Category: J. Robert Spencer
November 8th was a banner day in Midtown Manhattan when Jersey Boys celebrated 10 years on Broadway – the 12th longest running show in Broadway history! And our Midtown Men were there – for the celebration, yes, but they were also there 10 years ago, when it was all still ahead of them…
Fans were thrilled to see them get the recognition and love they so deserve!
Here are some of my favorite pictures from this once-in-a-lifetime experience!
What a thrill it was to run into these gentlemen in the lobby of the August Wilson before the show!
The energy and excitement from the stage permeated the theater and continued down the street to a star-studded party at the beautiful Novotel Hotel.
If you have any pictures or stories you would like to share about the JB weekend, please leave a comment here or email your pictures to email@example.com.
Congratulations to Christian Hoff, Daniel Reichard, J. Robert Spencer and Michael Longoria as they prepare to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of Jersey Boys on Broadway! JB joins an elite group of shows that made it 10 years on the Great White Way, including Phantom of the Opera, Chorus Line and Wicked! And we all know that if you can make it 10 years there, you can make it 10 years anywhere, right Midtown Men?
Actors, Writers, Directors, Producers and Fans will gather this weekend to pay tribute to this amazing show that gave birth to our beloved Midtown Men. Many of us “Midtown Clubbers” have a story from the early days, when it was all still ahead of them, and us. If you have a story, please share it here in comments, and if you have a picture to go with that story, email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will share it here on the Club site.
The Midtown Men kick off a big week of concerts all over the Midwest – starting with tonight’s show in Green Bay!
Click here to watch the video.
Last night, Saturday, July 25th, The Midtown Men took a break from their summer vacation to play to a “sold-out and enthusiastic audience” at the Mohegan Sun Resort and Casino. Pat Abdalla was on hand and had this to say about the show:
Midtown men take sold-out casino crowd back to the ’60s
by PAT ABDALLA, citizensvoice.com, Published: July 26, 2015 (excerpts – click here to read story in its entirety)
J. Robert Spencer sat on a stool and, introducing the song he was about to sing, explained he’d heard the Beatles’ classic “In My Life” in a new way recently. He talked about how people move into and out of our lives, and he appreciated that fact in a new way as a husband and father, which gave the song a deeper meaning to him.
Then Spencer, who came to fame singing classic songs in the Broadway hit “Jersey Boys” and currently as a member of the Midtown Men, leaned back and sang the opening lyrics, “There are places I remember …”
Spencer and his bandmates — Christian Hoff, Michael Longoria and Daniel Reichard — brought the sold-out and enthusiastic audience back to the places of their childhood on a tour through the ’60s on Saturday at Mohegan Sun Pocono.
The Midtown Men hit all the right notes, from the pop hits of bands like The Mamas & the Papas to the protest songs of groups like Buffalo Springfield to some of Motown’s biggest classics……
…Throughout the show, they took turns introducing each other to the audience, talked about touring the country and their love of ’60s music.
Longoria, who bounds about the stage like a mix of Valli and Bruno Mars, was self-deprecating.
“I can fit in your purse,” the diminutive singer said.
Reichard, who is sporting a new beard, stole the show with a rousing and heart-felt rendition of “Cry For Me” and a rollicking “Good Lovin.’” Both got audience members heads bobbing and received a loud ovation.
Hoff’s rendition of “For What It’s Worth” was powerful.
Spencer’s soulful baritone also connected with the crowd, particularly on “In My Life” and “California Dreamin.’” …
(all links added by themidtownclub.com)
J. Robert Spencer has been spending his summer in Glen Falls, NY. No, not on vacation, but on STAGE at the Adirondak Theatre Festival! Yes, Mr. Spencer has been a busy man. Not only did he headline the 2015 Adirondack Theatre Festival presentation of unCIVIL WAR, but he is an Executive Producer. AND in his spare time, he starred in his very first cabaret show!
THE UNCIVIL WAR
A bluegrass musical comedy along the Mason-Dixon
The Civil War’s six lone survivors retell the story of the infamous conflict…as it REALLY happened…
Adirondack Theatre Festival hits the jackpot with the new comedy musical unCivil War, which runs July 9 through Saturday, July 18, at the Charles Wood Theater.
[Glen Falls Chronicle]
Great interview by Ronda Triller in poststar.com:
J. Robert Spencer starts an interview with a warning: “I’m long-winded.”
Then the Tony Award nominee spends half an hour entertaining, telling stories about run-ins with celebrities, his favorite sweater (even Harvey Keitel likes it) and busking in New York City subways.
If he’s long-winded, there needs to be another term for close-talking windbag second cousins who corner you near the hors d’oeuvres table at family reunions to talk about their careers in insurance.
