Daniel Reichard took some time to tell Patrick Mares (of the Scene – Northeast Wisconsin’s monthly arts and entertainment newspaper) how The Midtown Men got where they are today and why it’s worth your time to check them out when they swing by the Green Bay Weidner Center on October 27.
Here is an excerpt from that interview:
SCENE: Give us a pitch. Tell us why our readers need a little Midtown Men in their lives.
Daniel R: I look out over our audiences every day. And I’ve seen them transform over the course of an evening. I see their bodies change and their faces change and their expressions light up. Our show is a nice escape from the tough world these days. You’re going to hear a broad range of songs, so it’s a full course meal as far as music from the 1960’s. We like to think of ourselves as striving to be a modern day Rat Pack. Guys that dress up in nice suits, goof around a lot, but when it comes time to sing, we really give it all we’ve got. And that’s what people can expect. It’s an old-fashioned show business experience.
Click here to read the article in its entirety (and find out which Scooby Doo character Daniel assigned to each of them!)
Christian Hoff Returns To Stage
By Diane Bell, UT San Diego, MARCH 2, 2015
Actor Christian Hoff returns to the San Diego stage this weekend. The star of the original Broadway “Jersey Boys” and his Midtown Men quartet will perform with the San Diego Symphony Friday and Saturday.
Although a Broadway performer, Hoff never truly left San Diego. He and his wife, Melissa, and their five kids, ages 3 to 19, still reside on a ranch in Valley Center where they cultivate a vineyard of Grenache grapes.
He has also appeared in appeared in TV’s “Law & Order” and “Ugly Betty” series since winning his 2006 Tony Award for best actor in a musical.
Hoff plans to bring his intensive audition workshop to San Diego later this month, and is mulling the creation of an annual event here every September that supports local arts, food and wine.
“We all kind of feel like this is what we’re called to do. That’s what’s keeping us from going back too soon to Broadway.” Christian Hoff
The Midtown Men’s Christian Hoff: ‘San Diego feels right’
Vocal group back in San Diego for two-night engagement with San Diego Symphony
By Michael James Rocha, The San Diego Union Tribune, MARCH 1, 2015
After doing five Florida shows in six days — Boca Raton, Clearwater, Orlando, Jacksonville and Fort Pierce — Christian Hoff was finally back on home turf.
“Hi Michael, I literally just touched down in San Diego,” says Hoff, the Tony Award-winning actor who calls Valley Center home. “Can you call me back in five, six minutes?”
Hoff, who earned the best featured actor in a musical Tony in 2006 for his portrayal of Tommy DeVito in the La Jolla Playhouse-bred “Jersey Boys,” deserves five minutes, if not six. He’s been busy.
He’s currently on the fifth national tour of The Midtown Men, a quartet comprised of four stars from the original Broadway cast of “Jersey Boys.” The Midtown Men, which is not affiliated with “Jersey Boys,” perform hits from the 1960s, and on this current tour, are bringing their vocal harmonies to symphony halls and performing arts centers across the country. Hoff will be joined Friday by fellow performers Michael Longoria, Daniel Reichard and J. Robert Spencer for a two-night engagement at Jacobs Music Center as part of the San Diego Symphony’s City Lights Series.
Performing in San Diego — they were last here in the summer at Moonlight Amphitheater — is special but surreal “because it’s sort of like singing for grandma, except grandma just happens to be a big Broadway producer.”
That’s a nod to the caliber of San Diego’s theatrical landscape: “My two Broadway experiences started in San Diego. There’s a sense of homegrown excellence — with the Old Globe, the La Jolla Playhouse. This is a testament to what a great arts community San Diego is. San Diego is like the unsung hero of excellence in many aspects — technology, biotech, research — and certainly for me, as an artist, San Diego feels right. Even though I’m on the road a lot, San Diego is always the epicenter. It just feels right.”
What feels right, too, is the material they get to work with as part of The Midtown Men: “The great thing about the material is how it connects with the audience. With pop music, in this case from the 1960s, we could have something that’s superficial — songs that we just sing and perform.
