Category: Michael Longoria

Michael Longoria and Joe Piscopo Together Again

• May 25, 2012 • Comments (0)

Looking for a Midtown Men fix this Memorial Day weekend? Head down to the Jersey Shore where you will find Michael Longoria performing with pal Joe Piscopo at Wildwoods Celebration of Heroes Festival.

The Wildwoods salute America’s military service men and women, veterans and first responders with a live concert, entertainment, sports events, activities and a USO Variety Show featuring Joe Piscopo and his 17-piece orchestra; Michael Longoria; Miss America 2012 and Lee Greenwood.

The show is Sunday, May 27th at 8:00 p.m.  Visit Wildwoods website for more information.

Category: Michael Longoria

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The Midtown Men Thrill in Dubuque

• May 19, 2012 • Comments (1)
“It was a testament from these four musical ambassadors — the uplifting power of truly great music performed by truly great talent never fades.”
This is what Midtown Men fans love to hear:  a reporter who GETS IT, just as we do.  Oh What A Night it was in Dubuque!

Midtown Men croon at the Mississippi Moon

The foursome treats 2 sold-out audiences to a nostalgic trip back to the hits of the 1960s.

 BY MEGAN GLOSS, Telegraph Herald staff writer

It was a night of sweet nostalgia and a groove down memory lane as the soaring sounds of four-part harmony, ’60s-styled, filled every crevice of the Mississippi Moon Bar on Friday, sending chills through the crowd.

The Midtown Men Michael Longoria (from left), Christian Hoff, Daniel Reichard and J. Robert Spencer perform one of their two concerts Friday night at the Diamond Jo Casino's Mississippi Moon Bar

The Midtown Men took the stage for two sold-out performances, featuring high-energy and more crooning hits than one might think possible to pack into an hour-and-a-half show.

The Midtown Men reunites the four original stars from Broadway’s “Jersey Boys” — Christian Hoff, Michael Longoria, Daniel Reichard and J. Robert Spencer — who performed alongside one another for more than 1,000 shows on Broadway. The hit juke-box musical opened in 2005 and won four Tony Awards, including Best Musical.

While the show told the story of The Four Seasons and heavily featured the music of the famed quartet, The Midtown Men’s performance — now in its second year of touring the country — served as a musical smorgasbord of ’60s vocal groups, with a sprinkle of casual humor, favorite memories from “Jersey Boys” and stories of their most recent stints on the road.

The audience was made up primarily of those who grew up with the music of the ’60s.

From the show’s opening medley, “Let’s Hang On,” “Working My Way Back to You” and “Breaking Up is Hard to Do” to soul-inspired Motown renditions and the sing-along encore, “Oh, What a Night,” the four singers effortlessly transitioned from tune to tune, letting their voices and tight harmonization bask in the warm glow of the limelight.

“During ‘Jersey Boys,’ we naturally fell in love with the greatest decade of music,” Spencer said, accompanied by bursts of cheers and applause. “Back stage, in the dressing room, we started working out the harmonies to our favorite groups from the ’60s until it gave birth to a show of our own. We’re having the time of our lives.”

The foursome really shined on The Four Seasons selections, “Dawn,” “Candy Girl,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry” and “Sherry,” each featuring Longoria’s high soaring vocals, channeling Frankie Valli. His voice also was well-suited for a young Michael Jackson on the Jackson 5 hit, “I Want You Back.”

Patrons treated the group to a standing ovation and were singing in the aisles after the show, grinning from ear to ear.

It was a testament from these four musical ambassadors — the uplifting power of truly great music performed by truly great talent never fades.

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

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“Katie Couric turned the ‘Boys’ into ‘Men’…

• May 18, 2012 • Comments (3)

‘Jersey Boys’ into ‘The Midtown Men,’ that is.”

Article by Bruce Miller, Sioux City Journal

J. Robert Spencer, Christian Hoff, Michael Longoria and Daniel Reichard are The Midtown Men. The four met in the original Broadway cast of "Jersey Boys."

Asked to sing at the former CBS anchor’s 50th birthday party, four members of the original cast of Broadway’s “Jersey Boys” liked the experience and, says Christian Hoff, the idea of becoming a group “just snowballed from there.”

The four booked several concerts, liked the reaction and figured life as The Midtown Men “would be a side gig until our next Broadway shows,” Hoff says. “But what we set in motion was bigger than we ever expected.”

