Category: Christian Hoff

The Midtown Men Play Two Shows at the Hawaii Theatre This Weekend – Aloha!

Catherine • November 21, 2014 • Comments (0)

“If you can imagine the intensity and the passion in bringing to life one group’s story, and basically send it off on a trajectory of great success — as a matter of fact, of phenomenal success that continues — we’re doing the same thing for all of our favorite groups of the 1960s: the Beach Boys, the Beatles, Motown.”

Christian Hoff

 

Midtown Men share love of ’60s music

BY JOHN BERGER, Star Advertiser

Why would someone leave a Tony Award-winning featured role in a Tony Award-winning Broadway show? For Christian Hoff, who developed the role of Tommy DeVito in “Jersey Boys” and then received a Tony for his performance, the answer is simple. He found a new challenge that was even bigger: performing as one of the Midtown Men, who appear for two shows at the Hawaii Theatre this weekend.

Hoff opened as DeVito in 2005, playing the man he describes as “the wild card” in the Four Seasons. The Four Seasons — Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, Tommy DeVito and Nick Massi — was one of the biggest American vocal groups of the 20th century. “Jersey Boys,” the jukebox musical treatment of their career, has played on Broadway for more than 3,500 performances and is still running.

The bigger challenge? Hoff and three other members of the original cast — Daniel Reichard (Gaudio), J. Robert Spencer (Massi) and Michael Longoria (who played Joe Pesci — yes, that Joe Pesci, later famed as the actor in “Home Alone,” who played a key role in bringing songwriter Gaudio and singer Valli together) — discovered they enjoyed singing together even when they weren’t working. They enjoyed it so much that after three years of job security with “Jersey Boys,” they took a flying leap of faith and left to become a vocal group specializing in the hits of the 1960s.

The quartet would eventually become known as the Midtown Men.

“None of us had really produced a show before like we’ve done with this and taken full responsibility for it. That was an opportunity that got our attention,” Hoff said recently, calling from “a hotel room with a view of the New York City skyline.”

“To be a part of something that we’ve created that has a life and longevity in and of its own is more entrepreneurial than anything we have experienced before.

“It’s a collective, it’s a group effort, and what I think is exciting about that is no matter how great we are as individuals, the whole is greater than its parts. It’s beautiful together.”

TO BE perfectly clear, this is not “Jersey Boys.” These are the Midtown Men — informed by the performers’ Broadway skills and love for ’60s music.

“We don’t do ‘Jersey Boys,’” Hoff said emphatically. “We haven’t been in ‘Jersey Boys’ since the end of 2008, so here we are, five years down the line, and we’re continuing to grow in our own right.”

He added, “Everything that we brought to life in ‘Jersey Boys’ on Broadway — the story, the music, the era of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons — we now do the same thing for the entire decade of the ’60s. If you can imagine the intensity and the passion in bringing to life one group’s story, and basically send it off on a trajectory of great success — as a matter of fact, of phenomenal success that continues — we’re doing the same thing for all of our favorite groups of the 1960s: the Beach Boys, the Beatles, Motown.”

The quartet’s first album includes songs by Marvin Gaye, the Mamas & the Papas, the Turtles and the Zombies. A second album, soon to be released, includes a Rascals hit, “Groovin’,” with Gene Cornish, one of the original Rascals, sitting in on harmonica.

Hoff adds that while Frankie Valli’s high falsetto was the lead vocal on all almost all the Four Seasons’ hits, all four of the Midtown Men sing lead; their vocal parts are not locked in.

Longoria, who opened the production playing Joe Pesci but inherited the role of Valli, sometimes sings in a lower register. DeVito was the group’s bass vocalist, but Hoff sometimes takes the falsetto part.

Hoff and his partners initially performed as “The Boys in Concert,” but the relation between that title and “Jersey Boys” provoked a brief flurry of legal action from the creators of “Jersey Boys.”

“They were concerned that we were going to go do a production of ‘Jersey Boys’ lite,” Hoff said. “We weren’t doing that. The only connection was our wanting to let people know that we were from the original cast of ‘Jersey Boys.’”

Hoff and his guys were awarded the fair-use tag line and changed their group’s name to the Midtown Men.

HOFF SAID the experience of portraying his complicated “Jersey Boys” character helps inform his current performance.

In the Broadway show, DeVito gets in over his head, running up gambling debt and facing possible unpleasantness from a loan shark until someone higher up the organized-crime food chain intervenes. By this time, Valli’s marriage is over, and DeVito tries to seduce Valli’s girlfriend.