“But we’ve found there’s deep roots in this music, and it’s not just generational or regional — the roots of this music are across all lines. This is a borderless entity that we have entered into, and it never ceases to amaze. Five years into this tour and 10 years into singing together, every night on the stage feels fresh and new … because of how we are connecting with the music and how our band connects with the music and especially how the audience is connecting with the music.”
The rigorous touring schedule — they’ve performed more than 400 shows since the tour began — sounds taxing, but “you learn how to get into that mindset, physically and emotionally. We learned that on Broadway. It takes a lot of passion and love to do what we do, and we all love it. Being on stage … it’s playtime for us.”
Being off stage, he adds, is “like a reunion. We have a tradition of going out and meeting the audience after each show, and time and time again, we meet people who saw us when we were on ‘Jersey Boys.’ They’re bringing us photos and programs from the show. They’re like family.”
Besides his actual family in San Diego — his wife and their five children — Hoff says the local theater community also holds a special place in his heart.
His first theatrical experience — at the age of 8 in San Diego Junior Theater’s “Cinderella” — “made who I am today a possibility. I didn’t even know that being an actor was something I could be. I thought I was going to play baseball. A team. A coach. Practice. That was my reality. But I stepped into theater and saw something similar: A field, the stage. A coach, there’s my director. The role, it was like playing shortstop. The applause, it was like hitting a homerun. I went from this shy kid who didn’t (know) he could do it to someone who suddenly has a new calling, and it just took off from there.”
Besides “Jersey Boys,” his list of accomplishments is long: dancing with Shirley MacLaine, voicing Richie Rich for several years and many theatrical roles, including that of Pinball Lad on “The Who’s Tommy,” another Tony Award-winning musical that traces its roots to the La Jolla Playhouse (it was directed by Des McAnuff, who also helmed “Jersey Boys”).
Will there be a sixth tour for The Midtown Men?
“We all kind of feel like this is what we’re called to do,” Hoff says. “That’s what’s keeping us from going back too soon to Broadway.”
With a chuckle, he adds: “We’re booking into 2016. We can’t kill this thing.”
San Diego Symphony presents The Midtown Men
With: Todd Ellison, conductor. The Midtown Men: Christian Hoff, Michael Longoria, Daniel Reichard, J. Robert Spencer
When: 8 p.m. Friday, March 6, and Saturday, March 7
Where: Jacobs Music Center’s Copley Symphony Hall, 750 B St., downtown
Phone: (619) 235-0804
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.
Christian Hoff Of The Midtown Men Talks Bringing Music of The ’60s & Happy Times To Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City
by jmarmo, atlantic city blog
If you love the upbeat music of the ’60s, you totally loved Jersey Boys, and if you love Jersey Boys, you’re sure to love The Midtown Men! And if you’ve never seen Jersey Boys, you’ll still love The Midtown Men. Who are these mysterious dudes? The original Broadway cast of Jersey Boys! Christian Hoff, Michael Longoria, Daniel Reichard, and J. Robert Spencer. These guys had such a dynamite on-stage connection that they decided to keep it going in a slightly different capacity after their Broadway run came to an end! If it’s not broke, don’t fix it, right? The Midtown Men take the Four Seasons songs made even more popular in Jersey Boys and more hits from the ’60s to tell the real story of Hoff, Longoria, Reichard and Spencer. And they give the audience a killer time while doing it. Lucky for you, you could be one of these audience members because they are coming to Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City this Saturday!
We chatted with the group’s Christian Hoff about all this and more! Read the interview, below.
TAC: How did your big break for Jersey Boys come about?
Christian Hoff: I knew the director, Des McAnuff, back from the “Tommy days” on Broadway. He was trying to track me down and had me in mind for this role of Tommy DeVito in Jersey Boys before it was even written. He finally found me because I was kind of laying low and he got me back in the racket. He told me that he had a show that he wanted me to do and that I’d be perfect for it. He wanted to know if I wanted to go back to Broadway. I told him if he wanted me to do it, I would take it all the way and we certainly did that. It was basically all the way to the Super Bowl. That Tony Award is my Super Bowl ring.
