The Midtown Men…”Musical Magic”

• May 25, 2014 • Comments (0)

Jersey Boys’ Christian Hoff reveals the musical magic of The Midtown Men

By: Allen Foster, AXS Contributor,

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 about the magic that is The Midtown Men. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.

Category: Christian Hoff, Concerts, Media

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