Midtown Men… Ready to take the Weidner by Storm

MIDTOWNMEN_3BY Patrick Mares

The Midtown Men have been crooning 60’s hits since they met in Broadway’s hit, Jersey Boys, a dramatic reenactment of the history of the band The Four Seasons. But these boys are men now, and in the 10 years they’ve been singing together they’ve grown as an act, and as a team.

Founding member Daniel Reichard took some time to tell us how they 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, October 27.

SCENE: Were you immediately sure you wanted to continue with the same style of music after leaving Jersey Boys?

Daniel Reichard: Who knew?  It’s so funny.  We all left Jersey Boys at different times and we all went on to do other things.  And before we started doing the tour together we were singing together outside the theater when we were in the show, singing other songs from the 60’s.  That’s how the group started.  After we left the show people kept asking us to sing for them.  So we would go to a big gala or fundraiser, or we’d play in Atlantic City. It just kind of kept going.  There’s this desire for people to hear us sing this kind of music, so the opportunity kind of chose us.  

SCENE: After we were out of the show for a couple years, you decided to give it a try?

DR: To see what it’s like to live the life of a rock and roll band, yes.  We started touring in 2010, and we haven’t looked back.  Jersey Boys had been such a life-changing experience for all of us, but I don’t think I’ve ever been so proud of a success that I’ve had as I’ve realized during this run as The Midtown Men, because we’ve done it ourselves.  We put a lot of our determination, our ambition, into this project.  And now we’ve done over 450 concerts together.  We’ve played with some 29 symphonies. It’s one of those stories like when a group of people gets together and they say, what’s our dream?  Well our dream is to tour like a rock and roll band, and tell our story, and share our friendship with our country.  Actually making it happen it’s such a satisfying feeling.  

SCENE: You have to love that era of music.

DR: The catalog of the 1960’s music scene is so fascinating, so diverse.  We’re always considering new songs to put in the show. It’s not about Jersey Boys. It’s about the four of us, our connection to each other and to the music.

SCENE: Now that you are your own bosses have you found you have more time to work on side projects or spend time with family?

DR: Our touring season is like a school year, from September to June, and summer months off.  

And then I do shows on my own, singing the standards in New York City, and I also do my own Christmas thing every year where all the proceeds go to different charities. The commitment of being on the road makes it very hard to do anything but small projects.  But those projects are inspiring, and kind of creative while you’re touring.

SCENE: After your run with the Jersey Boys, you all went your separate ways. How did you reconnect?

DR: What was so amazing about the success and the outreach of the show was we were still getting asked to come back together and sing at a Red Cross Benefit, or we’d sing at a celebrity’s birthday party.  And after a while, we kind of accidentally put a show together. We’d tell all these stories.  We’d have all these great songs by the Beatles and the Drifters, and the Turtles, the Mama’s and the Papa’s, Buffalo Springfield, the Zombies. In early 2010 I called everyone and said, “All right, we’re going to hire an agent, we’re going to see if we can get this moving.”  The second year I think we doubled the amount of concerts we booked.

SCENE: How have you developed as a group over the last decade?

DR:  First of all when we’re on stage together it’s like home.  It is such a feeling of familiarity and comfort for all of us.  It’s just who we are now.  Being next to each other on stage and being a team is something that feels good to us.  I think a lot of the stress of starting a business has subsided because we’ve been doing it for a while.  We all decide and agree on what shows to do, what shows not to do, what we’re going to wear, what songs we’re going to sing.

SCENE: Do you assume roles not just on stage, but behind the scenes?

DR: It’s so funny because we choreograph everything together.  We do all the arrangements together.  We’re total control freaks about the show.  We have an amazing arranger named Jessie Bargas.  But overall, we just like to have the true ownership of everything, so we want to take responsibility for almost everything we do, even the artwork and posters.

midtownmen_CD_CoverSCENE:  If you had to choose a character from Scooby Doo for each of the four of you, who would you choose and why?

DR: Robert would be Shaggy because he’s super-fast.  I would be Fred, because I’m the most stylish.  Michael would be Velma, that’s what I want to say, because he’s the short one.  And Christian is Scooby, because that just makes me laugh.

SCENE: At least no one ended up as Scrappy Doo.

DR: Oh no. That’s who Mike would be, Scrappy!

SCENE: Give us a pitch. Tell us why our readers need a little Midtown Men in their lives.

DR: 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.

SCENE: You tell stories on stage?