TAC: We were just going to ask about that Tony Award! How has it changed your life? (click “Read Post” below to read interview in its entirety)
”We want to make everybody really live in the moment and celebrate this great music whether in their seats or on their feet” (Daniel Reichard)
Top Entertainment Set for Area Galas:
… McCarter Theatre … ready for … big night
DATE POSTED (centraljersey.com): Wednesday, May 8, 2013
By Keith Loria
Saturday, May 18, McCarter Theatre will be holding its annual gala with special guests, The Midtown Men, in a night labeled, Oh What a Night! Comprising four of the original Jersey Boys from Broadway — Christian Hoff, Michael Longoria, Daniel Reichard, and J. Robert Spencer — The Midtown Men perform hits from the ‘60s era, including tunes by the Beatles, The Beach Boys, Motown, The Four Seasons, and more.
”For us, these concerts in New Jersey are like coming home and singing for your family,” Mr. Reichard says. “When we opened on Broadway, New Jersey was such a full force of making ‘Jersey Boys’ the blockbuster that it was. The people there have always been so connected to Broadway but when ‘Jersey Boys’ opened, it became the crown jewel of the community and gave them some serious Jersey pride.”
(click “Read Post” to view post in its entirety)
‘Boys’ become men: Stars of Broadway’s ‘Jersey Boys’ make stop at Cultural Center as Midtown Men
BY CAITLIN HEANEY (STAFF WRITER), The Scranton Times-Tribune
Published: January 7, 2013
The magic started on the Broadway stage.
With each note Michael Longoria, Christian Hoff, Daniel Reichard and J. Robert Spencer hit, they enchanted audiences night after night in the musical phenomenon that was “Jersey Boys.”
They mastered the music of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons in that Tony Award-winning show, but the foursome soon discovered that wasn’t the only music upon which they could cast their spell. And now, shedding their “Jersey” alter-egos and performing together as the group The Midtown Men, they sing some of the 1960s’ most beloved songs.
“We’re getting to see the nation through the music, and that’s … a gift,” Mr. Longoria said by phone recently from New York City, where he lives.
And now it is Scranton’s turn to experience the Midtown Men, as Broadway Theatre League of Northeastern Pennsylvania presents five performances from Friday, Jan. 18, to Sunday, Jan. 20, at Scranton Cultural Center at The Masonic Temple. Audiences will hear not only songs by bands like the Beach Boys, the Beatles and Motown groups but also, of course, some Four Seasons favorites.
“‘Jersey Boys’ songs kind of made us who we are,” Mr. Longoria said. “That music in the Four Seasons really bonded us in a way that is unimaginable.”
Like many performers, Mr. Longoria’s interest in music and theater began as a child. Growing up in Hollywood, Calif., with a mother who was a singer and a father and brother who were especially comedic, he said, “music was always around.”
“My mom tells me that I was singing before I could form sentences,” Mr. Longoria said. “There’s pictures of me literally in diapers on a piano bench poking away at piano keys. It was just always around.”
After graduating from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts with a bachelor’s degree in drama – and after his first professional gig, as lead singer in the show “Dance, Dance, Dance at the Jump Joint” at Hersheypark – Mr. Longoria made his Broadway debut in the hit musical “Hairspray” with the legendary Harvey Fierstein.
“It’s never as scary as the first night,” Mr. Longoria recalled. “It was an amazing experience. … I also got to experience that rocking vibe of that success. That was kind of a blessing.”
Mr. Longoria left “Hairspray” after two years, and his next appearance on the Broadway stage came in 2005 when he originated the role of Joey in “Jersey Boys,” that tells the story of the Four Seasons’ success. He eventually took over the role of Frankie Valli.
“It was very beneficial to have all that YouTube footage and movie clips of everything that they had ever done,” Mr. Longoria said, adding how he then could hear how the original Four Seasons spoke and observe their tics. “And then, of course, once you kind of get all of that saturated in your head, you stand up and let it influence you. You don’t necessarily … mimic it.”
The real Mr. Valli even became a mentor to him.
“He gave me some great advice about the business,” Mr. Longoria said. “He was always very open to that kind of communication.”
So the world in which the Four Seasons lived could influence him, Mr. Longoria would warm up for shows by singing along to the music of other 1960s groups backstage. His castmates started coming over and joining him in song, and, after they were asked to perform at journalist Katie Couric’s birthday party, Mr. Longoria said, the Midtown Men were born.