When DeVito left the group in 1970, Valli and Gaudio bought his rights to the Four Seasons’ material and use of the name.

Hoff says he contacted DeVito before rehearsals for “Jersey Boys” began.

“This was not what the producers of ‘Jersey Boys’ wanted me to do,” Hoff said. “They didn’t set this up; I did it on my own.

“I wrote him a note, and he called me on my honeymoon in 2004 and we had a conversation. My friendship (with DeVito) began then and continued not only through the inception of ‘Jersey Boys,’ but to this day.”

The conversation helped Hoff refine his acting.

“The character and the way I did it became stronger and stronger, bigger and bigger, to where it informed Frankie Valli and Bob Gaudio’s relationship in a way that was undeniable.

“What started out a little bit of a wild-card character in the story became a hinge, if you will, for the dramatic part of the story. It was not only a great role, but a great opportunity for an actor to bring a role to life, and that’s what the Tony Award was about.”

When the time came to create the Midtown Men, Hoff’s experience came into play.

“The three of us — Bobby, Daniel and myself — we came with the show to Broadway,” he said. “We sat around the table with the writers and our director before there was even a script, and we began to identify and create a show based on not only the history of the Four Seasons, but our personalities. That’s something that’s very unique that I think has carried over now in the success of the Midtown Men.

“We’ve now found our own sound, and that’s the cool thing about this.”

****************************************************************

THE MIDTOWN MEN»

Where: Hawaii Theatre, 1130 Bethel St.»

When: 8 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday»

Cost: $40-$100»

Info: (808) 528-0506, hawaiitheatre.com

Category: Christian Hoff, Concerts, Media

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An Evening With The Midtown Men

Catherine • October 20, 2014 • Comments (0)

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.

Category: Christian Hoff, Daniel Reichard, J. Robert Spencer, Michael Longoria, The MEN

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KHZTV’s Tracy Hart’s interview with Christian Hoff

Catherine • September 23, 2014 • Comments (0)

In anticipation of The Midtown Men’s upcoming Bel Air, MD show at APGFCU Arena, emcee Tracy Hart gets the scoop from Christian Hoff on The Men, the music, and balancing work and family.

Category: Christian Hoff, Concerts, Media, The MUSIC

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Audition Master Class with Christian Hoff

Catherine • July 7, 2014 • Comments (0)

Category: Christian Hoff

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NJPAC part 2 – “…oh what a night of entertainment it was”

Catherine • June 22, 2014 • Comments (5)

I enjoyed All the moments!  Especially ALL the new songs we put in our special with all our new choreography. My wife who has done ten shows on Broadway said,”You all looked so good dancing together!  You all looked and sounded amazing!”  She was so impressed with the whole filming/concert experience. That is what I am most proud and pleased about is that my wife was so proud of All of Us! bobby

 

My apologies for taking so long to follow up on the NJPAC “pre-show” post!  I received an email from a friend yesterday saying “NJPAC is still in our minds. It was such a great evening!!!!”  And I believe she shares those thoughts with anyone who was there.  There were so many amazing moments – new songs, new choreography (which the Men made look so easy!) fabulous lighting, Gene Cornish…I could go on and on, but instead, I’ll share  some of the thoughts fans and a couple of the Men shared with me about the show itself.  Enjoy, and feel free to add your own thoughts as comments here!

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What a fabulous show!  The Midtown Men are not only great singers but also great entertainers and showmen.  The variety of their song selections is unbelievable…they can do that because they seamlessly switch off each other taking the lead on different songs.  This is not some sort of retrospective show…this is great songs done with more flair than the original recordings.  Pardon me for using a familiar cliché but there is no other way to describe it…oh what a night of entertainment it was. And to think we get to see it again on public television in a few months. David Cace

 

Daniel brings the house down every time he sings "Cry For Me"

It was the absolute BEST show to date that we have seen!! They were dancing up a storm and doing some fantastic new songs from some of the girl groups of the 60′s that really rocked!! Daniel’s solo of “Cry For Me” was a show stopper, I love it every time he does it…and so did the audience!  Michael’s new solo was great! Sounded a little gospel! Very cool! Christian’s solo is so heartfelt, his expressions just tell a story with every word he sings.  Bobby’s solo is as soulful as you can get!  They do everything so well, I could never pick a favorite! Just when I think I found one, I feel the same way about the next song! JoAnn C.

