The Midtown Men
The sounds of the ’60s
What: The Midtown Men
When: 7 pm Thu., May. 18
Where: Mount Baker Theatre, 104 N. Commercial St.
Wednesday, May 10, 2017
Let’s face it: Cover bands or tribute bands or whatever you’d like to call them, are a dime a dozen. Some of them are great—and therefore exceedingly entertaining. Some of them are terrible—also entertaining, just in a different way. But they’re all parts of the same musical landscape.
The Midtown Men, however, aim to change up that geography a little.
I suppose the simplest way to describe them is to label them a tribute band. But simple can sometimes be reductive, and in the case of the Midtown Men, the characterization hardly does this impressive, award-winning quartet justice.
The group is comprised of Christian Hoff, Michael Longoria, Daniel Reichard, and J. Robert Spencer, who all met when they were tapped to play characters in the original Broadway production of Jersey Boys. The jukebox musical, which tells the story of the rise and fall of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, ran for nearly 5,000 shows on the Great White Way, became a huge, Tony-winning phenomenon, and was eventually turned into a 2014 movie of the same name.
The four singing, dancing actors were with the Broadway show during a time when it was the hottest ticket in a town where being a hot ticket really means something, and by the time the show closed, they’d performed together more than a thousand times. During that period, when they weren’t onstage at the famed August Wilson Theatre, they could often be found singing and dancing in all of their dapper glory for big-ticket charity events and high-profile parties.
When they were no longer part of the production, the individual members of the quartet tried to figure out what was next, went on to other things, got on with their lives. After all, unless you’re in Mamma Mia or Cats, a Broadway musical is a thing with a finite shelf life, so appearing in Jersey Boys, while good for a person’s career, was never going to be a career in and of itself.
But after a year or so had passed, Hoff, Longoria, Reichard, and Spencer found themselves missing each other. And it wasn’t just the backstage banter or the camaraderie that comes from slogging through years of their grueling Broadway schedule they pined for. They also missed performing together, harmonizing their way through the hits, dancing in perfect unison and enthralling whatever audience might be before them.
So, they got the band back together, so to speak. But rather than undertaking a touring revival of music from Jersey Boys, they expanded their repertoire to include other instantly recognizable mega hits from the 1960s. This means that when they appear Thurs., May 18 at the Mount Baker Theatre, you won’t just hear the songs that made Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons famous, you’ll also be treated to the Beatles, Motown, the Zombies, and more. All will be ripe for singing along to (feel free), dancing in the aisles (not necessarily encouraged, but do what you must)—and if you’d like to wear a sharkskin suit to complete the image, well, you’ll be in excellent company with the four singing sensations onstage.
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