Now, Hoff, Daniel Reichard, J. Robert Spencer and Michael Longoria are so busy they’ve got concert engagements into 2013.

“What we’re doing is eclipsing our experience in ‘Jersey Boys’ — if that was at all possible. We’re living out a dream.”

All four sang as teenagers; two were in bands. Then Broadway entered their lives and acting looked like the chosen profession.

They met in the original cast of “Jersey Boys,” the musical story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Hoff played Tommy DeVito, Reichard played Bob Gaudio and Spencer played Nick Massi. Longoria was originally cast as Joe Pesci, then played Frankie Valli after John Lloyd Young left.

The four played around with other ’60s music during the run of the show. They liked what they heard and decided it would be fun to cover hits from some of the Four Seasons’ competition. The result? A catalog that includes the Beatles, the Beach Boys, Ike and Tina Turner, the Turtles, the Rascals, the Righteous Brothers — you name it.

“We made a choice to do less than 40 percent of our set from either the ‘Jersey Boys’ or Frankie Valli,” Hoff says. “Jersey Boys” producers were concerned they were going to do a Frankie Valli-lite version of the show.

“When the dust settled, they realized this was very different from ‘Jersey Boys.’ The only thing that tied us together was that we were in the show.”

Now, with a CD to their credit, the four are making a name for themselves in a different arena.

“It’s very surreal,” Hoff says. “We’re living out a life and a lifestyle that we once portrayed. You’re entertaining from your toes. You’re not portraying another person.”

People identify with them — not their characters — “and there’s no way to describe that. It’s an entertainer’s dream to live in the moment. It’s connecting to the music, yourself and the story of the song. You use your own life experience as the inspiration.”

While all four have had acting offers (can anyone say “Smash”?), they’ve had to put those opportunities on hold while they pursue this option.

Acting, Hoff says, will definitely be a part of their lives. “I’m very excited about the weight and experience this is giving me in my creative soul. These experiences are shaping my character.”

The Midtown Men’s future will definitely include original music. “We’re breathing new life into old music. What we’d like to do next is put our old sound on new music.”

Classics from the 1950s and 1960s, he says, have influenced artists like Bruno Mars, Cee Lo Green and Adele. Competition shows are filled with young singers performing covers. “The music is still alive and well, whether you know it or not,” Hoff says.

And “Jersey Boys”? It keeps chugging along. In addition to selling out on tour, it’s still running on Broadway. Young, in fact, has agreed to return to the show.

Hoff, however, doubts any of the Midtown Men will follow his lead. “My gut instinct, as a group, is that’s a position we’ve outgrown. The phenomenon of ‘Jersey Boys’ lives on in a parallel universe.”

Interestingly, Hoff has never seen the show since leaving it.

“When I left ‘Jersey Boys’ I had been in the shoes of my character for 10 percent of my life — I was 40 and it was four years of my life. To relive it would almost be like trying to time travel.”

The show? It was more than just another job for Hoff. He was involved in its birth in La Jolla, Calif.

The show was tailored to the actors’ talents. And Hoff’s character? He became the heart and soul of the story. The actor earned a Tony nomination for the work — his first Broadway role in 10 years — and viewed the experience as something pretty magical.

The Tony nomination, he says, was validation he had accomplished “what I was called to do.”

The day of the Tony Awards was as hectic as show business gets. In the morning, Hoff and company rehearsed at Radio City Music Hall. In the afternoon they performed a matinee. At night, they did the red carpet, performed on the show and sat in the audience waiting to hear whose name would be called.

Hoff braced himself “and five minutes later I was on stage and the crowd was on its feet. It was so surreal…but it was a triumph for all of us.”

The Best Featured Actor in a Musical trophy sits on his mantel, a tribute to a perfect experience.

Now, Hoff says, there’s a new challenge, a new venture.

“When we started, we weren’t sure if this would have legs,” he says of The Midtown Men. “Now, we’re watching it becoming a phenomenon. We’re not just the talent. We’re the producers, the directors, the choreographers and we’re in control.

“With that control comes responsibility, but we’re ready for it.

“It was a dream of mine to be in a band. Now,” he says, “I’m living the dream.”

The Midtown Men will play Winnavegas Casino at 8 p.m. on May 19. Tickets are $20 in advance, $40 day of show. For more information, call Winnavegas, 1-800-468-9466.

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

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Latest Quiz Answers (And Winner)

• May 7, 2012 • Comments (2)

Congratulations to Barbara Gandy!  Barbara had the most correct answers on the latest 60s music quiz.  Enjoy your Midtown Men tote, Barbara!!