“(The party) gave us an excuse to actually rehearse a number, and before we knew it, we had a whole set list,” he said.
While the singers have had other jobs since their stints in “Jersey Boys” ended, they have spent the last few years touring the country as the Midtown Men and sharing their music with towns that don’t always get to welcome Broadway tours.
“I love hearing the reaction when we sing ‘Big Girls Don’t Cry’ and ‘Sherry,’” Mr. Longoria said. “They don’t expect somebody literally being able to sing live in this crazy, high falsetto range.”
The Midtown Men have put out an album, released the single “All Alone on Christmas” this past holiday, appeared on numerous television shows and sang at December’s National Christmas Tree Lighting. Performing as the Midtown Men gives them a chance to show not the tough personalities they portrayed on stage in “Jersey Boys” but rather their true selves, Mr. Longoria pointed out.
“We’re like this new version of the Rat Pack,” he said. “We’re constantly jabbing at each other. We’re making jokes. We’re dancing our little tushes off. You get to know what we’re really like as people.”
What: Broadway Theatre League of Northeastern Pennsylvania presents Midtown Men
When: Friday, Jan. 18, 8 p.m.; Saturday, Jan. 19, 2 and 8 p.m.; and Sunday, Jan. 20, 1 and 6 p.m.
Where: Scranton Cultural Center at The Masonic Temple, 420 N. Washington Ave.
Details: Tickets are $39, $49 and $59 and are available at the box office, over the phone at 342-7784 or online at www.ticketmaster.com.
This AWESOME, all-encompasing interview appeared on the CALL ME ADAM blog. Everything you ever wanted to know about The Midtown Men…and then some!
1. Who or what inspired you to become performers?
J. Robert Spencer: Steve Martin and Johnny Carson were actually a big influence on me as far as comedians and as entertainers. I wanted to do what they were doing. Making people laugh and have a good time. Now I get to do that along with my other love, which is 60′s Rock And Roll.
Christian Hoff: I remember being kinda shy but having a great imagination and loved to pretend and loved music. I also loved being physical. I loved sports and riding my bike and running around and singing and dancing. When I got onstage for the first time and found that I could have all those things and be a storyteller too…I was hooked. I started pursuing every opportunity I could find to just do it. A reluctant but unwavering ham.
Michael Longoria: My mom sang in a band when I was growing up, so it started there watching those late night rehearsals. After that, Ritchie Valenz. The first song I ever sang for a public audience was “Oh Donna.”
Daniel Reichard: My first (and truest) idol that inspired me to do what I do (the way that I like to do it) was Steve Martin. I loved movies like The Jerk and Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid. Most especially, I would watch his appearances on Saturday Night Live, and his television specials. His work as a comic actor, especially in the 70s and 80s, was exceptional…He was dashing but the joke was always on him.
2. Who haven’t you worked with that you would like to?
J. Robert Spencer: I would love to do a play one day with Jeff Daniels.
Christian Hoff: Christopher Nolan as a director would be a great opportunity to couple a real life perspective with larger than life circumstances. Something I have always been drawn to as a person and an actor.
Michael Longoria: Stephen Sondheim…I’ve always been a huge fan of his work. Stephen, write me a song will ya???
Daniel Reichard: I love great directors…I’ve worked with a few–George C. Wolfe, Des McAnuff, among others. I would love to work with Susan Stroman and Graziella Danielle, among others.
3. You all starred in “Jersey Boys” together on Broadway, which I was fortunate enough to see. Looking back, what was the best part about starring together in this show?
J. Robert Spencer: Being able to say that we are a part of history by being one of the Original Stars, forevermore, in one of the biggest hits of all time!
Christian Hoff: The experience of having a character tailored to you was incomparable. Your essence and timing and inflection stamped forever in a script as brilliant as it is raw, like Marshall Brickman and Rick Elices. Having your performance shape a legendary production and then be recognized for your contribution, unforgettable and glorious. We all like to be liked and seek to be somehow indispensable in our lives and work. Now the molds they made with us are allowing other actors to explore themselves in our shoes, much like I did filling the shoes of the one and only Tommy DeVito.
Michael Longoria: Knowing that the four of us had each other at every moment. I never felt lost on the journey of the play cause the connection was so raw and real.
