Mars, but there we are, sitting and talking like musicians talk,” Spencer said. “Everybody’s got a story. No matter what you’re making or where you are on the Billboard charts, music gives a seamless connection to all artists.”
Spencer counts Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin as influences. “They are iconic entertainers, and actors and entertainers love performing,” he said. “There’s something about that time that people connect with instantly, a time of carefree fun that [the performers] exuded, that ’If we’re going to entertain lets have a party, let everyone in the room have a party,’ and that’s what we try to do, from what we’ve learned from icons like that over the years.”
The Valentine Gala begins at 6 p.m. Saturday with cocktails and station dining in a tent on the Plaza and in the Grand Lobby, followed by the Midtown Men at 8 p.m. in the theater and dessert and dancing in the Grand Lobby.
Daniel Reichard has been proud to watch the “Jersey Boys” mature into the Midtown Men.
excerpts from article by Mitch Hotts, The Macomb Daily
The Midtown Men — Christian Hoff, Michael Longoria, Daniel Reichard and J. Robert Spencer — were all from the original Broadway cast of “Jersey Boys.” They bring some of the biggest hits of the 1960s to Andiamo Celebrity Showroom on Saturday night. Photo courtesy The Midtown Men
“It’s been incredible,” Reichard said of the rise of the Midtown Men.
“This started out as a little project to see if we can tell our story and sing some songs and put people in the theater. I didn’t expect it to last so long. Now, we work for ourselves and we have our own company. We decide how we do our shows.”
Reichard, a pianist and concert singer, grew up in Cleveland, Ohio and earned a bachelor of fine arts degree from University of Michigan.
“U-M’s School of Music is such an incredible school,” he said. “Many of my classmates have found great success in theater and TV. My years in Ann Arbor were very good and I made some lifelong friends.”
Showtime for Midtown Men is 8 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $75, $60, $45 and $25. For more information, visit andiamoshowroom.com or call 586-268-3200.
The Midtown Club Street Crew is made up of people who love The Midtown Men and want to help spread the word of shows in their areas. They get pleasure from knowing that they are helping, in their own small way, to introduce these four fabulous guys to new fans and to expand the circle of love. And the love they receive from Michael, Christian, Daniel and Bobby after the show is just an added bonus!
Join host Valerie Smaldone as she gets to know The Midtown Men tonight in NYC.
Valerie Smaldone, radio star and friend to TMM, will delve into Christian, Daniel, Michael and Bobby’s lives – their back stories, inspirations and dreams – in a cozy and intimate setting at 92Y. It is sure to be a fun and informative evening!
Click here for ticket information. Cash Bar.
I just love singing rock ‘n’ roll, jamming with these guys and having a good time on stage. Every actor is a show-off; we like to take people on an emotional journey.
J. Robert Spencer
Midtown Men’s J. Robert Spencer talks ‘Jersey Boys,’ concert at Majestic Theater
The Midtown Men are set to perform in Gettysburg on Thursday
By Robyn Fisher
For The Evening Sun
When four of the original cast members of “Jersey Boys” sang their last notes at the August Wilson Theatre, they knew their visit to the 1960s was not over.
The bond that formed among the four men while they were on stage together for 1300 performances of the Tony and Grammy award winning musical developed into a shared dream. And together they formed the Midtown Men, a musical group with sharp choreography, tailored suits and harmonies that could take audiences back in time.
The group, composed of Tony Award winner Christian Hoff, Daniel Reichard, Michael Longoria, and Tony Award nominee J. Robert Spencer, is set to perform at the Majestic Theater in Gettysburg on Oct. 16.
Relaxing in his rocking chair at home in Oregon on a rare day off, Spencer, 45 years old and a member of Central York High School’s class of 1987, took some time to reflect on his journey from local theaters to the bright lights of Broadway and beyond.
Q: You have been touring across the country with the Midtown Men for five years now. How does it feel to be coming back to the area?
A: I’m a big Civil War buff, I’ve always had a fascination with that area and it feels really nice that I’ll be able to do a concert in a place where I spent so much of my life. I was actually born on Abe Lincoln’s birthday, Feb. 12; we’re exactly 160 years apart.
Q: You recently portrayed Lincoln in ‘Bayonets of Angst’ in the 2014 New York Musical Theatre Festival.
