Midtown Men bring '60s back to Shippensburg


The best music from the 60s was alive and well Friday night at the Luhrs Performing Arts Center all thanks to The Midtown Men
The Midtown Men are the four member group from the original Broadway cast “Jersey Boys,” Jersey Boys- Christian Hoff, Michael Longoria, Daniel Reichard, and J. Robert Spencer. Coming off a 50-city tour across the U.S. and Canada in 2010, they stopped by Shippensburg during their new tour promoting their album “Sixties Hits.” Sixties Hits.

They began the show by introducing themselves as the cast of the “Jersey Shore” Jersey Shore, collecting laughs from the easy-going crowd. They started into their first hit song, “Making My Way Back to You” by The Spinners, leading into “Breaking Up is Hard To Do” by Neil Sedaka.

The entire show was full of synchronized dance moves, charming monologues, and stories from their Broadway days from the men of Midtown, and got the crowd moving to the classics.

“We are having the time of our lives up here singing these songs, so tonight we want the same for you. Let loose tonight Shippensburg,” J. Robert Spencer yelled to the crowd.

One of the show’s highlights came from the powerful falsetto voice of Michael Longoria, hitting high notes heard in most male songs from the ’60s. One of the best was when he mirrored Michael Jackson’s perfect pitch in the Jackson 5 song, “I Want You Back,” bringing the crowd to a chorus of applause.

Through their covers of The Beatles to The Mamas and The Papas and their own “Jersey Boys” Jersey Boys songs, The Midtown Men brought life back to the ’60s through their variety of song choices and dance moves that kept toes tapping and hands clapping.
Each member took the time to speak individually to the crowd, telling their stories behind The Midtown Men then breaking into their favorite song from the ’60s. Christian Hoff’s version of “Never My Love” by The Association earned a standing ovation from a handful of audience members through his smooth, sultry tones.

The Midtown Men also have a history in Pennsylvania. J. Robert Spencer went on to say that he graduated from York High School in Pennsylvania, while Michael Longoria’s first job was in Hershey Park.

During the intermission the band played to keep the crowd’s energy active as the men changed their outfits backstage. Each member of the band had their moment to shine during instrumental solos until the guys came back out on stage to break into The Monkees “Daydream Believer.”

The packed room at the Luhrs Center was at its loudest during a sing-a-long to “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” by Frankie Valli while a few members of the crowd got to their feet during “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg.”

Keeping the evening upbeat, they ended the night with a medley of “I Second That Emotion” into “I’ve Got Sunshine” and “Just My Imagination.”

Having backgrounds in Broadway performances gives The Midtown Men an advantage to creating a harmonious, entertaining show that will surely please any generation. That was never more evident than at the Luhrs Center on Friday.

They ended the night on a high note, quite literally in Langoria’s case, with a befitting cover of “Bye Bye Baby” and sent the crowd leaving with the best of the ’60s still humming in their heads

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