From Broadway to National tours, Tony winner Christian Hoff, Michael Longoria, Daniel Reichard, and Tony nominee J. Robert Spencer have brought back the 60s! In the fall of 2005, the men performed together as the Original Cast in the Broadway Musical, Jersey Boys. The musical is based on the life and success of The Four Seasons.
In 2007, while on Broadway, they formed a side project. They put together a set of 60s hits and began performing at benefits and private events. This side project later became The Midtown Men and in 2010 this was no longer just a side project. The group is now on their 5th National Tour performing between 80-100 shows a year. The Midtown Men have performed in cities across the country and Canada as well as on several television shows.
In May of 2014 they filmed their first Public Television Special for PBS, “The Midtown Men Live In Concert.” This special has aired in several cities across the country since last December and will air again in the NYC area in June. Not only can you see them on TV or on stage, but you can bring them into your homes with their self-titled debut album, “The Midtown Men: Sixties Hits.”
There is a distinct chemistry that comes along with the talented group. Their exciting performance gets the crowd to their feet.
The Midtown Men “Can’t Buy Me Love”
The Midtown Men “Time of the Season”
We recently had a chance to speak with one of The Midtown Men, Tony Award winner, Christian Hoff.
upfrontNY: The Midtown Men was started as a side project when the group was in the Broadway Musical Jersey Boys. What has it been like to share this experience together as a group on Broadway to traveling the country performing together as The Midtown Men?
Christian Hoff: We went from being a destination entertainment on Broadway where we performed for over a million people that had to come to see us and when we set out to tour the country we did what we did on Broadway, which is entertaining people and took it on the road. We brought that Broadway pedigree that was Jersey Boys and taking it to the next level with all that great music of the 60s and our own story.
We have been on tour for 5 years doing just that. We have done over 400 concerts. We keep exploring this decade of music, entertaining people, and growing as friends and business partners while overcoming challenges and obstacles along the way. It is very exciting.
upfrontNY: Since you have been doing this together for so long, what is the chemistry like between the group?
Christian Hoff: What started as 4 different people brought together for a single purpose to create a Broadway show and that phenomenon that was Jersey Boys, very little has changed now, we are still very different guys, different points of view. Our chemistry is connective and tense at same time. It is very exciting what we do, there is a creative tension that we all have learned to defend and embrace. We love the fact that we are different and the audience does to. They get a feel of four guys coming together in front of their eyes. Not only in the show but also in life. With all the division and lines being drawn, in the media and real life, to be able to bridge all those gaps and bring the aisles together as we do is pretty cool. The 60s gives us some extra roots in that, with social acceptance. It was a melting pot. We get to get back to the roots of what I believe that popular American music is.. “Music for the people by the people” is sort of our new mantra.
upfrontNY: What is it about 60s music that still makes it so popular?
Christian Hoff: I believe it has to do with the honesty of the music and the genuine aspect of it. You had singer -songwriters coming out but you also had very crafty writers writing for these artists. Most of the songs were being written out of major cities, Detroit, New York, LA. They had a pulse on what was really going on. The early 60s a lot if was really crafted songs as it grew you saw expression from artists themselves and fans themselves expressing something that was close to them. It got to the end of the 60s that it was so real and raw that it blew up.
upfrontNY: When you are performing do you have a favorite song that you do or can’t wait to play?
Christian Hoff: Right now we do a song written by Stephen Stills when he was in a band called Buffalo Springfield with Neil Young and some other great musicians of the era. They ended up breaking up and started Crobsy, Stills, Nash, and Young.
In Buffalo Springfield they threw a song together at end of a session that Stephen had written that didn’t even have a song title. It was a song about something that Stephen had witnessed with a police stand off and a bunch of students on the streets of LA. At the end of the session they still had time and they decided to record it. The song was, “For What It’s Worth. It became an anthem talking about both perspectives on a circumstance and everyone needs to stop, take a step back, and listen to each other.
upfrontNY: If you had the chance to travel back in time and perform in the 60s what would you be most excited about?
Christian Hoff: Bridging generations and creating music that everyone can identify with. I think if we were back in the 60s I would like to think we are speaking to the heart of people and staying away the things that polarize us and really focus on bringing people together.
upfrontNY: Seeing the group performing these numbers makes you feel like you are really right back in the 60s.
Christian Hoff: It is cool that we get to relive a time with our own spin and perspective. There’s a modern sound and groove bringing it back to life and a new fire to it. It is fun for us on stage because it is fun for the audience. It is not tribute or nostalgia as much as it is a celebration.
upfrontNY: You will be coming back to NYC playing in The Beacon Theatre. How does it feel to be back performing in the city that started it all?
Christian Hoff: Our name, The Midtown Men came out of a new york centric thing. Midtown Manhattan, midtown being blue color, lots of business people live there still. That’s where Broadway is and there is glitz. We love how fertile it can be and real or raw and glamours at the same time. We always love performing in New york, New Jersey, and Connecticut. We have a big fan base and that’s where we all met. It is sort of a family reunion. At the Beacon we will be having some special guests, 60s icons that we have become friends with. Coming to the Beacon where we walked past for years and seeing such amazing acts that play there, to be a part of that to me is exciting.
upfrontNY: You have had success with the group and yourself, you earned a Grammy Award for the original cast recording and a Tony award for your portrayl of Tony Devito in Jersey Boys. What does it mean to you to have your work recognized.
Christian Hoff: It is affirming. It is like winning the super bowl and being a part of an incredible team. Winning a Tony is like getting the Most Valuable Player award. It was a personal triumph and personal milestone for me as an actor.
upfrontNY: At 8 years old you became involved with the San Diego Theatre and started from there knowing you wanted this as a career. What advice do you give to those old or young who have a love of theatre and dream of following their passion?
Christian Hoff: Surround yourself with people who see the best in you even when you don’t. I had to believe that anything was possible and its hard to be stretched out of your comfort zone and be forced to learn new things. Be the best as you can be. Work hard and take it seriously.
upfrontNY: Has there ever been one question you’ve wanted to answer or something that you have always wanted to share?
Christian Hoff: Shirley MaClaine – When I met and worked with her when I was 11 years old she said to me at one of our rehearsals while sharing an orange and trail mix “ If you have the will to see it through, young fellow, your life will never be the same.” It is something that resonated with me. It’s not about the result, but the effort. Do your best no matter what the results.
The Midtown Men are heading back to the Tri-State area in May and June. Get your tickets today. This is a show you do not want to miss!
Head over to The Midtown Men to learn more.
Click here for concert information.