The Midtown Men, four stars of the original cast of Broadway’s hit musical “Jersey Boys,” will sing familiar songs of the ‘60s and the holidays Sunday, Dec. 1 at the Schuster Center.
Consisting of Tony winner Christian Hoff, Michael Longoria, Daniel Reichard, and Tony nominee J. Robert Spencer (“Next to Normal”), the Midtown Men will offer such holiday favorites as “Let it Snow,” “Winter Wonderland” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” as well as some of the greatest rock ‘n’ roll songs of the 1960s.
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Audiences can expect to hear tunes by the Beatles, the Temptations, and of course, the Four Seasons. In particular, the Midtown Men will offer their holiday single, “All Alone on Christmas,” which they recorded with Steve Van Zandt and members of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band.
The show is part of the Victoria Theatre Association’s Star Attractions series.
Reichard, a Cleveland native who originated the role of original Four Seasons member and chief songwriter Bob Gaudio in “Jersey Boys” and also appeared off-Broadway in “Forbidden Broadway: 20th Anniversary Celebration” and “Radiant Baby,” talked with us about the troupe and its latest tour.
Q: It’s rare for members of an original Broadway cast to continue their success and friendship as an independent group. Can you describe the chemistry among the Midtown Men and why you continue to enjoy performing together?
A: What’s so phenomenal and so interesting is that the opportunity to become a group (basically) chose us first. People had an interest in having us sing outside of the theater. And it just continued after we left “Jersey Boys.” It all started off by us singing at universities, health organizations and big celebrity parties. So, we sort of accidentally, through about a dozen concerts, created and built a show. We were already singing songs by the Turtles, the Beach Boys, and others, and we sort of unintentionally created a show. And since there was a demand, an interest, we decided to take this opportunity and run with it. When I was cast as Bob, I didn’t know how much it would change my life’s work for the next 15 years. I don’t think another audition had that kind of effect on my life.
Q: Can you talk about providing a concert mashup of ‘60s hits and holiday favorites? Do you enjoy the balance?
A: We really adore it. Christmas is our favorite time of year. We get to do a lot of songs we’re known for, such as songs by the Four Seasons, the Rascals and the Monkees, but adding the spirit of the holidays is so much fun. This show takes us off of our routine, a show we’ve almost done 1,000 times together, and allows us to be more spontaneous, in the moment, and more spirited. There’s just something about this time of year that our audience connects to. It’s great to provide goodwill, positivity and optimism even more so than in our regular concerts.
Q: What are some of your favorite moments or songs in the concert?
A: In addition to songs by the Four Seasons and the Rascals, it’s great to sing our favorite holiday songs with our own arrangements. I enjoy singing a song from my album ‘Under the Mistletoe,’ and as a group we enjoy ‘All Alone on Christmas,’ ‘Let it Snow’ in the style of Dean Martin, and the Drifters version of ‘White Christmas.’ The concert still has a Rat Pack/Motown vibe that always defines our shows but presented a la Christmas.
Q: Nostalgia is certainly a key to the success of the Midtown Men. Why do you feel audiences of all ages, all demographics, find joy in looking back?
A: The songs are so incredibly written and arranged. They’re like a warm blanket coming over you. The actual content and the energy that runs through these songs can fill you with a certain kind of gladness. We really look forward to performing in Dayton. I always enjoy receiving home-state applause.
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