Archive for April, 2016

The Midtown Club Invites You To Help ELLAvate LIFE

Catherine • April 24, 2016 • Comments (5)

The Midtown Club is joining in the fight against childhood cancer with our ELLAvate LIFE wristbands.

We are honored to be allowed a glimpse into our sweet little friend Ella’s personal battle with Leukemia and the treatment’s ongoing challenges. We are continually inspired by her brave spirit and her family’s faith and courage. Ella so inspires us with her beautiful smile and zest for life that we are motivated to share this inspiration and help bring awareness to the struggle that she, and over ten thousand children in America, will face in the coming year.

Introducing the ELLAvate LIFE wrist band – available in Adult and Youth sizes. You too can join in the fight and inspire everyone you meet to “ELLAvate LIFE.” Proceeds will directly help children with cancer to thrive through treatment with the support of The V Foundation and MaxLoveProject organizations.

On behalf of Ella and her family, and the thousands of families across America who need our help to survive and thrive through cancer treatment, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

Get one wristband for $5

Single band for $5

SINGLE BAND-YOUTH



SINGLE BAND-ADULT

 

 

 

 

 

Get 3 and share - $12

Three (same-sized) bands for $12

3-PACK-YOUTH



3-PACK-ADULT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get a bunch to give away! (must order 3 for $12 in addition to this)

Additional bands for $2.50 each (must also choose a 3-PACK)

ADDITIONAL BANDS-YOUTH



ADDITIONAL BANDS-ADULT

 

 

 

 

 

Or, if you prefer, you can simply make a donation
DONATE

Category: CLUB EXCLUSIVE

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CHRISTIAN!

Catherine • April 21, 2016 • Comments (1)

Wishing the happiest of birthdays to one of the sweetest, most talented men I know, Mr. Christian Hoff!

 

Christian and I ran into each other in the lobby of the August Wilson Theater on the 10th Anniversary of Jersey Boys on Broadway. What a thrill!

 

From the first time I met Christian, I knew he was something special.  And here he is today, proving night after night that he is, indeed, something special.  I am so thrilled to be able to share Christian’s – and The Midtown Men’s – amazing journey with you, the fans!

 

Happy Birthday, dear Christian!! The Midtown Club loves you!

 

Category: Christian Hoff

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Midtown Men Captivate in Alabama

Catherine • April 16, 2016 • Comments (1)

A concert review by TMM Superfan, Debby Baker

On April 9, The Midtown Men found a sweet home in Alabama for their first visit to Anniston.

Dan and Debby Baker with their favorite MEN in Tallahassee earlier this year.

From the first note of “Big Girls Don’t Cry” to the last note of “Bye Bye Baby,” the Men had the crowd in the palm of their hands.The minute MM hit the stage, the energy level went off the charts and stayed there. Michael jumped up and down with excitement, Christian grinned and waved at the crowd, Daniel made eye contact with fans and Bobby smoothly welcomed the audience. It was our 13th concert and it was like we were back with dear friends who just happen to be amazing artists.

The group kicked off the show with a medley of two songs from Jersey Boys – “Big Girls Don’t Cry” and “Sherry” – complete with choreography. It was a great way of reminding the audience of the MM’s Jersey Boys pedigree.The medley was followed by familiar performances of “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “Happy Together” and “Ain’t That Peculiar.” No matter how many times we hear them perform, the guys make each song sound special and fresh.

Between numbers, the group members introduced themselves and bantered with each other, just like brothers. Their camaraderie and obvious affection for each other add layers of fun to every performance. You never know what they will say or do.  One night, Bobby re-tied Daniel’s shoelaces – while Daniel was singing! I’m sure it took a herculean effort on Daniel’s part not to lose it.

It never ceases to amaze me how Daniel can perform “Cry for Me” night after night and still make it heart-wrenching and thrilling. When he drops down to that knee, you can actually hear people gasp.We were thrilled with new arrangements – especially “Daydream” by Christian. In fact, there were several musical tweaks that brought freshness to familiar songs. It was also nice to have the MM band spotlighted in many numbers. It’s a joy to watch those magnificent musicians during the show – they are obviously having fun.

Other recent additions include “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” by Michael, “Galveston” by Bobby and “Got to Get You Into My Life” by Christian.

Later in the show, Michael absolutely slayed his rendition of the Righteous Brothers classic, “Unchained Melody,” leaving the crowd screaming at the end. I must admit this song isn’t a favorite of mine, perhaps because I heard it so much after it was featured in the movie Ghost, but Michael brought it to life in spell-binding fashion. He made me love that song again.In fact, Michael was delightful throughout the show, giving an extra spark to everything – interpreting his numbers beautifully, adding zest to the choreography and engaging the crowd.

