East Penn Press

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

‘Boys’ to Men

Friday, March 23, 2018 by DAWN OUELLETTE Special to The Press in Focus

“There had never been a spin-off group from a Broadway musical before The Midtown Men,” says Tony Award-winner Christian Hoff of The Midtown Men.

The Midtown Men, four stars from the original hit Broadway musical, “Jersey Boys,” perform at 7:30 p.m. March 23, State Theatre Center for The Arts, Easton.

Hoff is joined by Tony Award-winners Michael Longoria and Daniel Reichard and Tony Award-nominee J. Robert Spencer, performing songs by The Beatles, The Rascals, The Four Seasons and more.

“We wanted to bring to life the stories and music of the 1960s,” says Hoff in a phone interview.

“A lot of music from the 1960’s is focused on unrequited love and social status,” Hoff continues. “It’s defining, and it offers regional perspective on the world, the Four Seasons of the northeast, Motown music from Detroit … ”

Hoff, who won a Tony for his portrayal of Four Seasons member Tommy DeVito in “Jersey Boys,” is a life-long actor. “I started performing when I was 8,” he says. “I saw that I could story-tell and affect an audience.”

Audiences may remember Hoff as the voice of the 1980s’ cartoon character “Richie Rich,” or from his lead role in the 80s’ teen hit, “Encino Man,” among other television and film roles. From 1993 to 1995, Hoff performed on Broadway in “The Who’s Tommy.”

“The director of ‘Tommy’ told me of a role he thought I would be perfect for,” says Hoff, “in a show called ‘Jersey Boys.’ He knew I could do it.”

Hoff set out to meet Tommy DeVito, lead guitarist of the Four Seasons, in person. “In 10 minutes, I was able to capture the essence of his character,” says Hoff. “It was profound.”

In 2006, Hoff received a Tony for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical for his portrayal of DeVito in “Jersey Boys.”

“The Tony Award was a moment of coming into my own,” Hoff says. “I was pinching myself. This is real, not a dream, it was kind of like an Olympic moment.”

Hoff is thrilled to be able to continue the spirit of “Jersey Boys” with Midtown Men.

“We’ve done what we set out to do,” he says. “We are the premier 60s celebration band.

“Not only do we have parents and grandparents at our shows, but their children and grandchildren, as well. It’s great entertainment that transcends all backgrounds.”

Tickets: State Theatre Center for the Arts box office, 453 Northampton St., Easton; statetheatre.org; 1-800-999-7828; 610-252-3132