Author Archive: Catherine

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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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TMM Groovin’ in Hawaii

Catherine • March 18, 2016 • Comments (0)

Live from Honolulu! The guys were Groovin’ on Hawaii News Now Sunrise show.

Hawaii News Now – KGMB and KHNL

Category: Concerts, The MEN, The MUSIC

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Michael Longoria Taking On Broadway, Brick by Brick

Catherine • March 15, 2016 • Comments (0)

by TMClub Correspondent, Heather Powell

Calling all Midtown Men fans! You loved him as Joe Pesci and Frankie Valli. He steals hearts right and left traveling the country with The Midtown Men.


Now, he is releasing his first solo Broadway album, “BROADWAY BRICK BY BRICK”. The album features twelve Broadway classics including selections from The Wiz, West Side Story, The Sound Of Music, Jersey Boys, A Chorus Line, Sunset Boulevard, Mamma Mia, Song And Dance, Company, The Wizard of Oz, and Pippin. With Michael’s amazing vocals and übertalented musical team, there are sure to be some gorgeous, fresh arrangements of these timeless songs!

Michael will also be making his Joe’s Pub debut on May 2, 2016 at 9:30pm, singing the entire album and “sharing the stories behind the songs that inspired a child Mariachi singer to dream big and, at the age of seventeen, set out for a new life on the stages of New York City.” If you live in or around NYC, get your tickets – this is a can’t miss!


Click here for Joe’s Pub ticket info, and click here to purchase a CD.

Click here to join Michael’s Facebook Fan Page!

Category: Michael Longoria

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The Midtown Men Chosen to Represent the US in “Year of Tourism” Event

Catherine • March 14, 2016 • Comments (0)

by TMClub Correspondent, Heather Powell

The Midtown Men recently had the privilege of performing in Beijing, China to help kick off a tourism event between the US and China. Government officials from both China and the US created the event to celebrate partnership and an organized “Year of Tourism” between the two countries.

In their words, “Our first trip to China was a total success! We were hosted incredibly by the Chinese government and given the royal treatment!”


It wasn’t all work and no play! Despite the long flight and short stay, Michael, Christian, Daniel and Bobby made sure to take in some sights and cultural experiences while in China. The Great Wall of China, some authentic Chinese dining experiences, and meeting new fans were all memorable parts of the trip.

The guys were so proud to represent the US at this event, and their friends and fans back home were so proud to be able to support them in this amazing opportunity. What better way to entice visitors to the US than with these four handsome, talented men??

Category: Concerts, The MEN, The MUSIC

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These Are Exciting Times for The Midtown Men and Their Fans

Catherine • March 12, 2016 • Comments (2)

2015 was a big year for The Midtown Men: a second fantastic PBS special, more symphony shows, national and regional television appearances, and a huge show at the Beacon in NYC.  Not to mention dozens of concerts for old friends and new fans across the country.

 

Lucky for us, these are not guys who rest on their laurels; in fact, The Men have an even bigger 2016 ahead!

After hugely successful shows in Hawaii last season, they are heading back to The Aloha State next week – March 18 at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center and March 20 at the Hawaii Theatre Center.

From there, the Men will head cross-country to spend some time in sunny Florida for return visits to the Lakeland Center and Van Wezel PAC on March 24th and 25th.

Coming up in April, The Men will travel to the Pacific Northwest before heading back down to Florida, with stops in a couple of southern states along the way.

Yes, exciting things are in store for OUR fab four and their fans, so be sure to check back here often for updates on where the Men have been, and where they are heading!  And check out the concert calendar to find a show near you!

Comments are always welcome – in fact they are encouraged! And feel free to send along any pictures you want to share – tmmclub@comcast.net.

Category: Concerts, Next Stop, The MEN, The MUSIC

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BroadwayWorld’s THE FRIDAY SIX – Q&As with Daniel Reichard

Catherine • January 22, 2016 • Comments (0)

THE FRIDAY SIX: Q&As with Your Favorite Broadway Stars- Feinstein’s/54 Below-Bound Daniel Reichard

In this week’s edition of BroadwayWorld’s THE FRIDAY SIX, the BWW Staff caught up with Daniel Reichard, who will bring his solo show, Daniel Reichard Celebrates Rodgers and Hammerstein, to Feinstein’s/54 Below on February 5 (9:30PM).

What is the first Broadway show you ever saw?

