None of The Midtown Men lived through the ’60s, but the ’60s live through them.
“There was something about the music of the ’60s and that generation of writers … it was an inspired time in songwriting,” Daniel Reichard, 34, says by phone from his home in Greenwich Village.
“These hooks are incredible. The melodies and the combination of melodies and lyrics with the kind of rock ‘n’ roll sensibility — it’s so specific to the ’60s. How one amazing song after another was being released has a lot to do with enduring appeal of the ’60s.”
Reichard and the rest of The Midtown Men — a foursome who starred in the original 2005 Tony Award-winning, Broadway blockbuster cast of “Jersey Boys” — will bring those timeless sounds to the Paramount Theatre in Cedar Rapids on Friday night. (1/4/13)
- Broadway at the Paramount presents: The Midtown Men
- 8 p.m. Friday
- Paramount Theatre, 123 Third Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids
- Tickets: $40 to $55
- (319) 366-8203, 1-(800) 369-8863 or Paramounttheatrecr.com
- Artist’s website: Themidtownmen.com
Reichard sings tenor; Tony-winner Christian Hoff carries the baritone; Michael Longoria, who originally played Joe Pesci in “Jersey Boys,” before soaring into the stratosphere as Frankie Valli, hits the highest notes; and J. Robert Spencer, a Tony- nominee for “Next to Normal,” is the versatile bass whom Reichard says also can pop up into a high rock sound.
They made their mark with the music of The Four Seasons, went on to other pursuits and reunited occasionally to sing together. At the urging of their mentor, they became The Midtown Men in 2007 – the only independent singing group formed from the principal cast of a hit Broadway musical. They’ve expanded their scope, singing the music of The Beatles, The Drifters, The Turtles, The Mamas and the Papas, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations and The Four Seasons.
Their name is an homage to their “rocket ride” to success on Broadway.
“We’re all New York City boys. Truly, even though none of us really came from New York, we hugely identify with the life here,” Reichard says, “because so many of the important things that have happened to us have happened to us in New York, specifically in Midtown Manhattan.”
They’re all in their 30s and 40s, but find their bliss in the slicked-back sounds and smooth moves of an earlier generation. So do their standing-room-only audiences. (Fewer than 90 tickets are left for the Paramount show.)
“Musically, I think it was a groundbreaking time for men and women expressing themselves more freely,” Reichard says. “I think that men were wearing their hearts on their sleeves more than ever during the ’60s, so it wasn’t these sort of vague romantic notions about living, that are beautiful in the music of the ’40s and the ’50s and before.
“It became a little grittier in the ’60s, and I think people really appreciated and continue to appreciate that sincerity. For many people growing up there, we are singing the soundtrack of their lives. They’re living these songs in a few different ways. They’re getting flashbacks of various adventures, but we are more focused in our show on reliving the music for today. People really should be enjoying these songs in the context of their 2012 lives, no matter what age you are.
“We’re trying, with music, to remind people that whether you’re a young teenager or you’re in your 20s and 30s or you’re in your 60s or 70s, you should play these songs loud, play them in your car and have fun with this music, and use this music as an emotional outlet. I think that sometimes people feel they are past the point of having fun with music,” he says.
“We see first-hand from their reaction to our show that people really have tons of energy and life going on inside of them, that it almost surprises them when it comes out. Talk about a beautiful perk of the job — to stand up on stage and look out on the audience and see people’s spirits transform.”