Tag: Sixties Hits
Original ‘Jersey Boys’ stars to light up Mayo Theatre
MORRISTOWN (NJ) – Broadway sensation The Midtown Men, four stars from the Original Cast of Broadway’s Jersey Boys, will bring their magic to the Mayo Performing Arts Center at 8 p.m. on Friday, June 7 singing their favorite “Sixties Hits” from The Beatles, The Rascals, Motown, The Four Seasons and more.
Tickets are $49 to $79. This concert is sponsored by Crum & Forster.
The production reunites four stars from the Original Cast of Broadway’s Jersey Boys. Tony Award winner Christian Hoff, Michael Longoria, Daniel Reichard and Tony Award nominee J. Robert Spencer, star in this one-of-a-kind concert experience celebrating the music that defined the ’60s.
These entertainers shared the Broadway stage for more than 1,000 performances in the mega-hit “Jersey Boys.” Now, as The Midtown Men, they have thrilled crowds on concert stages and symphony halls across the continent, and have delighted television audiences with performances on “Good Morning America,” “Access Hollywood,” “Katie,” and “The Chew.”
Additionally, the Men collaborated with rock and roll icon Stevie Van Zandt on their first radio single, “All Alone on Christmas,” featuring Van Zandt and members of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band. The group had the distinct honor of opening the National Tree Lighting Ceremony at the White House.
Posted: Wednesday, May 15, 2013 4:01 pm, New Jersey Hills | Morris NewsBee News
This AWESOME, all-encompasing interview appeared on the CALL ME ADAM blog. Everything you ever wanted to know about The Midtown Men…and then some!
1. Who or what inspired you to become performers?
J. Robert Spencer: Steve Martin and Johnny Carson were actually a big influence on me as far as comedians and as entertainers. I wanted to do what they were doing. Making people laugh and have a good time. Now I get to do that along with my other love, which is 60′s Rock And Roll.
Christian Hoff: I remember being kinda shy but having a great imagination and loved to pretend and loved music. I also loved being physical. I loved sports and riding my bike and running around and singing and dancing. When I got onstage for the first time and found that I could have all those things and be a storyteller too…I was hooked. I started pursuing every opportunity I could find to just do it. A reluctant but unwavering ham.
Michael Longoria: My mom sang in a band when I was growing up, so it started there watching those late night rehearsals. After that, Ritchie Valenz. The first song I ever sang for a public audience was “Oh Donna.”
Daniel Reichard: My first (and truest) idol that inspired me to do what I do (the way that I like to do it) was Steve Martin. I loved movies like The Jerk and Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid. Most especially, I would watch his appearances on Saturday Night Live, and his television specials. His work as a comic actor, especially in the 70s and 80s, was exceptional…He was dashing but the joke was always on him.
2. Who haven’t you worked with that you would like to?
J. Robert Spencer: I would love to do a play one day with Jeff Daniels.
Christian Hoff: Christopher Nolan as a director would be a great opportunity to couple a real life perspective with larger than life circumstances. Something I have always been drawn to as a person and an actor.
Michael Longoria: Stephen Sondheim…I’ve always been a huge fan of his work. Stephen, write me a song will ya???
Daniel Reichard: I love great directors…I’ve worked with a few–George C. Wolfe, Des McAnuff, among others. I would love to work with Susan Stroman and Graziella Danielle, among others.
3. You all starred in “Jersey Boys” together on Broadway, which I was fortunate enough to see. Looking back, what was the best part about starring together in this show?
J. Robert Spencer: Being able to say that we are a part of history by being one of the Original Stars, forevermore, in one of the biggest hits of all time!
Christian Hoff: The experience of having a character tailored to you was incomparable. Your essence and timing and inflection stamped forever in a script as brilliant as it is raw, like Marshall Brickman and Rick Elices. Having your performance shape a legendary production and then be recognized for your contribution, unforgettable and glorious. We all like to be liked and seek to be somehow indispensable in our lives and work. Now the molds they made with us are allowing other actors to explore themselves in our shoes, much like I did filling the shoes of the one and only Tommy DeVito.
Michael Longoria: Knowing that the four of us had each other at every moment. I never felt lost on the journey of the play cause the connection was so raw and real.
