By Ryan Shea
Looks like NYC Is Gonna get A Lot Hotter Thanks To Jeff Timmons
Jeff Timmons is known for many things. Outside of having a great singing voice and being in one of the biggest boy bands of all time, 98 Degrees, he is also a scorchingly handsome guy who has kept the ladies (and some dudes, keep it real) screaming for almost twenty years. Now he has taken a formula of singing and good looks and put it to the test with “Men Of The Strip”, a musical male revue show are embarking on a North American promotional tour through early 2014 and filming a docu-series before making a home on the Las Vegas Strip next year.
The show is coming to New York City tomorrow night at The Gramercy Theater, where you will get the chance to see these guys up close and personal. The show features songs by Jeff and choreography by Emmy-nominated Glenn Douglas Packard (did shows for Pink, Usher, Ricky Martin, Whitney Houston, etc) which will be performed by Men of the Strip cast members. I got to sit down with Jeff this past weekend to talk about his professional endeavors with this company and what he is ultimately hopeful for with Men Of The Strip. Take a look.
What made you want to get involved with a project like this?
Well, a couple of years back when 98 Degrees was on hiatus, I was asked to emcee a Chippendales show in Las Vegas. My initial response was, “Hell No”, but my wife said that it is a real show with real production value and you should check it out. When I saw it, I was in the back of the theater hoping no one saw me in here. However, after I saw the show and saw how crazy the women went, I did a complete 180 and thought how I wanted everyone to see me in there. It is an older brand that has a stigma to it, so what I wanted to do was something that had a younger and fresher element to it with the proper help. I teamed up with Glen Douglas Packard, who has choreographed for the likes of Michael Jackson and Ricky Martin, and tried to develop a concept of a sexier and cooler male revue.
What kind of vibe does it have, is it more on the lines of “Magic Mike” and “Chippendales” or is it something different?
Well for one, the choreography in “Magic Mike” is vastly different from the choreography in “Chippendales”. The ones in “Magic Mike” are all really good dancers, and not to take anything away from the “Chippendale” dudes but theirs is very basic. Just your a-type bodybuilders moving around on a stage. The cats that we picked can dance and sing. They aren’t just good looking guys but very charismatic as well. We really were very particular on who we picked for the brand, not just for the stage show but for the TV series we are doing as well. We need those types of personalities that would translate into the television world.
How did you incorporate this being a musical into something like a male revue? Was it challenging?
The show is about obviously tantalizing women’s fantasies, and not just stripping. Coming from someone who was in a boy band, even though we didn’t consider ourselves one, we know what it is like to be sexy singers on stage and what it does to girls and their reactions and whatnot. We had to make sure that these guys knew how to sing, albeit acapaella , as a group, whatever. We got some talented guys that not just looked the part but can sing and really entertain the audience on a much larger scale.
How excited are you about the show in NYC on Tuesday? Do you have anything special planned for the NYC folks?
We have a couple of special guests coming. A couple of celebrities we’ve invited. We’ve been doing a station wide tour, and it has been somewhat of a “Grass Root” type thing similar to what we did with 98 Degrees with traveling in a Winnebago to some cool places and some not so much. Before these guys get on TV and have that kind of a life, I wanted them to experience the road life. We’ve gone to small places where we have had 20 people and we have gone places where its been sold out with 1600 people, so it really runs the gamut.
As for the New York show, I find that New York is truly where 98 Degrees made it big, even though we are from Cleveland. So I am really excited for the New York show and we have a bunch of people and press coming. Just really looking forward to seeing what happens.
You are filming a docu-series on this. What will it profile in particular?
It is going to start with a 90 minute movie instead of a pilot and will probably going to come out in May or June to coincide with our launch in Vegas. It will be something behind the scenes as opposed to what you would normally see in front of the scenes. Of course the show is going to be amazing and will have great production value, but we are focused on the guys. From how they get along with each other to the everyday struggles with girlfriends and wives and going to school and some of them being playboys, that is all a catalyst for craziness. That is what was so fascinating to me when I hosted the “Chippendales” is that they are all great guys and have these outside lives which will be the central of this television show.
What has been the craziest thing you have seen so far since you started this whole thing?
Well I would tell you, but you can’t print that kind of stuff. I mean we have had women and men chasing us, traveling from city to city. They already have their groupies in hand, so that is pretty great for something that is starting off so fast.
What are you ultimate hopes for “Men Of The Strip”, and ultimately your career in the future?
I think this could be a really mainstream brand. Of course I love my music and I will go back on tour with 98 Degrees soon, but I think this is really cool with how “Magic Mike” is so popular now. It used to be something that was so taboo for women that is now becoming more successful, so I would love to see this become huge worldwide and the same type of thing for the guys as well. Just want to see this be a huge accomplishment, that’s all.
One final thing- most people around my age group of course grew up with 98 Degrees and saw your group make a rousing return this summer with “The Package Tour”, but it is tough for boy bands to have longevity. What advice would you give to the up and coming ones right now?
I think the important thing that we didn’t know because we were working so hard was to have fun with it. Hard work is necessary of course, but always surround yourself with good people and the experience will be that much better.
Sounds like it is going to be a good time had by all. Check out their main website for more information and if you would like to come to what seems to be the hottest show in New York City then stop by the Gramercy Theater tomorrow night for some fun and debauchery.