In a break from tradition, there was no intermission. The guys took a break while the band performed its entertaining medley of 1960s TV show themes, and then returned for the second half of the show, beginning with the always-fun MM classic, “Get Ready.”That was followed by crowd favorites such as “Time of the Season,” “Vehicle” and “Groovin.”

Two relatively new songs, “For What It’s Worth” and “In My Life,” packed a real punch. Christian’s performance of “For What It’s Worth” brought back memories of the turbulent 1960s and sadly reinforced the fact that we face the same challenges today.  Bobby’s rendition of “In My Life” by the Beatles struck a deep chord as it expanded the listener’s understanding of how love of every kind enriches our lives. I get teary-eyed every time I hear this song now, thanks to Bobby.

Knowing just the right time to switch gears, the guys launched into a crowd favorite and one of the highlights of the show, “The Motown Medley.” Their choreography is always stellar, but it totally rocked in this compilation of “Ain’t Too Proud,” “I Want You Back,” “I Second That Emotion,” “My Girl,” “Just My Imagination” and “You’re All I Need to Get By.”  The minute the guys began those incredible dance moves, the crowd went crazy.

It was almost the end of the show, and still the MM were giving it their all – true trademarks of consummate entertainers.  The show came to a close with the audience on its feet and singing along to “Oh, What a Night,” clear evidence the MM had scored another triumph.

The Midtown Men genuinely love and appreciate every single one of their supporters, and they never fail to make sure they know it.  These guys quickly become more than favorite singers – they become friends.  As we were saying goodbye to Bobby, we told him we’d see them again in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, in May – a six-hour drive one way for us. With a look of surprise on his face, he exclaimed, “Why?!?”“Because we love you guys,” we said, to which he replied, “But still – why!?”  That speaks volumes to the humbleness of these amazing performers. They do it for the love of the music and the opportunity to perform it together. The fact that they have fans who love and appreciate them is almost an extra perk for them.

We can’t say it enough – if The Midtown Men are appearing anywhere in your vicinity, don’t miss them. You can thank me later.

Debby And Dan Baker, LaGrange, Georgia

Category: Concerts, Fan Stories, The MEN, The MUSIC

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Sharing Michael’s Broadway Journey, “Brick by Brick”

Catherine • April 14, 2016 • Comments (2)

by TMClub Correspondent, Heather Powell

For the past six years, Michael Longoria has endeared himself to TMM audiences across the country as the “short, adorable tenor” who can “fit in your purse.” We’ve loved his soaring falsetto, antics on stage, and warm greetings after shows. As a member of the Midtown Men, he is a talented, kind and genuine person in a group filled with talented, kind, and genuine guys. Now, he is stepping out on his own and releasing a solo album titled Broadway Brick By Brick. This album traces his journey from childhood to the present, as he attempts to rediscover the dreams that led him down the path to this moment. He generously invites us to share in that journey, and by doing so, we really get to know him as an individual.

Of course, those of us who love TMM and have been to their concerts know that Michael was born in Hollywood, started singing before he could talk, went to NYU, and joined the Broadway casts of Hairspray and Jersey Boys. These facts provide the most basic framework, but with this album, he opens his heart and uses classic Broadway songs to tell intimate stories from his past. He combines this creative structure with powerhouse vocals within gorgeous orchestrations. And the result is most amazing.

This past week, I was fortunate enough to preview the entire album and spend some time talking with Michael about it. I have loved Broadway and show tunes for decades; I have heard my share of compilation albums, and more covers than I can count. I can tell you that this album is so much more than that. This is not simply a “CD of Broadway songs” per se, but rather a very emotional story told through song. In fact, Michael’s life story could almost be a Broadway show itself, with a synopsis that might read something like this: 

‘There was once a small Mexican-American boy with immense talent and specific, improbable dreams of performing on Broadway. He faced unique challenges, but with some guardian angels and an intense work ethic, he triumphed and realized those dreams, ultimately starring in a hit Broadway show.’

Sharing Michael’s journey through these songs was very engaging, not only because of his story but also because the music took me on my own journey, back to the first time I fell in love with Broadway. As he says, “Music is a powerful expression of emotion.”

Through his music and our conversation, I learned a lot about the person that I have seen on stage so many times through the years. As I anticipated, he is open and honest, funny and kind, insightful and forthcoming. We shared some stories, some laughs, and at the end of the day, I can say that I know Michael better as a person and artist, largely because I have a better understanding of the experiences that shaped him.

