DC at Night

DC at Night

Friday, June 27, 2014

Oh What A (60s) Night

Welcome to this week's Friday Flashback. Each Friday in the Flashback we will offer a post about some part of the past and its relationship to DC. Sometimes, we will write a new entry. Others times, we will showcase articles that previously appeared in The Prices Do DC or some other online publications. But no matter who does the writing, you can trust that you will learn something important from the Flashback

For 8 performances a week for more than a 1,000 shows in total, Christian Hoff, Michael Langoria, Daniel Reichard, and J. Robert Spencer channeled The Four Seasons as the original cast members in the award-winning Broadway mega-hit Jersey Boys.

The quartet had so much fun with the musical that after they left the cast, they formed the group The Midtown Men to continue signing Four Seasons' tunes and other harmonious hits from the 1960s.

After a private performance in New York City, Steven Reinke, the enthusiastic pops conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra, told the quartet that they should perform with symphony orchestras.

Tonight, after 17 such concerts around the country, The Midtown Men, Reinke, and the NSO joined for the 1st of 2 nights of offerings of nostalgic 60s songs arranged especially for orchestra at the Kennedy Center.

Obviously, the clapping crowd loved the 8 Four Seasons songs performed, as well as a medley of classic Motown hits. But it was the more unique offerings such as "Happy Together" by The Turtles, "California Dreaming" by The Mamas and Papas, and "Time of the Season" by the Zombies (which I chose as song of the night) that really showcased the strong harmonies and versatility of the former Broadway stars.

The orchestra also had its moments to shine. As the show opener, the NSO performed an extended instrumental version of "On Broadway," which was arranged by Reinke and featured several solos from orchestra members. It might also have been the 1st time in NSO history when they played the horn- driven opening of Sam and Dave's classic "Hold On, I'm Coming" to bring The Midtown Men to the stage.

But the real highlight for the NSO was a world-premier performance of an especially commissioned medley of the 5 songs - "I Want to Hold Your Hand," "All My Loving," "Till There Was You,""I Saw Her Standing There" and "She Loves You" - which the Beatles played 50 years ago on their first appearance of the Ed Sullivan Show, a show which was watched by a then-record 70 million viewers. (Did we like it - yeah, yeah, yeah).

After the Motown medley, which included a stellar version of The Temptations "Just My Imagination," The Midtown Men closed the show with the Frankie Valli chart-topper "Oh, What a Night (December, 1963). Hearty applause brought the group back for an encore of The Four Seasons' "Bye, Bye Baby (Baby Goodbye).

Extra! Extra! Read All About It

Setlist for Sensational Show with The Midtown Men 
backed by The National Symphony Orchestra
If You Can Get Tickets for Tonight's Show, Go

1st Set
  • On Broadway (NSO under direction of Steven Reinke)
  • Working My Way Back to You Babe
  • Breaking Up Is Hard to Do
  • Let's Hang On
  • Can't Buy Me Love
  • Happy Together
  • Ain't That Peculiar
  • Dawn (Go Away)
  • Up on the Roof
  • Time of the Season
  • Cry for Me (from Jersey Boys)
  • Big Girls Don't Cry
  • Sherry
  • Ain't No Mountain High Enough
2nd Set
  • Ed Sullivan Welcomes the Beatles (NSO)
  • River Deep Mountain High
  • California Dreaming
  • Can't Take My Eyes Off of You
  • Motown Medley
  • Oh, What A Night (December, 1963)
  • Bye, Bye Baby (Baby Goodbye)

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