Here are the answers:

The Four Seasons hit ‘Sherry’ was #3 for the year 1962, and spent 16 weeks on the charts – five of them at #1.  (“Big Girls Don’t Cry also hit #1 in 1962 and also spent five weeks in the top position, so either answer was acceptable.)

“This kid could be the next (Michael) Bublé.”  Joe Piscopo said this about Michael Longoria.

In 1966, the Beach Boys released the iconic album Good Vibrations.

Four Seasons #1 hit ‘Sherry’ was originally titled ‘Jackie Baby’, in honor of Jackie Kennedy.

In the name “Booker T & The M.G.’s”, the M.G. stands for Memphis Group.

In 2007, Daniel Reichard did a hilarious rendition of the Biz Markie rap song Just A Friend’.

‘Marlena’ was the B-side to ‘Candy Girl’. 

Patti LaBelle sang with the 1960’s girl group ‘The Bluebelles’. 

Christian Hoff was up against, and beat out, Jim Dale for both the “Best Featured Actor in a Musical” Tony award in 2006, and  the world record for “Most Character Voices in an Audio Book” for Tell Me How You Love the Picture.

Billy Fury had hits in the 1960’s with ‘Jealousy’, ‘Halfway to Paradise’, and ‘Like I’ve Never Been Gone’? 

J. Robert Spencer lists Improv Olympic – Stand Up on his resumé.

‘Candy Girl’ was the first Four Seasons single NOT composed by either Bob Gaudio or Bob Crewe.

Category: Christian Hoff, Daniel Reichard, J. Robert Spencer, Michael Longoria, Q & A

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The Midtown Men in Concert – Fresh, New and Comfortingly Familiar

• March 17, 2012 • Comments (2)

As I sit down to write this, The Midtown Men are taking the stage in Emporia, VA.  And even though I’m several hundred miles away, I’m excited. I’m excited for the long-time fans who have been waiting, counting the days until they see their beloved MEN again. I’m excited for the hundreds who will see them for the first time, whose lives will not be the same after tonight for they, too, will be counting the months, weeks, days until they can see these fabulous MEN again. And I’m excited for Christian, Michael, Daniel and J. Robert, for another opportunity to do what they live to do – thoroughly entertain their audience. Something they never fail to do, night after night after night.

I had the extreme pleasure of seeing The Midtown Men last week in Lakeland, FL.  And yes, I did count the months, weeks and days. And yes, the wait was well worth it. As I sat in the audience, filled with anticipation, and excited for the people around me who were seeing the show for the first time, I worried, “Can they possibly be as good as they were the last time I saw them? Or the four times before that?” I sure hoped so, because I had my “doubting Thomas” sister in tow, who, just a year before had turned her nose up at an invitation to see the show because she thought I was a little bit “Midtown Men” crazy.

Well, maybe I was, and maybe I still am, but now she understands why – she gets it.   Because they absolutely were AS GOOD as the five times I’d seen them before.  And more than that, they were somehow able to make me feel as if I were seeing them for the first time.  They gave me goose bumps and made me smile so much my face hurt.  And they seemed to be having as much fun as the audience.  They were loose and funny, and so comfortable on the stage.  The way they interact with each other and with the audience makes everyone feel a part of it.  And the way their eyes light up when they spot a familiar face in the crowd is heart warming.  They truly are a special group of men.

The fact that “my MEN” hadn’t changed in the five months since I’d seen them last was somehow comforting.  No, they hadn’t changed, but some things were definitely different.  The Midtown Men managed to change things up in such a way that a returning fan wouldn’t feel as if there was something  missing, but would be excited at the fresh, new feel.  They even changed their suits!  Not to worry, they are still the very sharp dressers we’ve come to expect, but they literally changed from one fabulous suit to another at intermission!

The addition of a very cool backdrop – a black and white cityscape of Midtown Manhattan, with “MM” in spotlights in the sky – is fabulous!  And I was thrilled that “Daydream Believer”  was still in the set, in honor of Davy Jones.  Daniel does such a tremendous job with that classic.    But the biggest surprise of the night for me was Bobby Spencer rocking the house to “Vehicle” – so sexy and so cool – I was blown away.