 

The show was amazing!! Beautiful venue, amazing lighting, and the guys were at their best— absolutely electric!!  I loved the new music and choreography… great adds to the show. I‘m contacting my local PBS station and demanding they pick it up locally, as soon as it’s available!! Sandra P

 

Gene Cornish thrilled the crowd when he joined the Men for "Groovin" - he plays a mean harmonica!

So thrilled to be in the audience for such an exciting event for one of the best, most talented groups around, The Midtown Men!!  Especially exciting to be there with my parents, and my daughter! Three generations all enjoying the same music. What an amazing night!

Hard to pick a favorite part of the evening, but some of the highlights, for me, were connecting with many other Midtown Men fans, dancing in my seat, leaping up for multiple standing ovations, and seeing Gene Cornish of The Rascals come out onto the stage to play harmonica during “Groovin” sung so beautifully! Awesome memory from a GREAT night! Tricia R

 

The show was great as always, and they just keep getting better & better. I love watching them dance! The best part of all is that they are the greatest guys and I am proud to call myself a fan!!! Donna G

 

It was … hysterical when (Daniel) was relaying his funniest moment and (he) made some mistakes and said “Oh well, they will edit that out anyway.”  Then we go to Bobby who says “Well you messing up just now was my funniest moment.”

Not to simplify things but their concerts are so happy and uplifting.  No matter what kind of a day you have had or what is going on in your world, you truly lose yourself in their performances.  They have the ability to transport you to a place where there are only smiles.  They don’t sing at you but they sing with you.  The ability to include the audience in such a way is a unique gift. Cynthia B

 

 

During the filming, we just did our thing, no stops, no retakes, raw and real. The only difference was ten or more cameras rolling and three trucks outside capturing the excitement onstage and in the audience. So many of our fans and friends there celebrating with us like always. Christian

 

 

I wish i was in the front row, because you guys were so good that i would have come up on the stage! George

 

This was my 11th show. It was just as exciting as my first one…I just love them.  Their concerts are always fantastic!  My favorite song of the night was when Daniel sang “Cry For Me”.  He has an outstanding voice!  Of course all the other songs they sang were top notch also. Donna St. J

 

 

Category: Christian Hoff, Concerts, Fan Stories, J. Robert Spencer, The MEN

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The Midtown Men at NJPAC…A Powerful Thing

Catherine • June 14, 2014 • Comments (4)

Before the show I was enjoying watching our dream crew do their thing.  Pre-production, design and planning were now in real time.  Just like our show itself, when it’s go time, it’s a powerful thing. Christian

It’s hard to believe it’s been more than two weeks since that magical night at NJPAC.  In the days and weeks preceding the big event, it seemed like THE DAY would never come.  Since then, though, time has flown by, but the memories of the night have not faded.

I thought it would be fun to relive the night through the eyes of those who were there.   I’ve gathered some thoughts and pictures from the guys and the fans, and today’s post will concentrate on the excitement of the pre-show events.  In the following days, look for more thoughts and pictures from the show and the post-show exhilaration.

 

In my mind, there was no better way to spend time before the show than visiting with other fans at the pre-show gathering.  So many wonderful people who I have “talked” to in emails, but have never actually met – I loved them all, loved having this bond with them, and loved sharing the experience with my daughter.  Thanks so much to all of you who came up to the Tier 3 Cafe and helped make this incredible evening even more special! Catherine

I was running around backstage ten minutes before the … show changing and ironing my shirts. JRS

I’m so glad I went (to the) pre show dinner, because it’s not only seeing TMM, it’s getting  together with friends we have made to share our obsession…. I mean passion. Norene H.

 

 

(One) of the highlights, for me, were connecting with many other Midtown Men fans. Tricia R.

Category: Christian Hoff, Concerts, Fan Stories, J. Robert Spencer, The MEN

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The Midtown Men…”Musical Magic”

Catherine • May 25, 2014 • Comments (0)

Jersey Boys’ Christian Hoff reveals the musical magic of The Midtown Men

By: Allen Foster, AXS Contributor, AXS.com

May 8, 2014

In their 4th year touring the country as The Midtown Men, Broadway’s original quartet from “Jersey Boys” (Tony® Award-winner Christian Hoff, Michael Longoria, Daniel Reichard and Tony® Award nominee J. Robert Spencer) continues to revitalize the music of the 60s with their engaging live concerts. Besides performing with their own seven-piece band in select cities, these artists will be offering a symphonic interpretation of their show with such renown ensembles as The Philly POPS®. Christian Hoff recently spoke with AXS.com about the magic that is The Midtown Men.