Daniel Reichard: Oh wow, there is so much to think about here. We were very lucky to grow together and discover both good and bad realities of show business in the center of this huge Broadway success. I did JERSEY BOYS for two years and three months, and it felt like we were the toast of the town the entire time. With that success came sacrifices and rewards, and we got to experience all of those things together.
3a. What made you want to continue on as The Midtown Men?
J. Robert Spencer: Being our own bosses, and running things our way!
Christian Hoff: A sublime addiction to the power of mixing dynamic personalities, sound and storytelling like we learned to do together led me back to the guys and our ability to do what we love most, entertain and share something great with each other and our audiences. The entertainers’ life, lived out to the fullest.
Michael Longoria: We continued getting requests to sing together and it felt good to keep the magic we created together in Jersey Boys going, especially with our debut album as The Midtown Men. We wanted to show what our sound could do on songs recorded by the other pop groups that sang in the same era as the group we portrayed on stage.
Daniel Reichard: Now it’s very similar with The Midtown Men; we are going on the rocket ride together all over again. We spend time away from our friends and family, we meet incredible fans, we do exciting shows, and we are STILL learning so much.
3b. How has your relationship strengthened over the years?
J. Robert Spencer: On Broadway you have separate dressing rooms to hide in IF you’re annoyed at one of your cast mates. When you’re side by side on the road as much as we are, you can’t hide and if you are having an issue with anyone on the team, you have to Man up, speak your mind, and try to do it as respectfully as sensitively as you can. Honesty is the only key to success and a stress free environment and we’ve all been really good at balancing that…and it’s made us stronger.
Christian Hoff: Our relationship has strengthened in love and commitment. It’s sort of like a family business whose success and sacrifice refines the bond and raises the stakes.
Michael Longoria: I think we know each other very well. We share hundreds of stages across America and every audience that come to see us sing leave knowing our friendship. That comes from being stuck on a 5 hr road trip to the next city!
Daniel Reichard: Our relationship strengthens every week…We thought we knew each other THEN, but boy do we know each other now. We have a brotherhood, and with all we have been through together, it is a sacred connection between us.
4. You’ve recently released your debut album as “The Midtown Men” called “Sixties Hits.” What excites you about this release?
J. Robert Spencer: That we did it our way all the way!
Christian Hoff: The music from our live show that made the album was distilled down through politics and passion. We wanted to capture the love and respect we have for one another and this incredible decade of music and give people a way to take the excitement and energy home with them.
Michael Longoria: That people get to hear us sing outside the box of being a character. In Jersey Boys I let Frankie Valli’s recordings and his video taped performances influence how I used my voice to portray his life and music…with the album I get to sing these songs how I would approach them. We get to reinvent them a little and spread it to groups like the Mamas and Papas.
Daniel Reichard: Well, this album really reflects our first year and a half on the road. It is a time capsule for this period of our lives. We had just enough time to record some of the highlights of our show in the midst of a busy touring schedule. Most importantly, we funded, produced, distributed, and conceived this album ourselves. We love how we show what “The Midtown Men Sound” is…I always say, it’s great driving, treadmill, and making dinner music.
4b. What is it about this time in music that made you want to keep on singing it?
J. Robert Spencer: Because this era of music is universal and timeless.
Christian Hoff: No other decade of music has captured machismo and vulnerability like the Sixties did. It is dream to bring it to live every time we step up to the mic.
Michael Longoria: The men at that time really knew how to bare their souls on a song. I learn a lot from listening to those recordings, many of them done on a few takes.
5. What do you enjoy most about traveling the country on tour?
J. Robert Spencer: I love seeing America. I love meeting the people. I love playing these historic venues.
Christian Hoff: I enjoy the people.
Michael Longoria: Dominos Pizza!
Daniel Reichard: We have played big cities, small towns, and everything in between. It’s been fascinating to get a comprehensive tour of our country. We have played cities I would never have imagined visiting –Galveston, TX, Lafayette, LA, Cedar Rapids, IA and dozens and dozens of other cities and towns. I have loved gaining a broader perspective of the country. We are a little sheltered, a little “inside a bubble” in NYC, and it’s been refreshing. The fact that we get unanimous ovations at the end of our shows no matter where we are tells me are still in the game. We sign every autograph and take every picture after every show–It sometimes takes over an hour, but it is worth it. It is our way of thanking our audiences.
5a. What do you hope audiences come away with after attending your concerts?