DR: Yes, and the stories change.  But a lot of them are memories from Jersey Boy-things that happened backstage while we were on Broadway, or things that fans have said to us when we were signing autographs after the show.  It’s basically little vignettes about what our experience as showmen together is like.  We like to make fun of ourselves basically. Ourselves and one another.

As original cast members of Broadway’s Jersey Boys, they took the world by storm. From the development of Jersey Boys, through their historic Three season run on Broadway, THE MIDTOWN MEN are together again, doing what they do best: “Sixties Hits With A Modern Twist.” Tony Award winner Christian Hoff, Michael Longoria, Daniel Reichard and Tony Award nominee J. Robert Spencer are taking their sensational sound on the road, bringing to life their favorite “Sixties Hits” from The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Motown, The Four Seasons and more.

THE MIDTOWN MEN are lifting audiences to their feet in venues across the continent, realizing the dream they brought to life as the iconic Four Seasons. THE MIDTOWN MEN is the next chapter for these accomplished entertainers, making them the first vocal group ever formed by the principal cast of a high-profile Broadway show.

Not only have they continued to win over audiences of all ages in nearly 2,000 live shows, their self-titled debut album, THE MIDTOWN MEN: Sixties Hits was met with critical acclaim and garnered 5 star album reviews across iTunes. The album was recorded in New York City and features the group performing such iconic ‘60s hits as, “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “Up On The Roof,” “Time Of The Season,” “Candy Girl” and more. They also recorded their first radio single “All Alone On Christmas” with producer Steven Van Zandt and members of Springsteen’s E Street Band with appearances on Good Morning America, Katie, The Chew and Access Hollywood Live.

HOFF-4114_SQChristian Hoff is thrilled to reunite with The Midtown Men. He won a Tony Award for his performance as Tommy DeVito in “Jersey Boys”, as well as Drama Desk Award, Drama League Award and Outer Critics Circle Award nominations. He was named “The Master of Mimicry” by Entertainment Weekly when his voicing of over 200 characters surpassed the audio book world record and was named Audio Book of The Year. His voice-over career was launched as the voice of Richie Rich in the Hanna-Barbera cartoon series. Favorite stage roles include King Herod in the national revival tour of “Jesus Christ Superstar,” Governor Hugh Dorsey in the Los Angeles revival of “Parade,” the Original LA cast of “Evita,” George M. Cohan in “George M!,” Will Rogers in “The Will Rogers Follies,” Huck in “Big River,” and his Broadway debut in the Tony Award winning “The Who’s Tommy.” He recorded Grammy winning cast albums for both “Jersey Boys” and “The Who’s Tommy” with famed Beatles producer George Martin. Christian has appeared on NBC’s “Law & Order: SVU,” portrayed D.A. Richard Blackman on ABC’s “Ugly Betty,” federal prosecutor Thomas Grady on NBC’s “Law and Order: Criminal Intent” and the recurring role of Marty on ABC’s “All My Children.” Other credits: “Encino Man,” “Star Trek IV,” “Honor Thy Mother,” “In Love and War,” “From The Dead of Night,” “Rockadoodle,” “21 Jump Street,” “ER,” “JAG,” “Party of Five,” “Millennium,” “The Commish,” “Beverly Hills 90210,″ and celebrity guest appearances on “The Tonight Show,” “The Today Show,” “Regis,” “The Late Show,” “Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Years Eve” and “Jeopardy.” In the acclaimed festival film “Bad Dog and Superhero,” Christian sings and performs the entire original film score. He has enjoyed solo performances in New York City’s Cutting Room, Joe’s Pub, Metropolitan Room, BB Kings, Town Hall as well as two appearances at Carnegie Hall. Christian is a proud husband and father of five.

