A new season for Midtown Men

Group that once portrayed Bob Gaudio, Tommy DeVito et al brings a more eclectic show to Costa Mesa.

June 13, 2013|By Rhea Mahbubani
  • The Midtown Men, comprising original members of Broadway hit "Jersey Boys" will perform with the Pacific Symphony at Segerstrom Center for the Arts at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.
The Midtown Men, comprising original members of Broadway… (Kat Villacorta )

The Midtown Men bicker all the way to the stage — as brothers might.

The singers could be arguing about which socks look best or which attorney to bring on board, and the next instant, they're straightening ties or tossing towels to one another.

"No matter what, we huddle before every show and give thanks," Christian Hoff said. "We encourage each other to go out there and have fun."

The unlikely foursome came together almost by accident nearly 10 years ago — a number that they find hard to believe — as original members of the Broadway hit "Jersey Boys."

As the Midtown Men, Michael Longoria, Daniel Reichard, J. Robert Spencer and Hoff, will take the spotlight at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. They will be accompanied by about 88 members of the Pacific Symphony.


"Having the orchestra behind the four singers enhances the experience multifold," Director of Public Relations Jayce Keane wrote in an email. "The sound is layered, lush and luminous — and provides an experience you won't forget."

This show will conclude the Symphony's Pops concerts for the year, which has earlier featured Kenny G, Amy Grant and Gladys Knight.

"It's hard to imagine a better or more memorable way to end the Symphony's season than with the Midtown Men," Keane said.


Chance encounters

Hoff, a father of five from San Diego, was at home "minding his own business," when the phone rang.

Des McAnuff, with whom he'd worked on "The Who's Tommy," was on the other end with an offer to audition for another part in a musical: this one about the 1960s band the Four Seasons.

Hoff jumped in the car and arrived within an hour at a nearby studio, his children in tow, and strummed Eddie Cochran's "Somethin' Else." McAnuff also asked him to read a monologue as Seasons member Tommy DeVito — a role for which we went on to bag a Tony Award.

"Des put out an arm around me and asked, 'What are you doing in three months?,'" Hoff recalled. "I said, 'Am I doing a show?' and he said, 'Yup.'"

A phone conversation from Hoff's car a few minutes later cemented his role in a show that was still missing a title and script.

After a run in La Jolla, "Jersey Boys" went to Broadway in 2005. Crew members were handing out tickets during previews, according to Reichard, and a month later, the show was a "complete phenomenon."

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