J. Robert Spencer: A big smile.
Christian Hoff: A shared experience that is unforgettable and unique.
Michael Longoria: Joy, memories, and a soar throat!
Daniel Reichard: We are giving it our all, and our audiences give us their energy back.
J. Robert Spencer: To originally start as 4 guys around a piano…to 4 guys with an 85 piece orchestra backing them?!? We were SO thrilled! Top of the world!
Christian Hoff: It was like wearing a new suit, with a vintage tie.
Michael Longoria: Huge accomplishment as performers, singers, entrepreneurs, and best friends.
Daniel Reichard: The Houston Symphony was PHENOMENAL. What a milestone for us. We were blown away by Jones Hall, and the 85 talented musicians that backed us onstage. It was surreal but it felt right. The response was exciting and sincere. We have symphony performances ahead of us in Atlanta, Los Angeles, and Omaha.
7. You also made an appearance on Good Morning America this summer. What did you enjoy most about that?
J. Robert Spencer: Showing off The Midtown Men to millions of viewers! Also, the energy, excitement, and love for what we do and what we have accomplished as artists!
Christian Hoff: We reached 4.5 million new fans in an hour and had a blast just doing our thing.
Michael Longoria: Getting introduced to the nation as the Midtown Men.
Daniel Reichard: Again, Good Morning America was a milestone. It was great being on the Today Show when we were in JERSEY BOYS, but this felt so much more gratifying because the four of us, with our incredible team, got us to this occasion. We were on a ton that morning, and it was a great adventure.
J. Robert Spencer: That being a performer is where I am most comfortable.
Christian Hoff: Humility and pride are both necessary. You must be strong willed and teachable at the same time.
Michael Longoria: How to maintain the gift in the hardest of circumstances and the coldest and driest of climates. The show must always go on.
Daniel Reichard: You learn that our friendships are like our performances. You have to give effort and you have to learn to receive thanks. You have to be quiet and still sometimes, and other times you have to take the lead. You have to respect your audience and you have to respect your colleagues.
9. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
J. Robert Spencer: Whiskey and beer never fear…beer and whiskey now that’s risky!
Christian Hoff: Be yourself.
Michael Longoria: Don’t push. And don’t tank up on air…thanks Joan Lader
Daniel Reichard: See this opportunity through!
10. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be?
J. Robert Spencer: It would be wonderful to dream and visit with my great, great, great, great, grandfather and grandmother.
Christian Hoff: God.
Michael Longoria: My honey boo boo child.
Daniel Reichard: It would probably be Call Me, Adam
11. Favorite way to spend your day off?
J. Robert Spencer: With my family.
Christian Hoff: Watching the kids play outside, my wife and I watching and sharing a drink and something good to eat.
Michael Longoria: Rosa Mexicano.
Daniel Reichard: I love walking my French Bulldog, Boscoe, through my neighborhood in downtown Manhattan, stopping into shops, and drinking iced lattes.
J. Robert Spencer: Stretching on yoga ball.
Christian Hoff: Crossfit.
Michael Longoria: Not going to Rosa Mexicano
Daniel Reichard: You gotta mix it up. I love lifting weights, doing sprints on the treadmill or bike, and when I’m really strong, I swim laps.
13. Boxers or Briefs?
J. Robert Spencer: Hugo Boss Briefs!
Christian Hoff: Calvin Klein Boxer-Briefs.
Michael Longoria: It depends on how hot the party after the show is
Daniel Reichard: Briefs. There’s no choice. That’s the way it needs to be.
14. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose?
J. Robert Spencer: To FLY!
Christian Hoff: Healing Factor like Wolverine or Jesus.
Michael Longoria: Flying.
Daniel Reichard: To fly, because I’m getting so sick of sitting on planes.
Click here to visit the Call Me Adam website to read complete bios of The Men.
This fantastic review of “All Alone On Christmas” on the myfizzypop blog is so much fun – a MUST READ! Thank you Paul!
