Although music of the â€˜60s was made before his time, Michael Longoria, who played Frankie Valli in the hit Broadway musical, â€œJersey Boys,â€ said classic songs from this decade is the best music ever written.
â€œWith contemporary music, you just donâ€™t get the same quality,â€ he said. â€œThe lyrics are simple, and the notes are more confined. (Music from the â€˜60s) really allows you to express the human experience that the â€˜60s holds within itself.â€
Longoria, along with three of the men who played the Four Seasons in â€œJersey Boys,â€ Daniel Reichard, Christian Hoff and J. Robert Spencer, is coming to Fort Collinsâ€™ recently renovated Lincoln Center Saturday night in the groupâ€™s original show, â€œMidtown Men.â€ The show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets cost $85.
The four men will sing their favorite songs by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, along with songs by other artists of the â€˜60s, including the Mamas and the Papas, the Beatles, the Beach Boys and more.
â€œYou listen to the music and you hear exactly what theyâ€™re going through at the time,â€ Longoria said. â€œItâ€™s all about whatâ€™s inside, what your soul is expressing.â€
While singing, the men see people of every age in the audience singing along to the music.
â€œThere are kids out there singing to music thatâ€™s from their grandparentsâ€™ generation,â€ Longoria said. â€œThatâ€™s whatâ€™s so amazing and timeless about music.â€
Starring in â€œJersey Boysâ€ as one of the Four Seasons will â€œunquestionablyâ€ go down as one of Reichardâ€™s main highlights in his life, he said.
At first, he was reluctant to dive into the project.
â€œIt almost seemed like it was going to be a detour on my road to success, but it was the biggest life-changing career experience I have,â€ he said. â€œI feel so grateful that Iâ€™ve gotten to go for a ride that so many actors are aching to have to get to be a part of a success like â€˜Jersey Boys.â€™â€
However, he said the production â€œMidtown Menâ€ is something heâ€™s even more proud of.
â€œWeâ€™ve all built this together. Itâ€™s our baby,â€ Reichard said. â€œWe got to be a part of a huge production, but â€˜Midtown Menâ€™ is something weâ€™ve choreographed ourselves, and weâ€™ve conceived ourselves. Itâ€™s truly my biggest pride and joy. It creates a bigger thrill for me than even â€˜Jersey Boysâ€™ did.â€
Longoria said he and the other men feel like theyâ€™re ambassadors of the 60s era to the different cities they perform â€œMidtown Menâ€ in.
â€œWe feel blessed. Each place we go, itâ€™s like a time capsule,â€ he said. â€œFor a moment (the audience gets) to escape and feel what it was like to see that music in a current way.â€
The musical â€œJersey Boysâ€ tells the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasonsâ€™ pursuit of the â€œAmerican Dreamâ€ through the music they produced.
It debuted on Broadway in 2005 and won a Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album that same year.
â€œBack then none of us knew what a rocket ride we were going to be on,â€ Longoria said. â€œBut we realized this was going to be an amazing piece of art, and we were blessed with an audience who loved it and made it a big hit.â€
Reflecting on his experience, he said, â€œMy favorite part of â€˜Jersey Boysâ€™ was playing Frankie Valli and singing â€˜Canâ€™t Take My Eyes Off You,â€™ one of the best loves songs ever written.â€
While performing in â€œJersey Boys,â€ Longoria said he felt a kind of connection with the audience that was indescribable.
â€œIn the â€˜Midtown Menâ€™ show, that unity (makes you) feel the audience wants you to succeed, and hit that high note in â€˜Sherry,â€™â€ Longoria said. â€œWe really do it well, and we really do it for the people.â€
In â€œJersey Boys,â€ the men were in character speaking with tough Jersey accents, telling a story of a band through its songs that helped define a decade.
â€œBut (in â€˜Midtown Menâ€™), youâ€™re definitely going to hear their songs more like they were recorded back in the day, more of the soul versions,â€ Longoria said. â€œIn our show we give the audience what they want, the entire song.â€
The four men feel like they are living that same â€œAmerican Dreamâ€ they acted out in â€œJersey Boysâ€ with their production of â€œMidtown Men,â€ Reichard said.
â€œWeâ€™re putting our hearts and souls into it: the blood, sweat and tears,â€ he said. â€œWe certainly had no idea that a few years after leaving (â€˜Jersey Boysâ€™) weâ€™d be back together again touring the country, living out the rock star fantasy we were portraying in the show,â€ Reichard said.
He described â€œMidtown Menâ€ as a multiple-course meal of the 60s experience. Every four minutes the audience will get a different taste of the 60s, which is what sets the show apart from â€œJersey Boys.â€
Longoria will sing his favorite Frankie Valli and the Four Seasonsâ€™ song â€˜Bye Bye Baby,â€™ in â€œMidtown Men,â€ along with other favorites.
â€œOf course you canâ€™t get away from not loving â€˜Sherry,â€™â€ Longoria said. â€œIt put the Four Seasons on the map as one of the iconic groups of the 60s.â€
The Midtown Menâ€™s new album, titled, â€œThe Midtown Men: Sixties Hits,â€ will be on sale at the event Saturday.
â€œPeople get to see us live on stage, and then they get to take us home with them,â€ Longoria said. â€œThe CD really puts our mark on all these songs, thatâ€™s what â€˜Midtown Menâ€™ is all about.â€
Charles Alexander, long-time senior editor for Time Magazine was mentioned in a press release for â€œMidtown Men,â€ saying, “This new Fab Four became rock stars in their own right. They are helping the pop composers of the ’60s take their rightful place in the Great American
Reichard said he and his fellow performers can see their audiences really come to life in front of their eyes.
â€œItâ€™s an honor to bring the memories of the past into experience in the now,â€ he said. â€œItâ€™s a great thrill doing music. Youâ€™re bringing back old memories, but youâ€™re creating new ones in the moment.â€
â€œThe audience gets to see what it was like to go through a rocket ride on Broadway,â€ Reichard said. â€œ(While working with â€˜Jersey Boys,â€™) we were always doing something kind of crazy, like ringing the stock market bell and getting to sing in Times Square for Dick Clarkâ€™s New Yearâ€™s Eve.â€
The four men relate as alumni of a megahit musical, but they have a deep friendship as well, Reichard said.
â€œWeâ€™re running a piece of art together. It creates a very unique relationship between four men, who are all different ages and in different situations in life,â€ he said. â€œWe love each other, we laugh together, we tease each other, and at the same time weâ€™re running and growing a business of our very own.â€
Entertainment editor Courtney Riley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.