The Midtown Men make musical magic on stage
By Randall G. Mielke January 9, 2013 5:10PM
The Midtown Men — 4 Stars From the Original Cast of "Jersey Boys" will perform Jan. 11 at the Rialto Square Theatre in Joliet..
THE MIDTOWN MEN
◆ 8 p.m. Jan. 11
◆ Rialto Square Theatre, 102 N. Chicago St., Joliet
◆ Tickets, $28-$65
◆ (815) 726-6600; rialtosquare.com
Updated: February 12, 2013 6:12AM
For Christian Hoff and the three other members of the Midtown Men, entertaining an audience is a bit like winning a ball game.
“There is satisfaction with the applause and the success in the business, but there is also the winning,” Hoff said of the group of four singers who performed on Broadway together in “Jersey Boys.”
“We make people happy. If we don’t, it’s like losing the game.”
The Midtown Men — which includes Hoff, Daniel Reichard, Michael Longoria and J. Robert Spencer — will perform on Jan. 11 at the Rialto Square Theatre in Joliet.
The quartet has been winning over audiences on a regular basis for three years.
While still performing in “Jersey Boys,” the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, the four singers would entertain at places like journalist Katie Couric’s 50th birthday party and at numerous charity events.
Since they were contractually obligated to not perform any songs from “Jersey Boys” at these events, the foursome decided to perform the songs of other groups like the Beach Boys, the Beatles and the Everly Brothers.
Backed by a seven-piece band, the Rialto concert also will feature the hits of the Jackson 5 and the Mamas & the Papas, among others.
“The show is a celebration of the music of the 1960s that everyone can connect to,” Hoff said.
“We do a Motown medley and songs by the Rolling Stones. We are exploring the American landscape of music.
“We even do a girls group medley with songs from the Shirelles and the Supremes.”
The Midtown Men also will do songs by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.
“We do a tip of the hat to our roots in the show,” said Hoff about performing Valli songs, “but we are a new entity and a new brand.
“We needed that as entertainers and performers.”
Hoff spent four years on Broadway in the role of Tommy DeVito in “Jersey Boys” and performed in more than 1,500 shows.
Hoff also won a 2006 Tony Award for best featured actor in a musical for his role as DeVito.
“I was 40 years of age when I left the show and I had spent four years on Broadway,” Hoff said, “so I spent a tenth of my life as a Jersey Boy.”
Hoff said he is convinced he and his fellow Midtown Men experience something rare when they perform.
“We truly believe that magic happens when we are on stage and we are interacting with the audience,” he said.
Randall G. Mielke is a freelance writer.