 

AXS.com: It looks like “Jersey Boys” was just the beginning, you’re now enjoying an incredible career as The Midtown Men.

Christian: Yes, we are!  We’re on our 4th season of traveling with our seven-piece band and performing a concert celebration of the 60s, similar to what we did with Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons on Broadway.  We’re bringing this music to life in the same fashion, but the important difference is, we’re no longer playing characters, this is us, we’re bringing this great decade of music to life with our own chemistry, our own stories and our own perspectives.

AXS.com: How did The Midtown Men come into existence?

Christian: After we left “Jersey Boys,” people started asking us, “Are you guys going to make a record with all the songs that we’ve heard you sing on other programs outside of ‘Jersey Boys?’”  We also wanted to continue to put our stamp on all of that great music from the 60s, not just the music of The Four Seasons, so we decided to put a group together. It just started as a side gig, something fun to do.  We all met in midtown Manhattan, home of Broadway, because that’s our roots.  We didn’t forget where we came from.  We had well over a million people from all over the country who came to see us in “Jersey Boys,” so we decided:  let’s go to them this time, let’s take them something special that isn’t a Broadway show, but still has that Broadway pedigree as well as the roots and the legs of the 60s music! It turned out to be a great marriage.  The Midtown Men has become a brand in and of itself.

AXS.com: What is the difference between The Midtown Men and an average 60s music cover band?

Christian: The hook is we’re singing the great songs of the 60s, and that is what gets people in the seats, but we’re bringing something more to it.  We’re bringing a fresh take on this classic music.  We’re bringing a life to it in a way that isn’t just nostalgia or a tribute.  We understand the music and the roots in a way that I don’t think a cover band really can because we are also all actors and we love the dramaturgy of this, too!  You need the live band, you need the orchestra, and you need these lyrics to come to life in a new way, right in front of your very eyes.  That’s the beauty of live theater, live performance and, in this case, live music.  I think that aspect is what brings people to their feet as much as hearing their favorite songs.

AXS.com: But how did you get such a firm grasp of the 60s? There seems to be more to your shows than just the music, there is an understanding.

Christian: When we went to Broadway, we spent probably about two weeks in what you might consider a condensed master’s program of the 60s.  We studied not only the politics and socioeconomics, but also the music business, dance styles, instrumentation and just so many other things about that decade.  When we created “Jersey Boys,” we needed to know not only what was going on in the music business and in politics around the country at that time, but we needed to understand the competition that The Four Seasons faced because that really shaped who they were, it helped define their sound.

AXS.com: All four of you guys are multitalented.  How do you perceive yourselves?  Would you consider yourselves actors or singers?

Christian: Some of us put ourselves as actors first and singers second while others of us put ourselves as singers first and actors second.  However, when we come together on that stage, we are using every aspect of what we believe are our given talents.  We our continually stretching our own perception of who we are as entertainers.  If we have any expectations of ourselves, it is to be the best at all we can at every show.  This live experience is about the camaraderie of four guys getting together against the odds to make some music.

Some of The Midtown Men’s fans and supporters include Shirley Alston Reeves of The Shirelles, Steven Van Zandt (who produced The Midtown Men’s radio single last year), Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, Tommy James, Gene Cornish of The Rascals, Bill Medley of The Righteous Brothers and Paul Anka. You just never know who might be sitting next to you in the crowd at The Midtown Men’s live show.

Category: Christian Hoff, Concerts, Media

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The Midtown Men and Michael Krajewski, Happy Together…Again

Catherine • May 13, 2014 • Comments (1)

Broadway’s Jersey Boys, The Midtown Men, to perform with The Philly POPS

by Allen Foster, Philadelphia Celebrity Examiner
May 12, 2014

Before The Midtown Men, Tony® Award-winner Christian Hoff, Michael Longoria, Daniel Reichard, and Tony® Award nominee J. Robert Spencer were the original stars of the Broadway phenomenon “Jersey Boys.”  With over 1,000 performances on stage together, this dynamic foursome has since expanded their repertoire to cover not only Frankie Valli, but all the greats from the 60s, as well.  In a rare, special engagement, The Midtown Men will be shedding their regular seven piece band in favor of the 60 piece orchestral backing of the renowned Philly POPS!  Under the sublime direction of conductor Michael Krajewski, the two entertainment powerhouses will unite to bring you a one of a kind, truly unforgettable show called “Sixties Hits” on May 16, 17, and 18 at Verizon Hall in The Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, PA.