The first Broadway show I ever saw was KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN. I was visiting New York City with my family, and that was a huge show at the time. I saw it, I loved it, and I met Chita Rivera (for the first time) at the stage door. The next night was CRAZY FOR YOU.

What is your most unique pre-show ritual?

Meditation. For big shows especially. When The Midtown Men were playing The Beacon in New York City, I remember waking up and saying, “I have to do a guided meditation. My mind will be at 100 miles per hour today.” I did two Deepak Chopra meditations, and I was as cool as a cucumber all day and for the whole show. It really helps to do before intense moments in our lives.

What is your most memorable “the show must go on” moment?

Many of my favorite “the show must go on” moments have happened across the country with The Midtown Men. When you are a rock and roll band, performing in different cities night after night, crazy things are bound to happen. We were in some city in Iowa, and there was a torrential storm happening outside the venue and the power in the whole building went out. The emergency lights lit up the theatre, and we asked everyone to relax and our drummer and flutist played “California Dreaming” and we did the song without amplification. The audience went crazy.

What is the one role you want to play before you die?

Cornelius Hackl in HELLO DOLLY. Hint hint! I love old school Broadway because those Golden Age shows were the gateway to my love of Broadway.

Who is your Broadway crush?

Female crush would be the one and only Kelli O’Hara, because she is beautiful, smart, and talented. Male crush would have to be the choreographer Patrick McCollum because he is wonderful in every way.

Where can people follow you online?

I have a new Facebook fan page at and a new Youtube channel. My twitter is @danielreichard

For ticket information on Daniel’s Feb 5 show , click here.

Category: Daniel Reichard, Media

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Friends And Fans Help The Midtown Men Kick Off 2016

Catherine • January 20, 2016 • Comments (4)

When: Sunday January 17, 2016.
Where: Stage 48, New York, NY
What: The Midtown Men – 2016 preview
Written by: Heather Powell, TMC Guest Correspondent

For the second year in a row I was fortunate enough to attend the Industry Event/private performance held by The Midtown Men in New York City each January. It is a special thing to be able to see The Midtown Men perform in Midtown Manhattan, where there is always a special energy in the air. The room was filled with long-time fans and friends of the group, family and personal friends of the Men, as well as some musical legends, including Tommy James of Tommy James and the Shondells, and Randy Jones of the Village People.

When Michael, Christian, Daniel and Bobby ran out, they dove right into one of my personal favorites, the Motown medley. From there, it was one “TMM classic” after another. It takes a special group of Men to not only remake these well-known songs into something uniquely “them” but also to continue to elevate their performances of those songs time and again. As always, there was a perfect blend of taking the music seriously, pouring their hearts and souls into their performances, and not taking themselves too seriously, with perfectly timed comedic moments and jokes. You can really see the brotherhood that they have built in the past decade, and I think it helps them stand out among their peers.

One of the most exciting things for me, as someone who has seen them a number of times, was to be introduced to new Midtown Men versions of songs such as The Beatles’ “Got to Get You Into My Life” by Christian, The Youngbloods’ “Get Together” by Daniel, and Glen Campbell’s “Galveston” by Bobby. Michael brought down the house with a gorgeous rendition of The Righteous Brothers’ “Unchained Melody”. The arrangements were unparalleled, surely the talented Jesse Vargas (TMM Musical Director) had a hand in that.

And it wasn’t just the fans who were taken with the Men. I was sitting next to a gentleman who I later learned was from a performing arts center in the Midwest. It was his first time seeing TMM and by the second act, he was frantically deleting apps from his phone in order to record more footage to take back to his Board of Directors. I loved seeing this kind of excitement from people who see lots of different types of acts and talent. As he said to me during the first song, “They’re the Real Deal, aren’t they?!”

Michael and Heather

After the show, it was time to reconnect with old friends, and meet some new ones. As always, Bobby, Christian, Daniel and Michael were more than generous with their time, coming back out to greet their audience and allowing us to really show our appreciation for their talent and hard work.

 

Just as last year, this event was a great way to start the New Year, and I think all who were there (and many who weren’t!) are more than ready to start 2016 with The Midtown Men.

Category: Concerts, The MUSIC

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Merry Christmas, TMM Style

Catherine • December 24, 2015 • Comments (0)

WISHING YOU ALL A VERY MERRY  CHRISTMAS!!

 

Category: The MUSIC

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