11 days til Christmas: The Midtown Men ~ All Alone on Christmas
Posted by Paul on December 14, 2012
There is so much joy and goodness wrapped in today’s festive song choice that I’m positively percolating at the seasonal charm of it all! There are 2 lots of background you need to be aware of – most importantly of course are The Midtown Men themselves. The four fellas who make up this sixties music loving group are original stars from the massive stage smash “Jersey Boys” – Christian, Michael, Daniel and J.Robert were busy earning accolades when the show first hit Broadway when they decided they loved what they were doing so much that they wanted it to continue. Lucky for us that meant keeping the whole gang together to continue their loving tribute to the sounds that shaped pop music today in the form of the Midtown Men. They have a sparkling album of music out already (see iTunes) delving into the catalogues of The Beach Boys, Mamas & Papas, The Turtles, the Four Seasons (of course) & many more. Their voices are utterly irresistable, the harmonies delicious and the delivery passionate, enthusiastic and vibrant. Plus! As their website proudly proclaims, they are all dressed rather nattily in suits from Hugo Boss so you know they are devastatingly debonair!
But what does this all have to do with Christmas I hear you ask (yes even you at the back. I have very good hearing, though crap eyesight!) Well, the blokes have only gone and recorded the amazing Stevie van Zandt penned All Alone On Christmas (which you may well remember featuring prominently – and sung by Darlene Love – in Home Alone 2 and Love, Actually). The original is a rousing, horn infused romp that pays tribute to both the Spector sound of the sixties as well as Darlene’s own Christmas (Baby Please Come Home). The joyous, uplifting instrumental takes the sting out of the lyrics which detail a couple no longer together & the sounds of the season making the split oh so much harder. Weep. The Midtown Men put their own definitive spin on the track with a jingle-bell soundtracked intro that puts out their emotive please that, of course, no one ought to be alone on Christmas. It then launches into a percussive, chime laden, horn saturated backing that acts as the perfect picture frame for their story telling – and oh boy, those voices bring the lyrics into vibrant, vivid focus. Their layered harmonies give the track a heavenly, sumptuous textured feel while individually they ably inject a real pathos, wistfulness yet sense of optimism into the proceedings. It’s these nuanced performances that are both powerful individually & together that make the track such a magnificent success. Their marriage of downbeat lyrics and upbeat instrumental ultimately inspire hope that wherever you are, whoever you are with, people will find a way to share the joy at Christmas. Gorgeous.
I have so much to share about my visit with The Midtown Men in Lakeland, but I’ve been crazy busy. So please enjoy this very cool video in the meantime!
Click here to purchase your CD from The Midtown Men Store
Check out the concert calendar to see where they’ll visit next. And check out this fabulous write-up in today’s Leader-Post:
Midtown Men freshen up classics
Show adds new twists on old hits
By Barbara Woolsey, The Leader Post
For four Broadway actors, Jersey Boys was just the beginning.
And some beginning it was – the production is one of the biggest musicals of all time, winning multiple Tony awards and spawning over a thousand performances.
Now, a few former cast members are embarking on a new adventure. This time, not as Franki Valli and the Four Seasons, but as The Midtown Men.
“We started singing together outside of the show, just for fun in our dressing rooms, for private parties,” explained group member Christian Hoff. “After we left (Jersey Boys), we really missed singing with each other and the unique bond that we had in the music . and what it’s brought us is more than a concert act, but completely beyond anything that we did portraying the Four Seasons.”
Hoff along with Daniel Reichard, J. Robert Spencer and Michael Longoria, sing music from the likes of the Beatles, Beach Boys, and of course, Franki Valli. The biggest challenge, said Hoff, is trying to fully capture the era in a 90-minute show.
The hits are classic, but done with a fresh take. It’s that approach that’s being applauded by not only those who grew up with the music, but the new generation.
“What we do on stage, it’s very Rat Pack meets Mad Men, ” explained Hoff, who portrayed Tommy DeVito in the musical. “Old school, off the cuff. You know, we even rip each other. We bring our hearts to the music.”
Now, The Midtown Men are touring North America …
“We have to pinch ourselves constantly,” said Hoff. “Here we are in front of thousands of people and they’re standing and cheering for us as individuals and as artists and singers, not as the characters we played in Jersey Boys. That’s a great surprise.”
Such an accomplishment hasn’t come easily.
“We’ve turned down Broadway, TV and film to try and do this,” explained Hoff. “There have been great sacrifices . but what we’ve said no to has been eclipsed by the success we’ve had.”
The Midtown Men recently recorded an album called Sixties Hits and plan to hit the studio again soon. The band is also collaborating with orchestras in Canada and the U.S., to add another dimension to its live performance.