Yes, new is fun, but I was very happy that my favorites hadn’t changed.  I just love Christian’s “Time of the Season” – another sexy and cool performance (…hmm, I sense a theme.)  And although I’d never heard “Candy Girl” before TMM, I love to hear Michael hit those ridiculously high notes, and the audience loves it.  I could go on about my favorites, but that would take all night!  Suffice it to say, by the end of the show the entire audience and I were on our feet, dancing, clapping and singing.  “Oh What A Night” it was – thank you Midtown Men!

Click here to visit The Midtown Men’s concert calendar and find a show near you!

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

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Sixties Hits Promo Video

• March 13, 2012 • Comments (1)

I have so much to share about my visit with The Midtown Men in Lakeland, but I’ve been crazy busy.  So please enjoy this very cool video in the meantime!

Click here to purchase your CD from The Midtown Men Store

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

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The Midtown Men Hit Canada

• February 16, 2012 • Comments (0)

The Midtown Men played the first of three shows at the McPhillips Casino in Winnipeg last night. From there, it’s on to the Casino Regina (in Regina) for their last stop in Canada.

Check out the concert calendar to see where they’ll visit next. And check out this fabulous write-up in today’s Leader-Post:

Midtown Men freshen up classics

Show adds new twists on old hits

By Barbara Woolsey, The Leader Post

For four Broadway actors, Jersey Boys was just the beginning.

And some beginning it was – the production is one of the biggest musicals of all time, winning multiple Tony awards and spawning over a thousand performances.

Now, a few former cast members are embarking on a new adventure. This time, not as Franki Valli and the Four Seasons, but as The Midtown Men.

“We started singing together outside of the show, just for fun in our dressing rooms, for private parties,” explained group member Christian Hoff. “After we left (Jersey Boys), we really missed singing with each other and the unique bond that we had in the music . and what it’s brought us is more than a concert act, but completely beyond anything that we did portraying the Four Seasons.”

Hoff along with Daniel Reichard, J. Robert Spencer and Michael Longoria, sing music from the likes of the Beatles, Beach Boys, and of course, Franki Valli. The biggest challenge, said Hoff, is trying to fully capture the era in a 90-minute show.

The hits are classic, but done with a fresh take. It’s that approach that’s being applauded by not only those who grew up with the music, but the new generation.

“What we do on stage, it’s very Rat Pack meets Mad Men, ” explained Hoff, who portrayed Tommy DeVito in the musical. “Old school, off the cuff. You know, we even rip each other. We bring our hearts to the music.”

Now, The Midtown Men are touring North America …

“We have to pinch ourselves constantly,” said Hoff. “Here we are in front of thousands of people and they’re standing and cheering for us as individuals and as artists and singers, not as the characters we played in Jersey Boys. That’s a great surprise.”

Such an accomplishment hasn’t come easily.

“We’ve turned down Broadway, TV and film to try and do this,” explained Hoff. “There have been great sacrifices . but what we’ve said no to has been eclipsed by the success we’ve had.”

The Midtown Men recently recorded an album called Sixties Hits and plan to hit the studio again soon. The band is also collaborating with orchestras in Canada and the U.S., to add another dimension to its live performance.

“The tension that keeps us together is like that of brothers or teammates,” said Hoff. “But when it comes to the music of the 1960s, we know that we are stronger together. It’s being together that’s blowing us up.”

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

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On The Road Again!

• February 4, 2012 • Comments (0)

The Midtown Men kicked off their 2012 “TOUR”  in perfect style tonight at the Tennesee Williams Theatre, located on the beautiful campus of Florida Keys Community College.   A friend who was in attendance reported that the sold out crowd went wild!  She also shared that she spoke with a reporter after the show who shared that he has covered shows down there (Key West, FL) for 18 years and has never been to a performance he has enjoyed like this one.  WELL, WE COULD HAVE TOLD HIM THAT!!

What a fantastic way to start off the year!  And let’s hope the MEN, Christian Hoff, Michael Longoria, Daniel Reichard and J. Robert Spencer, can get a little rest down there in the Keys, because they are in for quite a TRIP…in just the next eight weeks they will perform 19 shows in 16 cities, including 4 shows in CANADA!

Check out the 2012 Concert Calendar for a show near you.  I will update the calendar as new shows are announced, so please keep checking back.

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

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Oh What A Weekend, Part 2

• October 28, 2011 • Comments (1)

So…as you may remember from Oh What A Weekend, Part 1, I was in Birmingham with my niece and Atlanta “girls”, having just listened in on The Midtown Men’s sound check. And of course, to us, they sounded perfect! Now, still on our high from that amazing experience, we went in search of a quick bite to eat and got back just in time for the opening number.

