Category: Michael Longoria
From Huffington Post, by Eileen Shapiro
The audaciously talented, and strikingly handsome, star of Broadway, television, and New York City nightlife, will be appearing in what promises to be one of the most sparkling and glittery sensations to hit Manhattan. “The View Upstairs”. will be at The Lynn Redgrave Theatre, (45 Bleecker Street, NYC), on February 28th. This glam rock musical production is based upon, the real life gay bar in New Orleans, in the 1970’s, which unfortunately burnt to the ground. Written by Max Vernon, and directed by Scott Ebersold, it includes an all- star cast including: Jeremy Pope, Taylor Frey, Nathan Lee Graham, Frenchie Davis, Benjamin Howes, Michael Longoria, Ben Mayne, Nancy Ticotin, and Randy Redd.
Michael Longoria himself has an impressive array of credits consisting of, the starring role on Broadway as Frankie Valli in the Tony Award winning “Jersey Boys”, and Hairspray, as well as performing solo in Times Square for thousands for “Broadway on Broadway”. He has also appeared on various television shows including, “Broadway Under the Stars”, “A Tribute to Harold Prince”, and the finale of “America’s Got Talent”, ( Season 9). Having recently released his new album, “Broadway Brick by Brick”, Michael has also performed at “Joe’s Pub”, “The Cutting Room”, and “Caroline’s on Broadway”. He is also in The Midtown Men, and performs nearly every summer at Cherry Grove.
Although I have interviewed hundreds, Michael’s words were one of the most expressive experiences I’ve ever had. His answers painted the most vivid pictures, and feelings, whereas he caused me to feel what he was feeling…..
What role will you be portraying in “The View Upstairs”?
I play Freddie, who is also the bars drag queen. As a drag queen my name is Aurora Whorealis. There is a few generations in the bar when we flash back into time, into 1973. I play a young and rebellious drag queen, and my storyline is really about a mother and the love for her child. You meet my mother in the middle of the play and you find out that although her son being a drag queen wasn’t necessarily her dream for her son, she’s comes to love him, and love the Gay bar, and comes to frequent it. You see this woman from Puerto Rico, who came to America with her husband who wanted this American life, and has all these challenges because she has a gay son. Which is a challenge that many parents have to deal with. Obviously we as gay people go through so many trials before we realize that we have the strength to come out to the people that we love, because we are afraid we’re going to lose them. But, as an adult I looked back and I think about my parents and what they had to go through. The fear of the unknown, and the knowing of your child all of a sudden, but really getting to know them deeply, in a way that they didn’t know them before. Their sexuality all of a sudden, and what that means. For me I was a Mexican American. My parents were Catholic Mexican, my father was machismo, so coming out to my parents was similar to Freddie. My father didn’t accept me right away, and Freddie’s father doesn’t accept him because he’s gay, and he leaves his wife and Freddie. So with all that drama in their life you see the joy that they get from coming to this place, where they meet these characters and these friends from different generations. Nathan plays this wise, fabulous, crazy, queen of the bar. He sits there in judgment, and tells everybody about the way it was. Freddie is the kind that wants to moon everybody outside, and wants to be who he wants to be, no matter what. Even though stonewall happened they were still living in a lot of oppression in the south.
I think there still is to a degree.
Absolutely, Even now I’m sometimes challenged on the street by some asshole who wants to feel manly. That definitely still happens now. The sensation that you get when you first go to a gay bar, I remember that very well. I was a teenager, even though I was underage, being in a place that all of a sudden you know you’re not supposed to be in, but you want to be in, and you know you belong. All of a sudden all that hunger and fuzz, without even having a drink, because I was underage, but the feeling and the high of being yourself, of saying anything you want, being anything you want, and having everybody in the bar not give a shit. Of course those times aren’t that true anymore, with the shadiness that’s around in our days….. But for a young queen who doesn’t know about that shadiness, being able to go to a space that’s like a utopia, you can really be who you are inside. For Freddie in this play, this is his playground. Not only can he prance around in his bellbottoms, but he can get in his dress and be fabulous, and look like Marilyn Monroe, and really live who is inside, which is this woman, this inner being. So that’s who I am, and I get to put on a fun drag show within the show.
I just bet you do…
It’s really fun, and I’ve never done drag. It’s an amazing experience and a learning experience too.
Did they assign you a drag mother?
No, not yet. I’ve had a lot of drag inspirations, from going to Fire Island, and hanging out at the Ice Palace, you see all of those drag queens perform, and throughout the summer I’ve got to know them both in and out of drag. What’s interesting about playing a drag queen now, I’ve had crushes on drag queens for the past five years. Interesting weird, like “why do I like you”…. I really admire them especially the funny ones. The ones that are beautiful and then all of a sudden they are hilarious. You have to admire someone that can make a crowd laugh, especially in times like these, when we’re laughing and crying at the same time. It’s like that nervous laughter that turns into tears. The message of “The View Upstairs”, is that ultimately, you had these places in the 70s that were secretive for a community, and it was everybody, everybody within each other, and they had each other’s back. That’s what we really need to remind each other of now, because the eight years with Obama we’ve made so much progress, and have felt very liberated in a sense. The fact that we could get married to anyone we wanted, and now all of a sudden it’s like psych….”Just kidding”… It’s like the carpet being pulled out from under you, and your heart being ripped out of your chest, from an America that you thought was finally understanding you. We have to remind ourselves that we have each other, not just in gay bars, but we are all around. We have each other on Facebook, we have each other in these magazines that I’m talking to right now, in these relationships that are forming, and the only way to really get through it, is by loving each other, in any way that we possibly can. That’s by supporting each other, going to the drag shows, and telling them they’re fabulous, even when sometimes they might not be.
