The Midtown Men in Concert: “a show that ‘lives and breathes'”

• May 17, 2013 • Comments (1)

Midtown Men: ‘Jersey Boys’ Vets Mine ’60s Songbook for Disc, Tour

by Christina Hennessey, the Stamford Advocate


They may not be brothers by blood, but a shared passion clearly courses through the members of the Midtown Men.

“When we left `Jersey Boys,’ we missed it,” said Tony Award-winner Christian Hoff, 45. “We missed being together. We missed singing together. We missed singing the songs of the ’60s. We simply liked being together, and when we got back together, it again erupted.”

The “we” are Hoff, Michael Longoria, Daniel Reichard and Tony Award-nominee J. Robert Spencer, four of the original members of the successful Broadway hit, “Jersey Boys,” a tale of the rise of the 1960s rock ‘n’ roll group the Four Seasons.

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For several years, beginning in 2005, the quartet knew where to find each other nearly every day. Before their runs on the show were over, they had shared the stage more than 1,000 times.

It wasn’t until the four got together some time after they had left the show, and performed at a few reunion concerts, that they realized they were poised to create “a new brand, a new entity and something completely independent of the `Jersey Boys.’ But, we kept the same essence that had brought the `Jersey Boys’ to life.”

So it was that they matured from boys to men and began to search for the songs of the 1960s.

For every Beatles or Beach Boys song, and, yes Four Seasons one, too, Hoff said they searched for songs that might not be as well-known, but that resonated with the group. Previous performances are proof, he said, that the audience gets them, too.

“There are so many gems in this era of music, that it can be hard to fit it all into 90 minutes,” he said of the live performances the group has undertaken for the past three years.

The group is on a 77-city tour that will bring the members to Stamford’s Palace Theatre on Friday, May 17. “We keep digging into this great decade of music.”

The group also has released a debut album, “The Midtown Men: Sixties Hits,” which includes “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “Up on the Roof,” “Time of the Season” and other songs.

Hoff, who has been in theater since he was 8 years old, said being a part of the Midtown Men is an entirely new experience.

“These are four guys who were thrown together from different parts of the country. We are all different ages and yet the chemistry we create on stage is instantaneous,” he said.

An acting veteran and California native, Hoff has performed in many live productions in Los Angeles, New York and across the country. He also can be seen on television, including recent roles on NBC’s “Law and Order” series. His film and television work has included “ER” “Party of Five,” “Star Trek IV” and “Encino Man.”

Early on, Hoff, with the help of his parents, worked hard to keep his career a diverse one.

“I see my career as a pie chart and this is just another piece of the pie,” he said. “I never considered myself one dimensional.”

It meant learning how to sing, how to act and how to play guitar — three skills that have enabled him to be where he is today.

Hoff, who splits his time between New Jersey and San Diego, said he has loved the opportunity the Midtown Men tour has given him to travel across America.

“We get to see the country and light people up all over this country,” he said.

The four singers are backed by a seven-piece band that has been with them from the start.

Given their theatrical backgrounds, the members of Midtown Men take a long look when it comes to fitting a song into the mix.

“We like to find the place in the show where the song fits the art,” Hoff said. “We are storytellers, after all … we like to weave the music into the narrative.”

So get ready for a show that “lives and breathes,” he said. “No two shows are alike.”


Palace Theatre, 61 Atlantic St., Stamford. Friday, May 17, 8 p.m.  203-325-4466

Category: Concerts, Media

Comments (1)

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  1. Lulu Thompson says:

    This is an evening that will not disappoint! How rare to experience a concert where hit song follows hit song, performed by a talented group of men who love to perform…and love to let the audience know that. Great picture, guys, love the background, too.

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