 

Examiner recently talked with Christian Hoff about The Midtown Men’s upcoming performances with The Philly POPS.

Examiner: When you come to The Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, instead of your regular seven piece band, you are going to be playing with The Philly POPS! That’s pretty exciting!

Christian: It is! We are looking forward to it!  This has been on the calendar for a long, long time.  Philadelphia was just a real solid anchor early on when The Midtown Men were just beginning our venture into the symphonic world.

Examiner: Does this show contain The Midtown Men’s full repertoire?  What can patrons expect?

Christian: What we decided to do with the symphonic shows was take our favorite songs from our set lists over the years and orchestrate them in symphonic fashion.  The current show consists of about 60-70 minutes of our favorites.

Examiner: What kind of musical treats will be included in this show?

Christian: Well, when we were considering music for this show, we were really thinking about songs that we could orchestrate that would stretch some limits.  For instance, from Ike and Tina Turner, we orchestrated “River Deep, Mountain High,” which was a Phil Spector song.  It wasn’t necessarily a huge success for Tina Turner, but we loved the way that Phil orchestrated it with his Wall of Sound, so we said, “Why don’t we pay homage to that and do an actual wall of sound with an 85 piece orchestra?!”  Another way we stretched the limits was when we did The Beatles’ “Can’t Buy Me Love” — which is one of our favorite songs that we perform — we added horns. Rarely does a band do a Beatles’ arrangement with horns.  We’ll also be doing songs from The Mamas & The Papas, The Turtles, The Association, and, of course, The Four Seasons.  We do a Motown medley which is just really, really fun to hear, it’s a big, big orchestrated funky groove that is unique and wonderful!

Examiner: What is the difference between The Midtown Men and an average 60′s music cover band?

Christian: The hook is we’re singing the great songs of the 60s, and that is what gets people in the seats, but we’re bringing something more to it.  We’re bringing a fresh take on this classic music.  We’re bringing a life to it in a way that isn’t just nostalgia or a tribute.  We understand the music and the roots in a way that I don’t think a cover band really can because we are also all actors and we love the dramaturgy of this, too!  You need the live band, you need the orchestra, and you need these lyrics to come to life in a new way, right in front of your very eyes. The beauty of live theater, live performance, and, in this case, live music.  I think that aspect is what brings people to their feet as much as hearing their favorite songs.

Examiner: Is there anything you’d like to say in closing?

Christian: When we first set out to do this orchestrated version of our show, we knew The Philly POPS would be a milestone in our career.  Philadelphia is just such a great music town!  Also, as artists, one of the guys, Michael Longoria, worked quite a bit in Philadelphia, and our horn section is comprised of all Philly horns!  So, we’ve come full circle.  To be able to perform with The Philly POPS is a great mark of success.  We look forward to celebrating that success with The Philly POPS this weekend.  It’s going to be a celebration of Philly and music of the 60s all wrapped up in one!

Category: Christian Hoff, Concerts, Media

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Happy Birthday, Christian!

Catherine • April 21, 2014 • Comments (1)

The Midtown Club would like to wish Christian Hoff a very Happy Birthday!  I’m sure the good people of Kitchener, Ontario will show him some birthday love tonight!

I believe last year’s birthday wishes deserve a repeat…click here to revisit the post.

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Broadway World Denver Interviews Christian Hoff

Catherine • March 21, 2014 • Comments (0)

“…we know that we wouldn’t exist, either from show to show, or in our (livelihoods) without connecting to the audience and to the material…”

BWW Interviews: Tony Award Winner CHRISTIAN HOFF on THE MIDTOWN MEN, JERSEY BOYS, VINEYARDS and More!

by Michael Mulhern, BroadwayWorld.com/Denver

 

Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to speak with me and BroadwayWorld today!
It’s my pleasure. Thank you for the support. We appreciate it so much.

Congrats on your newly found success with the stellar male group – The Midtown Men. Tell me a little bit about this group?
I think this is the first time that any group of actors from a Broadway show have taken their relationship and their history with the show to something that is as concrete as this. To take it to a level and really spin off an act, I mean people have done it since we’ve done it from regional productions, and certainly we have a great example of Broadway greats and even contemporaries that do this.

Click here to read interview in its entirety.

Category: Christian Hoff, Concerts, Media

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