The Midtown Men … Eclectic, Retro and Dapper

• September 20, 2012 • Comments (0)

‘The Midtown Men’ bring retro sound, style to Rudder Auditorium

By ROB CLARK
theeagle.com / Bryan-College Station, Texas

The core of the original Jersey Boys musical has branched out from the Broadway smash. The Midtown Men puts the performers in a concert setting and adds to their ’60s-era repertoire.

The Midtown Men brings the music and dapper style of the 1960s to the stage, performing hits from The Beatles, The Beach Boys and Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons while decked out in dark suits and skinny ties.

 

The four performers — J. Robert Spencer, Christian Hoff, Michael Longoria and Daniel Reichard — shared the Jersey Boys stage on Broadway for more than 1,000 shows, telling the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. The musical won the 2006 Tony Award for best musical, and the cast recording album won a Grammy.

Along the way, the quartet found interest from corporate and private events, separate from the Broadway stage.

“When we were done doing our three-and-a-half years on Broadway, we continued getting asked to do events,” Spencer says by phone from the group’s van, on the way to a recent Pennsylvania gig. “We just thought there’s a market for this. People know who we are, they know the relevance of who we are and what we originated on Broadway. … It was supposed to be a side gig, and it’s just blossomed organically into this very successful business.

That comes in the form of The Midtown Men, which MSC OPAS presents Thursday and Friday at Rudder Auditorium. It’s not a musical with a storyline, but a concert that features the quartet along with a seven-piece band. The show includes classic songs from the ’60s from such artists as Marvin Gaye, The Beach Boys and The Mamas & the Papas. Spencer describes their take on The Beatles’ Can’t Buy Me Love as a “really cool, very horns-y, Vegas kind of arrangement.”

The singers will be decked out in dapper suits provided by sponsor Hugo Boss, which Spencer says adds to the nostalgic appeal.

“You add that flair to what we grew up being inspired by, not just the music but the presence of the 1960s, the entertainers of that era: Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin. Add that with dressing up in great-looking suits, singing the songs of the ’60s, it really combines an eclectic grouping of what and how we perceive the evening to be for these baby boomers. And for their children that they’re bringing to the shows, and their children’s children.”

For a taste, go to themidtownmen.com to see the group’s video for its cover of The Turtles’ Happy Together. It lands between the Rat Pack sensibility and The Beatles’ Hard Day’s Night silliness, with retro flavor of the era: dark suits, skinny ties, cocktails in hand, even a stickball street scene. Spencer says that vibe continues through The Midtown Men show.

“It’s the feel-good mentality,” Spencer says. “For that bit of time, you’re taken away and having a little bit of freedom from your day, whatever your day consisted of. … [The audience] is taking away really nice imagery of us onstage, and that combined with our love for each other and our love for what we do is very much resonant to how it was back in the ’60s with those iconic stars. They were having a great time as well.”

Details: MSC OPAS presents The Midtown Men, Thursday and Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Rudder Auditorium. $29-$78. 845-1234. opas.tamu.edu.

Category: Media

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