Spencer might talk a lot, but he has a lot of interest to say.
( click here to read in article its entirety)
’If we’re going to entertain lets have a party, let everyone in the room have a party,’ and that’s what we try to do.
j. robert spencer
BY SUE BRICKEY
BLADE STAFF WRITER
(excerpts from article – click here to read in its entirety)
The quartet has that Rat Pack style, with skinny ties and well-tailored Hugo Boss or Ted Baker suits…They came to fame as Jersey Boys, but now audiences come out to see them solely as The Midtown Men, J. Robert Spencer said in a recent phone interview. “We’re fortunate enough to say this keeps us extremely happy and busy.”
Among Spencer’s favorite musical experiences is being flown out to San Francisco for a private birthday party that had a stellar entertainment lineup: the Midtown Men, Jason Mraz, and Bruno Mars. “Never in a million years did we think we would run into, or open for, Jason Mraz or Bruno Mars, but there we are, sitting and talking like musicians talk,” Spencer said. “Everybody’s got a story. No matter what you’re making or where you are on the Billboard charts, music gives a seamless connection to all artists.”
Spencer counts Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin as influences. “They are iconic entertainers, and actors and entertainers love performing,” he said. “There’s something about that time that people connect with instantly, a time of carefree fun that [the performers] exuded, that ’If we’re going to entertain lets have a party, let everyone in the room have a party,’ and that’s what we try to do, from what we’ve learned from icons like that over the years.”
The Valentine Gala begins at 6 p.m. Saturday with cocktails and station dining in a tent on the Plaza and in the Grand Lobby, followed by the Midtown Men at 8 p.m. in the theater and dessert and dancing in the Grand Lobby.
Join host Valerie Smaldone as she gets to know The Midtown Men tonight in NYC.
Valerie Smaldone, radio star and friend to TMM, will delve into Christian, Daniel, Michael and Bobby’s lives – their back stories, inspirations and dreams – in a cozy and intimate setting at 92Y. It is sure to be a fun and informative evening!
Click here for ticket information. Cash Bar.
I just love singing rock ‘n’ roll, jamming with these guys and having a good time on stage. Every actor is a show-off; we like to take people on an emotional journey.
J. Robert Spencer
Midtown Men’s J. Robert Spencer talks ‘Jersey Boys,’ concert at Majestic Theater
The Midtown Men are set to perform in Gettysburg on Thursday
By Robyn Fisher
For The Evening Sun
When four of the original cast members of “Jersey Boys” sang their last notes at the August Wilson Theatre, they knew their visit to the 1960s was not over.
The bond that formed among the four men while they were on stage together for 1300 performances of the Tony and Grammy award winning musical developed into a shared dream. And together they formed the Midtown Men, a musical group with sharp choreography, tailored suits and harmonies that could take audiences back in time.
The group, composed of Tony Award winner Christian Hoff, Daniel Reichard, Michael Longoria, and Tony Award nominee J. Robert Spencer, is set to perform at the Majestic Theater in Gettysburg on Oct. 16.
Relaxing in his rocking chair at home in Oregon on a rare day off, Spencer, 45 years old and a member of Central York High School’s class of 1987, took some time to reflect on his journey from local theaters to the bright lights of Broadway and beyond.
Q: You have been touring across the country with the Midtown Men for five years now. How does it feel to be coming back to the area?
A: I’m a big Civil War buff, I’ve always had a fascination with that area and it feels really nice that I’ll be able to do a concert in a place where I spent so much of my life. I was actually born on Abe Lincoln’s birthday, Feb. 12; we’re exactly 160 years apart.
Q: You recently portrayed Lincoln in ‘Bayonets of Angst’ in the 2014 New York Musical Theatre Festival.
A: It was great because no one has ever seen me doing anything remotely close to Abbott and Costello and here’s this funny, bluegrass/Mel Brooks kind of musical comedy. I was on Broadway playing these dramatic roles in ‘Jersey Boys’ and ‘Next to Normal’ and over Facebook, I receive a message asking me if I’d be interested in the role. Reading over the script, I start laughing so hard that my wife (actress Jenny Lynn Suckling) notices tears streaming down my face.
With Midtown Men, we control the business and our schedule and if there’s a time when someone can take off for a quick creative spell then we’re going to be able to work that out. It’s a blessing to be able to do what you love.
Q: Back in 1992, you had a brush with potential rock stardom when your band from college was offered a record deal.