Rule one, never insult a drag queen, too much work goes into it….
Ever, ever, ever…. It takes a lot of balls… Literally… And it takes a lot of courage and heart. Those people have a lot of heart. Those drag queens that I know have both sides, they are evil in a sense, they have to have that hardshell of protection from bullies while growing up a lot of times, but they also have this enormous sensitivity that is very loving in nature. Maybe that’s why I fall in love with these drag queens, because I see both sides, and both sides are beautiful. They bring out the best in all of us because they make us laugh.
I love drag queens more than life itself, I use to own a gay bar.
So then you know, the community that can form, the drama that can happen, and all of the relationships that happen. These characters are loosely based on some of the victims, that could’ve been there, like me, if I was living at that time I would’ve gone to that bar. In fact, this was the biggest killing of the gay population before Orlando. I’ve been to Pulse, I’ve been to Latin night, I tour and I’ve been to those specific parties. So, it could’ve been me. So to know that it happened, and those souls were not allowed to be grieved for, a lot of those parents couldn’t claim those kids that were in the fire because they were afraid that they would get blacklisted, or lose their jobs because they had gay family. It was so weird and so heartbreaking. One of the characters is based off of someone who might have been one of the three unidentified bodies that was buried in a mass grave. So it’s sort of a story that needs to be told, and it’s very bold of them to be bringing this right now. It’s scary but it’s also liberating.
Read original article here.
Category: Michael Longoria
2017 finds The Midtown Men in the middle of their 7th (SEVEN!!) year touring together. It also brought a change, albeit temporary, to the group, as Michael is on a leave of absence for a few months. We have always known that these four guys are first-rate performing artists, and it’s been so fun to see how, over the years, they have each been able to pursue their own creative outlets.
So what is Michael up to? Last night, the NYC theater community was privileged to see Michael begin previews in a new Off-Broadway show, called The View Upstairs. The show opens on February 28, and if you’re in the area, you will NOT want to miss this! Michael shows off his singing, dancing, and acting chops in a fun role that he helped create. The View Upstairs was inspired by one of the most significant yet all-but-ignored attacks against the LGBTQ community. It examines what has been gained and lost in the fight for equality, and how the past can help guide all of us through an uncertain future. Words that have been used to describe the show already include “beautiful,” “powerful,” “vibrant,” and “important.”
Check it out if you’re going to be in the NYC area this spring!!
Tickets at www.theviewupstairs.com.
For those of you concerned about what this means for TMM, rest assured! During Michael’s leave of absence, Travis Cloer, of Las Vegas (and Broadway) Jersey Boys fame is joining Christian, Daniel and Bobby on tour coming soon to a city near you!
Category: Michael Longoria
2016 has been a smashing year for you so far and we can’t wait to see what the future holds! We love you and are behind you all the way. Have a wonderful day celebrating YOU!
Love, The Midtown Club
Category: Michael Longoria
Midtown Men fans, check out this awesome opportunity to hear an interview with Michael on Sirius Radio TOMORROW, Sept. 10! He will talk about his new solo CD, BROADWAY BRICK BY BRICK, and his upcoming encore performance at Joe’s Pub in NYC.
Tune in tomorrow!
SiriusXM On Broadway, channel 72
“Broadway Names with Julie James”
Sat, Sept 10: 8pm ET/5pm PT
with encores Sun 12p ET/9a PT, Wed 7a and Thur 9p ET/6 PT
If you’re anywhere near the NYC metro area, come join us at Joe’s Pub on September 18 at 7:00pm to hear Michael’s amazing voice in the beautiful and intimate setting at Joe’s Pub. We’ve all heard Michael bring 60′s music to life but I’m telling you, these Broadway tunes showcase his range and emotions like you can’t believe. Don’t take my word for it! See you there!
Get your tickets HERE
Category: Michael Longoria
When: September 18, 2016, 7:00pm
Where: Joe’s Pub, 425 Lafayette, New York, NY
What: Michael Longoria’s solo concert, Broadway Brick By Brick
From Joe’s Pub: Back by popular demand! Michael Longoria returns after his Joe’s Pub debut with a concert celebrating his 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. Michael will perform the album in its entirety and share 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.
Michael’s May 2016 debut at Joe’s Pub was a special experience that included many long-time TMM fans and friends in the audience. If you live in or around NYC, don’t miss this opportunity to get to know Michael better as a performing artist, and as a person. The music will come to life even more after you hear the stories behind the songs he chose, and don’t we all love an opportunity to hear more from one of our Men?
Click to order tickets.
Click to order the CD.
See you there!
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
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 to join Michael’s Facebook Fan Page!
Category: Michael Longoria
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com and I will share it here on the Club site.
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)