This show at the Leslie Stephen Wright Fine Arts Center was my fourth time seeing The Midtown Men. And I can honestly say that the excitement hadn’t diminished one little bit. From the opening curtain to the final notes of “Bye, Bye, Baby”, I was entranced. I clapped, I sang, I laughed, I danced…but I didn’t miss what was going on in the audience around me…

…A young girl, a teenager, was with her mother in the row in front of us. She knew every word to every song, and she didn’t stop smiling throughout the entire show…

…A burly, middle-aged man sat next to his dancing-in-her-seat, singing, clapping wife, and I thought, “Oh, no, he’s not happy.” Then I could sense a change in him. He realized that he knew these songs, yes, he LIKED these songs. He began to sing every song, and before long was clapping as wildly as his wife…

…A young woman in the front row with her mother was mesmerized. I could tell that this show meant a lot to her and she enjoyed every moment of it. I later ran into her in the lobby and learned that she had met Bobby Spencer after seeing him in “Next to Normal” on Broadway, and was blown away by his performance.  She saw on his Facebook page that he had “landed in Birmingham”, and rushed to find out why.  She is now not only a J. Robert Spencer fan, but a Midtown Men fan forever…

…A woman in the front row was beyond ecstatic – clapping and dancing and giving many ovations.  We learned half way through the show that The Men had met her (among a few others in attendance) on the airplane and invited them to come to the show.  Well, they came, alright, and they had a ball…

…A gaggle of college girls laughed and giggled and hooted throughout the show…what good taste they have at such an early age…

…And there we were, all but my niece had the great fortune of meeting these Men when they were still together on Broadway, and we fell in love with them, with their sound, their talents, their kindness and genuineness.  And we are so grateful that we have the opportunity to share in this “second life” that they have made together and that they so joyously share with all the fans.

L to R: Christian, Michael, Mary, Carolyn, Catherine, Bobby, Daniel

 

And of course, after the show, the Men were there, signing autographs, shaking hands, smiling and laughing and making every single person feel as if he were the only person in the room.  They have that gift, and it doesn’t go unnoticed by the hundreds of new fans they make at each and every show.

L to R: Bobby, Christian, Donna, Marilyn, Sharon, Mary, Linda, Michael, Daniel

Thank you, my friends, for making that day and night in Birmingham an awesome experience that I will think of fondly for a long time to come.

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

In my next installment, I follow The Midtown Men to Macon – another day, another show, a completely different experience (a good one, of course!)

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

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The Midtown Men…A Well Crafted Evening of Nostalgia

• October 27, 2011 • Comments (0)

By Punch Shaw
Special to DFW.com
Posted 11:24pm on Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2011

(excerpt)

FORT WORTH — Broadway has been proudly wearing its rock ‘n’ roll shoes for several years now, with efforts ranging from a slew of jukebox musicals to Green Day’s ambitious American Idiot.

The Midtown Men, a quartet that emerged from one of those greatest-hits shows, Jersey Boys, came to Bass Hall on Wednesday night to deliver an extremely slick evening of early ’60s rock nostalgia.

With their dark suits, skinny red ties, tight harmonies and highly choreographed dance steps, the group looked a bit like a Kennedy-era version of N’Sync as they smoothly glided through a 90-minute set of early rock immortals from Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons (the band celebrated in Jersey Boys) and a long list of other greats from roughly 1960 through 1966.

The group — Michael Longoria, J. Robert Spencer, Daniel Reichard and Christian Hoff — was at its best with midtempo pop numbers that feature strong harmonies, such as California Dreamin’ and all the tunes in a long Beach Boys medley that started with I Get Around and ended with Sloop John B.  And of course the Four Seasons songs that the group sang on Broadway for years also went over well.  But surprisingly, the best of that bunch was Candy Girl, which they did not perform in Jersey Boys.

Longoria, who had played Valli in the musical, was impressive while imitating a voice that cannot really be imitated.  And in addition to doing more than justice to his Four Seasons numbers and those that do not require falsetto, he also did a brief (but hilarious) impersonation of the actor Joe Pesci.  But Longoria was not the whole show.  All four singers, who were backed by a seven-piece band, took leads at various times and passed their auditions…

…Overall, the show, played before a crowd of about 1,300, had plenty of energy and glowed with a love of its material.  It was a well-crafted evening of nostalgia…

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

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