But why create an album that is so personal? Sure, artists create art every day that presumably includes a part of their journey woven through throughout, but most often the personal sources of inspiration remain unknown to the audience. To come across someone willing to bare his soul and share so many details of his life with an audience is rare. To explain, Michael points to a lyric in “As If We Never Said Goodbye” and describes how “I came out to NYC alone, and because of that it kind of made me not want to let people get too close to me because I was used to living in my own world alone and surviving on my own. So the line ‘I don’t want to be alone…that’s all in the past’ really speaks to this moment now. (I’ve realized that) I don’t want to be an artist that nobody gets to know; I want to tell my truth. I want people to really (understand) my experience though my art. And I feel like this is the moment to do it. This is my time to get that out there finally and not be alone, and take that chance.”

Broadway music is the perfect choice to tell Michael’s story, as Broadway has been the dream all along. A self-described “theater geek” in his younger years, someone who just wanted to “sing songs and tap dance,” he is going back to his roots to reawaken that original dream. He says “The reason I came out here (to NYC) was to chase Broadway, so I wanted to have that representation on this album. I wanted it all to be Broadway because that’s really who I was when I came out here, and I think the best way to find myself again is to search for myself in those songs.”

To that end, Michael has chosen some Broadway classics that speak to his heart and represent significant times in life. He sets the stage for us in a little house in the Pomona Valley, California (“Home”). To capture what music sounded like to him when he was small, he sings the most unique and beautiful arrangement of “The Sound of Music” I’ve ever heard, with Latin vibes and some lyrics in Spanish that harken back to his days as a child mariachi singer. He was introduced to Broadway music at the age of 10, while eating his grandmother’s tamales on Christmas Eve. West Side Story was on television, and Tony was singing “Maria.” Enough said. The album then takes us through his adolescence, a time when he felt like the black sheep in his family (“Music and the Mirror”), as well as his move to NYC to attend NYU Tisch School of the Arts (“The Impossible Dream). We then experience his post-college days: paying his dues as a singing waiter (“Corner of the Sky”), earning his big break as a swing in the Broadway cast of Hairspray (“As If We Never Said Good-bye”), originating the role of Joe Pesci in Jersey Boys, and eventually taking over the starring role of Frankie Valli (“Can’t Take My Eyes Off You”). He then takes us deeper as he explores his emotions surrounding the death of his beloved grandmother (“Tell Me on a Sunday”) and his past and present relationship with his parents (“Being Alive”), which were arguably the most emotional moments of the album. He also takes a moment to express his gratitude to those who helped guide him along the way (“Thank you for the Music”) before singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” from the perspective of someone who has triumphed in his goal of finding his true self. Yes, these are all very well known songs, but it would be a mistake for anyone to think that because of that, they know what this album sounds like. He says, “The goal was to not just sing these songs like they’ve been done in the past and will be done in the future, but to really take the perspective as if I’m the first person singing them and they’re about my life.” The end result, in my opinion, is wonderful, unique, and anything but predictable.

Michael has also had time over the last months to reflect on multiple meanings behind the songs. For example, he points to “As If We Never Said Goodbye” and how “I just love how it not only represents my time in Hairspray but how it also represents the experience with this CD. I’ve been away from Broadway for so long, touring all over with the Midtown Men, which has been amazing and (such a) great learning experience that I hope continues, but this is my moment to come back to Broadway. Not on the stage necessarily, but just back to my heart. Singing these songs and remembering the passion of that 17-year-old boy who came out here on his own, it helps me and motivates me to continue forward and to not just exist.”

Finally, I would be remiss to write this article without a commentary on Michael’s vocals. Of course, he has performed show-stopping solos with the Midtown Men, in city after city. But the songs on Broadway Brick by Brick allow us to access a range of his talent that 60’s music just can’t touch in the same way. If I had a nickel for every money note or amazing riff on this album, I would be very rich indeed. But in addition to those, it’s the softer, nuanced moments that have the most potential to rip your heart out. The beginnings of “Music and the Mirror,” “As If We Never Said Goodbye,” and “Tell Me on a Sunday,” for example, just communicate such clear emotion; it’s like he reaches out and grabs your heart and says, “Feel what I’m singing.” And you do.

This is a special album, and the artist who created it is pretty special as well. I hope you all take this opportunity to enjoy some classic Broadway songs in a new way, and in the process, get to know Michael better. Because to know him, is to love him.

“I hope people receive this album from my soul, and my heart. I want it to be something that is a true artistic expression of who I am.” -Michael Longoria, 2016

• Pre-order Broadway Brick By Brick by clicking here

• If you live near New York or Los Angeles, don’t miss Michael’s CD Release Concerts celebrating Broadway Brick By Brick:

  • NYC on May 2-3, 2016 at 9:30pm at Joe’s Pub. Click here for tickets
  • Los Angeles on June 7, 2016 at 8:00pm at Rockwell Table & Stage. Click here for tickets.

Category: Michael Longoria

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