Daniel Reichard: Oh wow, there is so much to think about here. We were very lucky to grow together and discover both good and bad realities of show business in the center of this huge Broadway success. I did JERSEY BOYS for two years and three months, and it felt like we were the toast of the town the entire time. With that success came sacrifices and rewards, and we got to experience all of those things together.
3a. What made you want to continue on as The Midtown Men?
J. Robert Spencer: Being our own bosses, and running things our way!
Christian Hoff: A sublime addiction to the power of mixing dynamic personalities, sound and storytelling like we learned to do together led me back to the guys and our ability to do what we love most, entertain and share something great with each other and our audiences. The entertainers’ life, lived out to the fullest.
Michael Longoria: We continued getting requests to sing together and it felt good to keep the magic we created together in Jersey Boys going, especially with our debut album as The Midtown Men. We wanted to show what our sound could do on songs recorded by the other pop groups that sang in the same era as the group we portrayed on stage.
Daniel Reichard: Now it’s very similar with The Midtown Men; we are going on the rocket ride together all over again. We spend time away from our friends and family, we meet incredible fans, we do exciting shows, and we are STILL learning so much.
3b. How has your relationship strengthened over the years?
J. Robert Spencer: On Broadway you have separate dressing rooms to hide in IF you’re annoyed at one of your cast mates. When you’re side by side on the road as much as we are, you can’t hide and if you are having an issue with anyone on the team, you have to Man up, speak your mind, and try to do it as respectfully as sensitively as you can. Honesty is the only key to success and a stress free environment and we’ve all been really good at balancing that…and it’s made us stronger.
Christian Hoff: Our relationship has strengthened in love and commitment. It’s sort of like a family business whose success and sacrifice refines the bond and raises the stakes.
Michael Longoria: I think we know each other very well. We share hundreds of stages across America and every audience that come to see us sing leave knowing our friendship. That comes from being stuck on a 5 hr road trip to the next city!
Daniel Reichard: Our relationship strengthens every week…We thought we knew each other THEN, but boy do we know each other now. We have a brotherhood, and with all we have been through together, it is a sacred connection between us.
4. You’ve recently released your debut album as “The Midtown Men” called “Sixties Hits.” What excites you about this release?
J. Robert Spencer: That we did it our way all the way!
Christian Hoff: The music from our live show that made the album was distilled down through politics and passion. We wanted to capture the love and respect we have for one another and this incredible decade of music and give people a way to take the excitement and energy home with them.
Michael Longoria: That people get to hear us sing outside the box of being a character. In Jersey Boys I let Frankie Valli’s recordings and his video taped performances influence how I used my voice to portray his life and music…with the album I get to sing these songs how I would approach them. We get to reinvent them a little and spread it to groups like the Mamas and Papas.
Daniel Reichard: Well, this album really reflects our first year and a half on the road. It is a time capsule for this period of our lives. We had just enough time to record some of the highlights of our show in the midst of a busy touring schedule. Most importantly, we funded, produced, distributed, and conceived this album ourselves. We love how we show what “The Midtown Men Sound” is…I always say, it’s great driving, treadmill, and making dinner music.
4b. What is it about this time in music that made you want to keep on singing it?
J. Robert Spencer: Because this era of music is universal and timeless.
Christian Hoff: No other decade of music has captured machismo and vulnerability like the Sixties did. It is dream to bring it to live every time we step up to the mic.
Michael Longoria: The men at that time really knew how to bare their souls on a song. I learn a lot from listening to those recordings, many of them done on a few takes.
5. What do you enjoy most about traveling the country on tour?
J. Robert Spencer: I love seeing America. I love meeting the people. I love playing these historic venues.
Christian Hoff: I enjoy the people.
Michael Longoria: Dominos Pizza!
Daniel Reichard: We have played big cities, small towns, and everything in between. It’s been fascinating to get a comprehensive tour of our country. We have played cities I would never have imagined visiting –Galveston, TX, Lafayette, LA, Cedar Rapids, IA and dozens and dozens of other cities and towns. I have loved gaining a broader perspective of the country. We are a little sheltered, a little “inside a bubble” in NYC, and it’s been refreshing. The fact that we get unanimous ovations at the end of our shows no matter where we are tells me are still in the game. We sign every autograph and take every picture after every show–It sometimes takes over an hour, but it is worth it. It is our way of thanking our audiences.
