“Good Music Is Good Music” and The Midtown Men Know Good Music

• May 22, 2013 • Comments (0)

Original ‘Jersey Boys’ cast creates nostalgic vibe at Matrix:Midland as the Midtown Men

By Sue White | For MLive.com


MIDLAND, MI – Remember the iconic poster that came out a few years ago, when “Jersey Boys” took Broadway by storm?


“We’re the four guys with their backs to the camera, facing the spotlights,” said J. Robert Spencer, calling about The Midtown Men concert coming Thursday, May 30, to the Matrix:Midland Festival. “I’m the one all the way to the left.”

But that’s just the beginning of what Christian Hoff, Michael Longoria, Daniel Reichard and Spencer bring to the stage today. Sure, they’ll do the Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons songs that put them on the map, but it’s wide open from there, Spencer said, as they explore the music of the ‘60s.

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The Saints and Sinners Lounge opens at 7 p.m., allowing concertgoers to unwind before the show begins at 8 at the Midland Center for the Arts, 1801 W. St. Andrews. Tickets, available at the box office, by calling 800-523-7649 and online at mcfta.org, cost $55, $48 and $38.

“I was born in 1969 but my four older sisters played all these songs and when we would take car rides, Mom and Dad always turned on the classic rock stations,” Spencer said. “I grew up on the Beatles, the Four Seasons, Motown.

“Good music is good music, and the music from the ‘60s proves it. People are still intrigued by it decades later.”

The Four Seasons appealed to blue-collar men and women with music people could relate to, Spencer said, and when he first read the “Jersey Boys” script, “I called my wife and told her this going to be a huge hit.”

And since turning the Broadway production over to a new cast, what was once considered a side-project has led the four men down a new path. Without being pigeon-holed to one style, they intersperse the hits through a night of four friends talking, growing nostalgic, drawing the evening out in the style of Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack.

That nostalgic vibe has the four men constantly on the road, many times performing with some of the country’s most notable symphonies. And in New York City, it led to a recording session last fall with Steven Van Zandt and the E Street Band, and what was named one of the top Christmas songs of the year, the Phil Spector-retro style “All Alone on Christmas.”

“As the saying goes, business is booming,” Spencer said, laughing. “We’ve played to 12 people at private parties to 20,000 people. We’ve had wonderful symphony dates; there’s nothing like performing in front of an 85-piece orchestra.

“We still get phone calls about theater roles so we’re still visible in Broadway’s eye. But we take extreme pride in what we’re doing now.”

And it is Mom and Dad-approved.

“They’ve come out to see the shows I’ve done and they’ve been proud,” Spencer said. “But this time, they were like, ‘Wow, this is huge!’

“We’re very blessed to move forward like this.”

The Midtown Men deliver their hits from “Jersey Boys” and other icons of the ’60s on May 30 with a style reminiscent of Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack.

Category: Concerts, Media

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