A: I think that’s what every kid thinks about when they play the drums for the first time. I didn’t know if I was going to be an actor or a musician, but I was definitely going to be an entertainer. So there I was supposed to be a rock star, but the guys in my band got cold feet and I was just like, ‘I can’t do this anymore.’ I decided I needed to get back in control of my life, so I cut my hair, went to New York, and then I started getting theater gigs. And there I was, no longer a wannabe rock star, I was a Broadway actor playing a rock star. How crazy is that? Not only were we playing the Four Seasons on Broadway and portraying the lives of these stars, but walking out the stage door, it was like the Beatles had arrived. That was the crazy wonderful response every single night from 2004 to 2008; every night was like Wembley Stadium.
Q: You’ve gone from portraying a character in a role to being on stage as yourself. How have you made that transition?
A: I think that there is something to wearing really well-tailored, expensive suits, but I just love singing rock ‘n’ roll, jamming with these guys and having a good time on stage. Every actor is a show-off; we like to take people on an emotional journey.
Q: What’s new for your upcoming visit to the Majestic Theater in Gettysburg?
A: We’ve added a lot of new tunes to the mix: Ronnie Spector, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, Tina Turner, the Rascals, the Beach Boys and a lot more. We’ve got some of our classics that people love, but it’s an all-new show. We have incredible seven-piece band with us, and while we’re on the road, we make every second count. We’ll sometimes try new things in the morning before sounds checks and make it happen that night.
Q: There was a time when listening to a record was an activity, not just background ambience. For the generation of people who grew up without oldies music playing on the radio, explain the significance of this era of music.
A: This music is timeless. The songs, the arrangements, the choreography, they were designed to entertain. There is an emotional recall that people have when they think about the sixties. That music was a huge part of our lives growing up, listening to it on the radio with our parents. When you have the power to bring that kind of emotional recall back into someone’s life, it is the most rewarding and beautiful thing that you can bring to an audience. And over these past five years of performing, we’ve seen the love of that music spread over to all of these other generations.
If you go
What: Midtown Men performance
Where: Majestic Theater, 25 Carlisle St., Gettysburg
When: 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 16
Tickets: $79, $72, $65
More: Call 717-337-8200 or visit gettysburgmagestic.org
“…we could have our cake and eat it, too. You don’t have to be happy with the apple pie a la mode. You could try the blueberry cobbler.”
J. Robert Spencer
The best role of all? Themselves, say the Midtown Men
by Bruce R. Miller, Sioux City Journal
(excerpts, click here to read article in its entirety
How do four actors juggle Broadway careers and another identity as the Midtown Men?
“It comes down to timing,” says J. Robert Spencer, a Tony-nominated member of the group. “The Midtown Men usually have the summers off so we can try something then.”
Last summer, for example, the 45-year-old Spencer played Abraham Lincoln in a “wacky, Mel Brooks-style musical” at the New York Musical Theatre Festival. Throughout the year, he, Christian Hoff, Daniel Reichard and Michael Longoria also have the ability to squeeze in appearances in films and television shows.
Too good to be true? Spencer wondered when the Midtown Men idea was posed.
“I was in ‘Next to Normal,’ which won the Pulitzer Prize and got me my Tony nomination, when my best friend called with the idea and said, ‘Do you want to go on the road?’”
Spencer talked it over with his wife and realized, “If we don’t try it, we’ll never know.”
Almost immediately, he says, they learned “we could have our cake and eat it, too. You don’t have to be happy with the apple pie a la mode. You could try the blueberry cobbler. It took off like wildfire.”
Now, the Midtown Men are nearing their 400th concert appearance. They’ve opened for Bruno Mars, performed at an oil tycoon’s birthday party, appeared on the White House lawn and recorded CDs and a PBS special.
“Broadway brought us rewards that every actor dreams of,” Spencer says. “But this has given us something more, something entirely different.”
“For the droves who come to see (us) as the Midtown Men, I’m Nick Massi from ‘Jersey Boys’ or I’m the husband in ‘Next to Normal.’”
A gritty musical, “Next to Normal” traced a woman’s mental breakdown and the effects it had on her family.
Spencer, who played the woman’s husband, says it was very tough emotionally. “After a week of it, I’d look at my wife and say, ‘I just need to cry.’ I needed an outlet, other than a stage, to deal with it.”
The show, he says, was so “rock solid,” it never felt difficult during performances. “It was a huge collaborative effort – from writing to acting to directing – and it was like being on a roller coaster. When you work with Alice Ripley (who won the Tony for her performance), you have to be on your toes. We connected as friends, as playmates, and that made the journey so rewarding.”
Spencer says he and the other Midtown Men are getting a kick out of relating to an audience as themselves, not some characters.
“When we get on stage and tell stories,” he says, “they’re our stories, not someone else’s.”
The Midtown Men will appear at WinnaVegas Casino in Sloan, Iowa at 8 p.m. Oct. 10. Tickets are available by calling 800-468-9466.