5a. What do you hope audiences come away with after attending your concerts?
J. Robert Spencer: A big smile.
Christian Hoff: A shared experience that is unforgettable and unique.
Michael Longoria: Joy, memories, and a soar throat!
Daniel Reichard: We are giving it our all, and our audiences give us their energy back.
J. Robert Spencer: To originally start as 4 guys around a piano…to 4 guys with an 85 piece orchestra backing them?!? We were SO thrilled! Top of the world!
Christian Hoff: It was like wearing a new suit, with a vintage tie.
Michael Longoria: Huge accomplishment as performers, singers, entrepreneurs, and best friends.
Daniel Reichard: The Houston Symphony was PHENOMENAL. What a milestone for us. We were blown away by Jones Hall, and the 85 talented musicians that backed us onstage. It was surreal but it felt right. The response was exciting and sincere. We have symphony performances ahead of us in Atlanta, Los Angeles, and Omaha.
7. You also made an appearance on Good Morning America this summer. What did you enjoy most about that?
J. Robert Spencer: Showing off The Midtown Men to millions of viewers! Also, the energy, excitement, and love for what we do and what we have accomplished as artists!
Christian Hoff: We reached 4.5 million new fans in an hour and had a blast just doing our thing.
Michael Longoria: Getting introduced to the nation as the Midtown Men.
Daniel Reichard: Again, Good Morning America was a milestone. It was great being on the Today Show when we were in JERSEY BOYS, but this felt so much more gratifying because the four of us, with our incredible team, got us to this occasion. We were on a ton that morning, and it was a great adventure.
J. Robert Spencer: That being a performer is where I am most comfortable.
Christian Hoff: Humility and pride are both necessary. You must be strong willed and teachable at the same time.
Michael Longoria: How to maintain the gift in the hardest of circumstances and the coldest and driest of climates. The show must always go on.
Daniel Reichard: You learn that our friendships are like our performances. You have to give effort and you have to learn to receive thanks. You have to be quiet and still sometimes, and other times you have to take the lead. You have to respect your audience and you have to respect your colleagues.
9. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
J. Robert Spencer: Whiskey and beer never fear…beer and whiskey now that’s risky!
Christian Hoff: Be yourself.
Michael Longoria: Don’t push. And don’t tank up on air…thanks Joan Lader
Daniel Reichard: See this opportunity through!
10. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be?
J. Robert Spencer: It would be wonderful to dream and visit with my great, great, great, great, grandfather and grandmother.
Christian Hoff: God.
Michael Longoria: My honey boo boo child.
Daniel Reichard: It would probably be Call Me, Adam
11. Favorite way to spend your day off?
J. Robert Spencer: With my family.
Christian Hoff: Watching the kids play outside, my wife and I watching and sharing a drink and something good to eat.
Michael Longoria: Rosa Mexicano.
Daniel Reichard: I love walking my French Bulldog, Boscoe, through my neighborhood in downtown Manhattan, stopping into shops, and drinking iced lattes.
J. Robert Spencer: Stretching on yoga ball.
Christian Hoff: Crossfit.
Michael Longoria: Not going to Rosa Mexicano
Daniel Reichard: You gotta mix it up. I love lifting weights, doing sprints on the treadmill or bike, and when I’m really strong, I swim laps.
13. Boxers or Briefs?
J. Robert Spencer: Hugo Boss Briefs!
Christian Hoff: Calvin Klein Boxer-Briefs.
Michael Longoria: It depends on how hot the party after the show is
Daniel Reichard: Briefs. There’s no choice. That’s the way it needs to be.
14. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose?
J. Robert Spencer: To FLY!
Christian Hoff: Healing Factor like Wolverine or Jesus.
Michael Longoria: Flying.
Daniel Reichard: To fly, because I’m getting so sick of sitting on planes.
Click here to visit the Call Me Adam website to read complete bios of The Men.
‘Jersey Boys’ into ‘The Midtown Men,’ that is.”
Article by Bruce Miller, Sioux City Journal
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.