BWW Interviews: Daniel Reichard Previews THE MIDTOWN MEN'S Debut Performance in Providence
Daniel Reichard joined BroadwayWorld Rhode Island to discuss The Midtown Men's upcoming debut at the Providence Performing Arts Center. Reichard spoke warmly about the enduring friendship and professional collaboration between the men in the group - four original Jersey Boys Broadway cast members - and the lasting resonance of the music of the 1960s. He also reminisced about a high-flying adventure that took him from Connecticut's Goodspeed Opera House to the heart of Atlantic City, all while dressed in an otter costume.
VB: You have four original Jersey Boys cast mates together again. How have your relationships developed over the years, and what's the group dynamic like?
DR: I'm happy to say that we've been collaborating for almost ten years now, and we're getting along better now than ever. A lot of that has to do with these years together on the road as The Midtown Men have really forced us to build a very functional and respectful friendship and business partnership. I think it takes practice sometimes, but we've gotten really good at talking to each other and trying to listen and understand where people are coming from always. And even when there's disagreement, you learn how to work through it better, and basically that's because we have a lot of practice at it.
It's hard to have an artistic collaboration and a business partnership with three other guys because everybody comes to the table with a lot of strong opinions, with different styles, different approaches. So the fact that we've been able to navigate this whole successful touring show together, I'm very, very proud of [that].
VB: Was the genesis of The Midtown Men from that collaboration? Is that what drew you to the project?
DR: It sort of happened by a beautiful accident. We were playing The Four Seasons on Broadway together, and we were being asked to sing together at these kind of fancy events, at big charities, galas, or fundraisers. After we did this for a while - after we did it, I don't know, 20 times - we realized that we had put together an actual show. So, just over three and a half years ago, the guys and I said (we all got on the phone) let's get together, let's reunite and bring this show that we've been doing to actual concert halls and basically tour like any other large Broadway show does. That's what we've done, and since then we've played over 300 concerts all over the continent together, everything from performing arts centers to major casinos to symphony halls now. From a sort of side gig, it turned into this wonderful, successful music group.
The memories being made together as The Midtown Men for me have almost eclipsed the Jersey Boys memories - and that says a lot, because the Jersey Boys experience on Broadway was so thrilling - but I think when you create something yourself, you're not just part of creating something but you literally build something from nothing to something successful, there's just something special about it. It's your baby.
VB: It sounds like it was an ideal combination of the group's camaraderie and the music itself, then.
DR: That's right and that's what we're really, you could call it selling, promoting, presenting: we're playing our friendship out - our very fun and complicated friendship - on these stages for audiences, and we really let people into that whole "behind the scenes" friendship and the complexity of our relationship. We're very lightheartedly letting our audiences in on what really unifies us; as I see in [The Midtown Men] show, no matter where we are or what we're going through on the road, the thing that always brings us together is the music and that is the truth.
The music of the 1960s has not only such huge cultural relevance even now in 2014, it means so much to us personally. We have a very genuine passion for this music and we're presenting it with a certain style and with this show business edge that is pretty unique to our own show. We're singing these great songs of the 1960s, but there's this sort of theatrical flair to our arrangements. You hear the horn section; it's a very important part of presenting The Midtown Men's style, and there's certain brassiness and regality to this. It's strong and our versions of these 1960s songs are drawing from the entertainers like Frank Sinatra, and Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis, Jr. So you're getting a little feeling of that kind of elegant, classic presentation that those kinds of artists brought, but in our show, it's to these great rock 'n' roll classics.