Hailed by Jesse Green of The New York Times as “a spontaneously charming musical that is just right for right now.” The Other Josh Cohen is hilarious, endearing and a hummable musical, it was nominated for six Drama Desk Awards and the Lortel Award for Outstanding Musical in 2013. Now its arrived in Denver, and you probably assumed it to be a production on tour making a longish stop, but you would be so wrong. Instead, you’ll find a masterful, and locally produced show, peopled with local actors and musicians.
“A spontaneously charming musical that is just right for right now.” – The New York Times
“I can’t believe I have fallen for a schlub with a cheesy mustache and a Star Wars shower curtain.” – Melissa Rose Bernardo, New York Stage
Ready? OK, quick fire through this… We meet the first Josh Cohen, the narrator, as he explains (in song) that the “other” Josh Cohen, the actor, is still him (you can tell because they are wearing the same shirt) – but a year ago. Enter the second actor in the same plaid shirt, and he acknowledges that he is indeed the “other” Josh Cohen. Josh lives a very unlucky life, and the very first scene, if you arrive before the curtain call is his flat getting ransacked. So, Josh has been robbed, on valentine’s day, his apartment is completely cleared out (except for a Neil Diamond CD), he has never been able to keep a girlfriend, and he just can’t get a break. He’s a down on his luck writer that barely gets work as a temp.
Somehow, Josh maintains his optimism, and hopefulness with the help of future Josh who keeps telling him hang on, that something good is going to happen. Through a complicated series of coincidences and as a testament to his basic humanity, his life will get better, and the other people in Joshes life, all played by just 3 actors, that move through rapid fire costume and character changes, become everyone else in Josh’s life during this fateful year, including even a third Josh Cohen, a porn star, a Jewish grandmother, a kitten, Darth Vader, numerous short lived girlfriends and, yes, you guessed it, Neil Diamond. After all, “Neil life is better than real life.”
In the end, Josh really is a good guy, when it would have been easy for him to take another path, but he didn’t. It’s a 90-minute life-changing laugh-fest that will leave you feeling better about the world.
The Other Josh Cohen is a 2012 musical comedy with book, music, and lyrics by Steve Rosen and David Rossmer, the two workshopped and polished the script for over eight years to get it to its present pristine self. This Denver production is directed and choreographed by Joel Ferrell. The cast includes Brett Ambler as Josh Cohen, Seth Dhonau as Narrator Josh Cohen, Nicole deBree as Several People, Valerie Igoe as A Lot of People, Aaron Vega as A Bunch of People, with Brian Bohlender and Susannah McLeod understudying. The hardest working person on the crew is costumer Meghan Anderson Doyle, who had to create all the character get-ups while making them easy to get in and out of quickly. A. Phoebe Sacks, Stage Manager, and her assistant, Stephanie Holmes, earn kudos for helping make the quick-fire changes work. The Other Josh Cohen creative team includes musical direction by David Nehls, scenic design by Lisa M. Orzolek, lighting design by Charles R. MacLeod, sound design by Maximillion Peterson, and finally Assistant Director and Choreographer Piper Lindsay Arpan.
The Other Josh Cohen began as a few performances at the New York Musical Theater Festival under the title “V-Day” in 2010, before making its premiere in October 2012 at the SoHo Playhouse where it starred Steve Rosen and David Rossmer as Josh and, well, Josh. It was here that the musical was nominated for six Drama Desk Awards in 2013 and the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Musical. The production then transferred to the Paper Mill Playhouse in February 2014 with much of the original cast intact, including Rosen and Rossmer. In 2018 the musical was revived with previews in the Westside Theatre Upstairs, where it ran for six months, and again Steve Rosen, David Rossmer, Hannah Elless, and Kate Wetherhead all returned to their original roles, with direction again by Hunter Foster. It was nominated for the 2019 Off-Broadway Alliance Award for Best Musical Revival.
“Probably going to keep a smile on your face for its 95-minute entirety” – New York Stage
“Brightly bounces along from one upbeat song to another” – New York Stage
Review by Chris Arneson for BroadwayWorld at the Garner Galleria, January 2022.
“Josh Cohen is overweight, can’t get a date, and his apartment was just emptied by a burglar–but that was a year ago, and a lot has improved since then, according to a much healthier and happier-looking Josh Cohen with a guitar. (You know they’re the same because their shirts match.) “The Other Josh Cohen” is a musical that gives you a look at how he got to a better place. The show’s message is pretty easy to follow, they through it right in the lyrics of the opening number–“we’re stubborn jerks ’til we’re ready to listen.” And the former Josh Cohen hasn’t quite figured that out yet.Chris Arneson for BroadwayWorld
While it might be taboo to feature a depressed Josh Cohen who just happens to weigh a little more, to me it was one of the more personally relatable pieces. It’s reasonable to expect that when his life got a little better, he shed a few pounds. What I found to be the most charming was the show’s inherent hopefulness. Even at his worst, Josh Cohen holds onto the hope his story won’t have a tragic ending. It’s the kind of message I feel like a lot of people need to experience at the moment, and what better way than through a musical you’ve probably never even heard of before. You might have had a tough year, but your day is gonna come…at least, it did for Josh Cohen.”