Tag: Michael Longoria
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.
Huge Congratulations to all current and former cast members of this incredible show – most especially our Midtown Men, Christian, Daniel, J. Robert and Michael!!
Oh What A Night Indeed!
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.
I found this great clip of Michael Longoria preparing to participate in the unique endeavor ONE NIGHT STAND and serenading the cast with a recognizable radio hit as part of a group chat session.
The phenomenal backstage documentary ONE NIGHT STAND is now available on DVD and as a digital download and fans have the chance to make their own appearance as part of THE 24 HOUR MUSICALS event thanks to the current contest now available to enter.
Click here for more information on ONE NIGHT STAND.
Category: Michael Longoria
Join host Valerie Smaldone as she gets to know The Midtown Men tonight in NYC.
Valerie Smaldone, radio star and friend to TMM, will delve into Christian, Daniel, Michael and Bobby’s lives – their back stories, inspirations and dreams – in a cozy and intimate setting at 92Y. It is sure to be a fun and informative evening!
Click here for ticket information. Cash Bar.
“When I’m singing up there, I like to describe it as ‘singing on a cloud of air.’ It’s a whole new way to experience classic hits.” Michael Longoria
From ‘Jersey Boys’ to Midtown Men
Stars from the Broadway hit will join the Philly Pops for a benefit concert in Trenton
By Keith Loria
DATE POSTED: Friday, September 26, 2014 (excerpts – click here to visit the CentralJersey.com website and read article in its entirety)
FOUR original stars from Broadway’s smash hit musical Jersey Boys, who call themselves The Midtown Men, will put their harmonies to work in support of the patients and residents of St. Lawrence Rehabilitation Center and Morris Hall, when they take to the stage at the Trenton War Memorial on Sept. 27.
Comprised of Christian Hoff, Michael Longoria, Daniel Reichard, and J. Robert Spencer, The Midtown Men will join the Philly Pops to celebrate the hits from the ’60s era including tunes by the Beatles, The Beach Boys, Motown, The Four Seasons, and more.
“It’s pretty cool, because now you can hear these great songs played with a symphony and the audience really gets levitated with all those instruments,” Mr. Longoria says. “When I’m singing up there, I like to describe it as ‘singing on a cloud of air.’ It’s a whole new way to experience classic hits.”
While The Midtown Men do sing many of the songs from Jersey Boys, they also incorporate a great deal of other hits from the decade.
“They are pretty much songs that everyone knows the music to,” Mr. Longoria says. “With that era, even 8-year-old kids are singing along. All of them tell such a great story of human nature and those ’60s licks were so catchy, it’s really easy to catch on to those songs and sing along.”
Mr. Longoria admits that anytime they sing in New Jersey, it’s a special treat.
“There’s no audience like a Jersey audience. It’s like coming home and singing for your family,” he says. “When we opened on Broadway, NewJersey 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.”
The concert will be followed by a reception with Conductor Krajewski and The Midtown Men in the ballroom of the War Memorial for patrons and sponsors.
The concert is being held to benefit the patients and residents of St. Lawrence Rehabilitation Center and Morris Hall. These facilities consist of St. Mary’s Assisted Living, Grace Garden Memory Care and St. Joseph’s Skilled Nursing Center.
“Now, I can approach all these great Frankie Valli songs and sing them in a whole new way, and that’s been a great adventure and challenge for me,” he says. “The night’s going to be a great deal of fun and we look forward to seeing everyone come out and join us for a great cause.”
The Philly Pops featuring the Midtown Men will perform at Patriots Theatre at the War Memorial, Sept. 27, 7:30 p.m. Click here for tickets, or call 215-893-1999
Been needing a Midtown Men fix? Well, if you’re in Manhattan next week, you can get one quarter satisfaction!
On May 15th, Michael Longoria is performing a FREE concert at HARDWARE BAR in Midtown Manhattan @ 9pm. He’ll be singing a contemporary pop set and debuting some new songs he’s been writing! Michael will also be singing a duet with the amazing KELLY KING who will be his guest vocalist.
Hardware Bar is located at 697 Tenth Ave in New York City.
MICHAEL LONGORIA LIVE IN CONCERT AT HARDWARE BAR
WEDNESDAY MAY 15th @ 9PM NO COVER
Category: Michael Longoria