The Midtown Men

Event: The Midtown Men
Date: April 1, 2016
Run: April 1-3, 2016
Location: Seattle, WA @ Benaroya Hall

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I have been really into the music from the 1960’s for the past couple of years. This was mostly due to my seeing Jersey Boys and just falling in love with that sound. So uncomplicated without all of the extra sound production that you hear being added to a lot of songs today. When my brother told me that members of the original Jersey Boys cast formed a group called the Midtown Men I already knew I loved them. When he told me they were coming to town I kept demanding, “WE MUST GET TICKETS!!!” I really wanted to go to all of their shows here in Seattle, but it would have been difficult to get that time off from work. My brother came through though and managed to get us tickets front row and center.

The Midtown Men (with some of their credits) are:

  • Christian Hoff – A Tony Winner for originating the role of Tommy DeVito in the Broadway show Jersey Boys. He was also the voice of Richie Rich.
  • Michael Longoria – Originated the role of Joe Pesci (yes, that Joe Pesci) inJersey Boys and went on to become Frankie Valli. He made his Broadway debut in Hairspray. He will have a cd released in May called “Broadway Brick By Brick.”
  • Daniel Reichard – Originated the role of Bob Gaudio in Jersey Boys. He also starred in Candide and the filmed version of the show Forever Plaid.
  • J. Robert Spencer – Originated the role of Nick Massi in Jersey Boys. He also received a Tony nomination for his role as Dan Goodman in one of my favorite shows, Next To Normal. If you’re an avid watcher of HGTV you might also remember him from an episode of House Hunters. He was also a roaming cat.

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There was no opening act, but the guys brought with them a full band.

Setlist:

BIG GIRLS DON’T CRY / SHERRY (The Four Seasons Cover)
CAN’T BUY ME LOVE (The Beatles Cover)
HAPPY TOGETHER (The Turtles Cover)
AIN’T THAT PECULIAR (Marvin Gaye Cover)
WOULDN’T IT BE NICE (The Beach Boys Cover)
DAY DREAM (The Lovin’ Spoonful Cover)
GET TOGETHER (The Youngbloods Cover)
GALVESTON (Glen Campbell Cover)
BE MY BABY (The Ronettes Cover)
BUILD ME UP BUTTERCUP (The Foundations Cover)
GOT TO GET TO YOU
CRY FOR ME (The Four Seasons Cover)
AIN’T NO MOUNTAIN HIGH ENOUGH (Marvin Gaye Cover)

[Intermission where vintage commercials were shown]

60’s TV THEMES (Band only)
GET READY (The Temptations Cover)
GOOD LOVIN’ (The Rascals Cover)
TIME OF THE SEASON (The Zombies Cover)
VEHICLE (The Ides Of March Cover)
GROOVIN’ (The Young Rascals Cover)
FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH (Buffalo Springfield Song)
IN MY LIFE (The Beatles Cover)
MY EYES ADORED YOU (The Four Seasons Cover)
UNCHAINED MELODY (The Righteous Brothers Cover)
MOTOWN (Medley):
– AIN’T TOO PROUD TO BEG (The Temptations Cover)
– I WANT YOU BACK (Jackson 5 Cover)
– MY GIRL (The Temptations Cover)
– JUST MY IMAGINATION (The Temptations Cover)
– YOU’RE ALL I NEED TO GET BY (Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell Cover)
DECEMBER 1963 (OH, WHAT A NIGHT) (The Four Seasons Cover)
BYE BYE BABY (The Four Seasons Cover)

During the show the guys introduced each other and gave a brief biography of how they ended up where they are today. This was done with charming humor, and I found myself laughing so hard at one joke delivered by Hoff about Longoria that my cell phone just clunked out of my pocket. They were quite sociable with the crowd and offered many opportunities to participate.

Being veterans of the stage they all know how to build a presence for themselves and had choreography for their songs (as well as screen projections). Along with performing together as a group each member had a chance to shine in their own songs. The songs they chose really seemed to reflect their own individual personalities. Their chemistry as a group was evident. Many of the songs featured new arrangements, but nothing too out there that would make anyone long for the original versions.

It is really hard to pinpoint a favorite moment in the show since I loved every single minute of it. I appreciate that they are keeping these songs alive and hopefully introducing them to a new generation. Actually we were by a guy in the lobby who admitted that he didn’t know who The Four Seasons were even though he was part of that era. This was good old-fashioned entertainment that you just don’t really find easily. If you do sometimes it seems campy, but the guys keep things fresh. I guess my favorites were any time they did a song from Jersey Boys, the Motown medley, and “Galveston” (which was a surprise since it wasn’t on any of their recorded items and I do enjoy this Glen Campbell tune). At the end I was more than happy to bust a move in my row. Strangely some people left (I think some of the symphony audiences came to the show thinking it was something different), but it gave me more room to dance!

I wasn’t really sure what to think when my brother said they met with fans after the show (since it was April Fools Day), but he was telling the truth as the woman working their merch booth confirmed it. I walked away with both of their cds and a blu-ray of their PBS special. Finding physical copies of their stuff has been difficult (and/or pricey) so I was happy to pick everything up. Well, almost everything. I found out that they had a holiday release so I’ll have to hunt that down. Anyways, they signed items and took photos with fans out in the lobby, which capped off my night. If you are a fan of sixties music I highly recommend checking these guys out.

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For tour dates and additional information visit their website at
themidtownmen.com

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