REICHARD-4216_SQDaniel Reichard is honored to join musical forces once again with The Midtown Men. Daniel, a native of Cleveland, Ohio, is best known for his portrayal of chief songwriter and original Four Seasons member Bob Gaudio in the box-office smash “Jersey Boys”, a role he originated both on Broadway and in the La Jolla Playhouse premiere along with colleagues Christian Hoff and J. Robert Spencer. He followed the success of “Jersey Boys” with a critically acclaimed performance as Candide in Leonard Bernstein’s “Candide” at the New York City Opera. After graduating with a BFA from the University of Michigan, Daniel made his New York City debut with the original cast of the world-famous “Forbidden Broadway: 20th Anniversary Celebration”. His signature style and talent paved the way to starring roles in New York City and across the country, including his triumphant portrayal of artist and social activist Keith Haring in “Radiant Baby” at Joe Papp’s Public Theater; Man in “The Thing About Men,” whose original cast album he also appears on; and Emmet in the world premiere of the musical version of Jim Henson’s “Emmet Otter’s Jugband Christmas” at the Goodspeed Opera House. A gifted pianist and concert singer, Daniel has had sold-out engagements at New York City’s Joe’s Pub, Metropolitan Room, Ars Nova and repeat appearances at 54 Below. Other concert appearances include Symphony Space, The Alvin Ailey Citigroup Theater, BB Kings, Town Hall, Triad Theater, Firebird and the Cutting Room, as well as guest appearances with the Arkansas and Grand Rapids Symphonies. He can be seen as Frankie in the 20th anniversary film version of the international hit musical-comedy “Forever Plaid.”

LONGORIA-4166_SQMichael Longoria is proud to be joining his fellow Broadway colleagues as The Midtown Men. Michael is best known for his celebrated turn on Broadway as Frankie Valli in the Tony Award Winning musical “Jersey Boys.” Hollywood born and Broadway bound, Longoria trained at the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, then headed east to attend NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, where he earned himself a BFA in Drama. Michael made his Broadway debut in the smash hit musical “Hairspray” (2003 Tony award for Best Musical), later creating the role of Joey in the original Broadway cast of “Jersey Boys” (2006 Tony award for Best Musical) before taking over the role of Frankie Valli and taking his career to new heights beginning with performing solo for hundreds of thousands of fans in Times Square for Broadway On Broadway. He went on to numerous performances on television, including “Broadway Under The Stars: A Tribute To Harold Prince”, The US Open and the “America’s Got Talent”, season nine finale with Susan Boyle and Shakira. His journey recently led him back to Atlantic City with feature performance in “That’s Life! with Joe Piscopo” at Caesar’s. Other theatrical credits include Peter Pan in “Peter Pan & Wendy” at the Prince Music Theater, for which he earned a Barrymore Award nomination for Best Actor in a musical; Chino in “West Side Story” at the Walnut Street Theatre; Mark in “A Chorus Line” at Helen Hayes Performing Arts Center; and Chuck in “Avenue X” at the Abe Burrows Theater. In Europe, he performed the role of Paul in the German Tour of “A Chorus Line”, and Baby John in “West Side Story” at the famed Teatro alla Scala-Milan. As a singer-songwriter, Longoria has shared his one of a kind talent at such venues as New York City’s CB’s Gallery, Cutting Room, Joe’s Pub, The Knitting Factory, and Caroline’s on Broadway.

SPENCER-4267_SQRobert Spencer is excited to return to making music with The Midtown Men. A Tony Award Nominated Actor, Independent Film Director, Producer, and Writer, he originated the role of Nick Massi in the Tony and Grammy Award winning “Jersey Boys”. He also originated the role of Dan Goodman in the Pulitzer Prize winning Broadway musical “Next To Normal,” for which he received nominations for both the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Lead Actor, and Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical. He has voiced two animated features: “Nightmare Campus” and the critically acclaimed, award winning “Grave of the Fireflies.” His portrayal as a psychopathic killer named Bob in the independent feature film “Night of the Dog” earned him a Best Supporting Actor Nomination at the SMMASH Film Festival. The film won Audience Awards for best feature film at Palm Beach, Santa Barbara, SMMASH and PBIFF. J. Robert’s independent film company 7 Spencer Productions, with which he produced, wrote, starred and directed the comedy “Farm Girl In New York”. The film was featured on The Today Show with Ann Currey and Al Roker, and was the official selection of the Sacramento International Film Festival (Nominated for Best Comedy and Best Actress,) as well as Big Apple, Atlanta, Buffalo Niagara, and Seattle True Independent Film Festivals, distributed by Maverick Entertainment. He recently produced and starred in his second independent feature titled “Heterosexuals.” With Wood Media Films, he executive produced an environmental documentary titled “On Coal River,” an official selection of Silverdocs, Camden, Hamptons, Chesapeake and New Orleans Film Festivals. Through Sony Masterworks, he appeared with Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops in PBS’s “Handel’s Messiah Rocks,” for which he was Nominated for a Midwest Emmy Award for Best On Camera Performance by a Leading Actor. J. Robert is the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from Shenandoah University.

Leave a Reply

Scroll To Top