A: It was great because no one has ever seen me doing anything remotely close to Abbott and Costello and here’s this funny, bluegrass/Mel Brooks kind of musical comedy. I was on Broadway playing these dramatic roles in ‘Jersey Boys’ and ‘Next to Normal’ and over Facebook, I receive a message asking me if I’d be interested in the role. Reading over the script, I start laughing so hard that my wife (actress Jenny Lynn Suckling) notices tears streaming down my face.
With Midtown Men, we control the business and our schedule and if there’s a time when someone can take off for a quick creative spell then we’re going to be able to work that out. It’s a blessing to be able to do what you love.
Q: Back in 1992, you had a brush with potential rock stardom when your band from college was offered a record deal.
A: I think that’s what every kid thinks about when they play the drums for the first time. I didn’t know if I was going to be an actor or a musician, but I was definitely going to be an entertainer. So there I was supposed to be a rock star, but the guys in my band got cold feet and I was just like, ‘I can’t do this anymore.’ I decided I needed to get back in control of my life, so I cut my hair, went to New York, and then I started getting theater gigs. And there I was, no longer a wannabe rock star, I was a Broadway actor playing a rock star. How crazy is that? Not only were we playing the Four Seasons on Broadway and portraying the lives of these stars, but walking out the stage door, it was like the Beatles had arrived. That was the crazy wonderful response every single night from 2004 to 2008; every night was like Wembley Stadium.
Q: You’ve gone from portraying a character in a role to being on stage as yourself. How have you made that transition?
A: I think that there is something to wearing really well-tailored, expensive suits, but I just love singing rock ‘n’ roll, jamming with these guys and having a good time on stage. Every actor is a show-off; we like to take people on an emotional journey.
Q: What’s new for your upcoming visit to the Majestic Theater in Gettysburg?
A: We’ve added a lot of new tunes to the mix: Ronnie Spector, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, Tina Turner, the Rascals, the Beach Boys and a lot more. We’ve got some of our classics that people love, but it’s an all-new show. We have incredible seven-piece band with us, and while we’re on the road, we make every second count. We’ll sometimes try new things in the morning before sounds checks and make it happen that night.
Q: There was a time when listening to a record was an activity, not just background ambience. For the generation of people who grew up without oldies music playing on the radio, explain the significance of this era of music.
A: This music is timeless. The songs, the arrangements, the choreography, they were designed to entertain. There is an emotional recall that people have when they think about the sixties. That music was a huge part of our lives growing up, listening to it on the radio with our parents. When you have the power to bring that kind of emotional recall back into someone’s life, it is the most rewarding and beautiful thing that you can bring to an audience. And over these past five years of performing, we’ve seen the love of that music spread over to all of these other generations.
If you go
What: Midtown Men performance
Where: Majestic Theater, 25 Carlisle St., Gettysburg
When: 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 16
Tickets: $79, $72, $65
More: Call 717-337-8200 or visit gettysburgmagestic.org
As great as it is to hear those “Jersey Boys” songs from the Midtown Men, they don’t really need them.
Review: Midtown Men come into their own at WinnaVegas concert
(excerpts from article by Bruce R. Miller, SiouxCityJournal.com – click here to read article in its entirety)
The Midtown Men’s return to the WinnaVegas Casino last night apparently wowed not only the raucous crowd, but music reviewer Bruce Miller as well. Following are excerpts from his praise-laden review:
“…the four have come into their own and now are just an album of originals away from shedding the songs that brought them.”
“…such rich harmonies and energetic performance styles they could cover contemporary boy bands and still wow.”
“…Midtown Men have something most quartets don’t – an interchangeability that allows them to keep the hits coming for a solid 90 minutes.”
“…pulling off dance steps that might make lesser men cower.”
“…the quartet was backed by a sharp seven-man band. Recreating big showroom sounds, the musicians gave the Men the kind of support other singers only dream of.”
“Clearly, one might wonder why the four would put Broadway careers on hold for touring gigs.
In performance, it was a no-brainer. Hoff, Longoria, Spencer and Reichard have a sound that doesn’t just emerge from a casting call.
They’re good together. Very, very good.”
Thanks to the fans who sent in pictures from last weekend’s Midtown Men shows – keep them coming!
Please feel free to share pictures from these shows and any others you are/have been fortunate enough to attend. Email them to The Midtown Club – firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!