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Published: Friday, September 21, 2012

Updated: Friday, September 21, 2012 01:09

The Midtown Men

Jade Bedell

Rudder auditorium grooved to 1960s musical hits on Thursday night during a performance of “The Midtown Men.” The show features Tony Award-winner Christian Hoff, Michael Longoria, Daniel Reichard and Tony Award-nominated J. Robert Spencer — the original cast members of the hit Broadway show, “Jersey Boys.”

The show began with a soulful performance of “Working My Way Back To You” and quickly transitioned to the Turtles hit, “So Happy Together.” “The Midtown Men” included Broadway-style, choreographed dancing with each musical number. Daniel Reichard was the first to speak and expressed how happy he and the other performers were to be in College Station for the first time.

“We’re here to celebrate the best decade in rock ‘n’ roll – the 1960s,” Reichard said. “We want everyone singing, dancing, getting crazy. We want the campus police called on all of us.”

“The Midtown Men” explored all forms of 1960s music by blending the Motown, the psychedelic and the classic. They explored a variety of artists including Marvin Gaye, Jackson Five, Tina Turner and Otis Redding. In between songs, they entertained the audience with jokes and stories from their time on Broadway. The show also featured a live, six-part band.

One student, a member of the Singing Cadets, said he enjoyed the show and gained inspiration.

“We’re also singing songs from ‘Jersey Boys’ and The Temptations this semester so it was cool to get to hear,” said Michael Duty, sophomore computer engineering major.

Some audience favorites included “Time of the Season,” “River Deep Mountain High” and “Sherry.” The Midtown Men ended the show with a Motown medley that wooed the audience onto their feet.

“I loved the way they sang ‘My Girl’,” said Christopher White, sophomore aerospace engineering major and Singing Cadet.

Michael Longoria, the falsetto singer of The Midtown Men, said the show was inspired by the success of “Jersey Boys” on Broadway.

“We met on Broadway in New York City doing this amazing show [‘Jersey Boys’],” Longoria said. “We were on Broadway for three years together and performed over 1,000 shows. We were asked to perform the songs outside of Broadway at various events and decided we should challenge ourselves with other ‘60s songs in a whole new show.”

“Jersey Boys” follows the forming, rise and eventual break-up of the famed 1960s rock group The Four Seasons. Longoria, who played the part of Frankie Valli, said that “The Midtown Men” differs from “Jersey Boys” in that, instead of acting as the musical stars, The Midtown Men are the stars themselves.

“Now as The Midtown Men, we don’t have to play any parts. Just like The Four Seasons in ‘Jersey Boys’, we’re on the road and singing to fans,” Longoria said.

During his time performing 1960s song and dance, Longoria said he has realized the impact the era left on America.

“Something that we’re discovering about this great nation of ours is that everyone knows the words, no matter how old they are,” Longoria said. “It’s a testament to the impression that music made on the country. That music is America.”

During their performances at Texas A&M, Longoria and The Midtown Men said they hope to act as an inspiration to the college students who dream of a successful career in show business.

“All of us grew up in the same situation that students are in. We wanted to be on Broadway, we spent our entire lives studying the arts,” Longoria said. “I think a lot of those students will be inspired, especially the men, by seeing good, strong men who have been through it all and are now living the dream.”

Tickets are still available for the Friday “The Midtown Men” performance at the MSC Box Office. Curtains will open at 7:30 p.m. The Midtown Men will also be available after the show for an album signing.

“Expect a high octane, high energetic concert with songs that every one knows,” said Craig Boleman of SoloShoe Communications. “They can sing, they can dance; you wont be disappointed.”

 

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