“The tension that keeps us together is like that of brothers or teammates,” said Hoff. “But when it comes to the music of the 1960s, we know that we are stronger together. It’s being together that’s blowing us up.”
Doreen Shulman was able to identify all 18 of these songs, with only one error in identifying the artist. Awesome job, Doreen – this was not an easy quiz!! Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your mailing address, and I’ll send you your exclusive “Midtown Club” keychain!
Thanks to everyone who played – great job by many of you!
Here are the correct answers:
1. “Lazy Sunday”, The Small Faces
2. “Simon Says”, 1910 Fruitgum Company
3. “Downtown”, Petula Clark
4. “Itchycoo Park”, The Small Faces
5. “Sunny Afternoon”, The Kinks
6. “Day Tripper”, The Beatles
7. “The Young Ones”, Cliff Richard & The Shadows
8. “Uptight (Everything is Alright)”, Stevie Wonder
9. “Brown Eyed Girl”, Van Morrison
10. “Oh, Pretty Woman”, Roy Orbison
11. “Heartbeat”, Buddy Holly
12. “Lady Madonna”, The Beatles
13. “Green Onions”, Booker T. & the M.G.’s
14. “Leader of the Pack”, The Shangri-Las
15. “Judy in Disguise”, John Fred & his Playboy Band
16. “Silence is Golden”, The Tremeloes
17. “The Good, The Bad & The Ugly”, Hugo Montenegro
18. “Get Back”, The Beatles
BONUS: Fill in the blanks: “Silence is Golden” is a song co-written by ______ ________ (of the American rock band, _____ ______ ________,) with _____ ________. It was released as a B-side to the hit song “____ ______” in 1964.
The first person to correctly fill in the blanks as a comment here will also receive a key chain!
The Men responded with: “Having a song from one of our albums on the radio will be amazing…Is there a particular track from The Midtown Men: Sixties Hits you’re all diggin’? Tell us and absolutely tell your favorite station, deejay and music editor.”
Let’s do it – let’s get The Men on the air! Tell us which song YOU think we should campaign for, and why. If anyone knows the ins and outs of getting a song played on the air, let’s hear from you as well. If we all work together, we can get this done!
**click on “Comments” under the title of this post to add your comment. If you’d like to reply to someone else’s comment, click “Reply” in their comment ‘box’. It’s easy and fun…I’ve already gotten it started
THE MIDTOWN MEN, Four Stars from the Original Cast of Jersey Boys, Release Long-Awaited Debut Album
New York, NY (PRWEB) August 25, 2011
While THE MIDTOWN MEN–Tony Award winner Christian Hoff, Michael Longoria, Daniel Reichard and Tony Award nominee J. Robert Spencer–have been thrilling concert audiences in over 70 cities across the U.S. and Canada, they have also been busy in the recording studio. The group’s eagerly-anticipated debut album, THE MIDTOWN MEN : SIXTIES HITS, featuring classic songs from the 1960s, is now available at THEMIDTOWNMEN.com.
Their musical journey began when they starred together in the Original Cast of Broadway’s Jersey Boys, the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. The four actors shared the stage for over a thousand performances and can be heard on the Grammy Award-winning, multi-platinum-selling Original Cast Album. Michael Longoria, of the Midtown Men, recalls his time crooning with his future band mates, “We found our own unique sound and chemistry recreating the music of the Four Seasons for the Broadway stage and we continue to discover the magic of that truly amazing era in rock music.” About their debut album, the group’s J. Robert Spencer explains, “We wanted our listeners to experience the sound and electricity of our live show. So get ready!”
Charles Alexander, long-time senior editor for Time Magazine writes, “This new Fab Four became rock stars in their own right. THE MIDTOWN MEN put their own youthful spin on these ageless songs. They are helping the pop composers of the ’60s take their rightful place in the Great American Songbook. And how much do I love this album? It’s as good as popping Meet the Beatles on my turntable for the ﬁrst time!”
THE MIDTOWN MEN : SIXTIES HITS features iconic classics such as “Happy Together,” “California Dreamin’,” “Up on the Roof,” “Sherry” and more. The album’s release comes at the kickoff of the group’s 2011/2012 performing arts center national tour. Visit THEMIDTOWNMEN.com for tour information and to purchase their new CD.