“The Other Josh Cohen” Show Review by Andrea Santo Felcone

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you could meet your future self? This concept is at the core of a brilliant musical comedy, “The Other Josh Cohen,” now playing Off-Broadway. When the show begins, we meet the two Josh Cohens: Present-day Josh (Steve Rosen) and Future Josh/The Narrator (David Rossmer). They are both wearing their favorite plaid shirt, so the only way to really tell them apart is that Present-day Josh sports a mustache—even he would tell you it’s cheesy–while Future Josh, The Narrator, is a touch more stylized: the mustache is gone, in its place—a rugged 5 o’clock shadow. Future Josh narrates the musical, all while playing guitar (and sometimes violin). This hugely-talented duo is joined on stage by 5 other actors–all play various instruments and a multitude of roles, seamlessly.

The Other Josh Cohen

Steve Rosen and David Rossmer. Photo Credit: Caitlin McNaney.

Present-day Josh is down on his luck in a big way. Josh’s apartment has been robbed, picked clean, everything stolen except one Neil Diamond CD (and “not even the one with the good songs”) and a “hang in there” cat calendar gifted to him by a well-meaning relative. Present-day Josh is a nice guy, a really nice guy, but a nice guy that keeps finishing last. He’s unlucky in life and love. He can’t get a girlfriend (and on the rare occasion when he does, he can’t keep her). The upcoming Valentine’s Day is just a sad reminder of his non-existent love life. He’s a writer who used to turn to writing for comfort, but since that hasn’t worked out either, he has resorted to “eating his feelings”. Perhaps the last straw, the Bundt cake he reserved for his Valentine’s Day emotionally-charged eating binge, was also stolen.

Future Josh, with his slightly fitter physique and cooler facial hair, promises a brighter future, but current Josh can’t see how that will happen when everything is going from bad to worse. His cell phone dies–it was like the “Menorah of phones,” lasting for about a week. (It dies because the charger was stolen). A promising exchange with an attractive girl (discovered while he’s searching for discounted Valentine candy) reveals—she’s engaged. To top it off, Josh is broke.

Life seems set against him. He can’t figure why the robber would single him out—none of the inventory from his eBay-selling-obsessed neighbor (who eventually loans him her extra Darth Vader landline) was stolen. When will he catch a break? And then, when you almost believe all is lost, Josh receives a check in the mail in the amount of $56,000 from a mysterious Cohen, an Irma Cohen. Is his luck about to change? Is this due to Josh’s recent, incessant playing of his Neil Diamond CD? Sequined Neil (played deftly by Kate Wetherhead) appears to Josh, exuding “cool,” helping Josh find a stronger version of himself through toe-tapping numbers like, “Neil Life” with a chorus that repeats: “Neil Life is better than Real Life”. (A catchy tune that—happily–will remain in your head for days.)

The Other Josh Cohen

Kate Wetherhead as Neil Diamond. Photo Credit: Caitlin McNaney.

Josh, being the mensch that he is, feels he must verify why a woman he has never met, this Irma Cohen, would send him a check. Several people in his life advise him to cash the check without questioning, but our Josh (and he’s ours by now) is too scrupulous for that. He calls Irma on that Darth Vader phone. What follows is a very tightly-written storyline, with a twist you won’t see coming. I won’t spoil what happens next, but please know this: you owe it to yourself to go see this show and find out for yourself. Simply put: it’s delightful.

I haven’t laughed this hard, this consistently, over a show in … well … possibly ever. The lead Joshes, Rossmer and Rosen, are multi-talented having written the book, the music, the lyrics. They have unbeatable on-stage chemistry. (It’s no wonder as the two have grown up together, having met as youth when at summer camp.) Rosen is adorable in his hapless down-on-his-luck ways: particularly funny is a scene where a misunderstanding leads a woman to think he’s a sleaze. Rossmer as the slightly “slicker” Josh Cohen (and let’s face it we are talking “slightly” here, seeing as he is still wearing the same plaid shirt as his former self) is charming. During our performance, two audience members in one of the front rows, arrived late, and without missing a beat (literally), Rossmer wished them a hearty “hello”. 

Each member of the ensemble cast does an outstanding job shifting between characters and musical instruments. It’s 90 minutes of pure fun. One thing’s for sure, “future you” will thank “current you” for scooping up tickets now. Get them while you can, this is a limited engagement, running through February 24.

The Other Josh Cohen

Louis Tucci, Kate Wetherhead, Luke Darnell, Hannah Elless. Photo Credit: Caitlin McNaney.

For tickets: https://www.telecharge.com/Off-Broadway/The-Other-Josh-Cohen/Overview  Tickets range from $59 – $110.00.

Running time: 90 minutes, no intermission.

“The Other Josh Cohen”: Westside Theatre, Downstairs: 407 West 43rd Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues.

Of note: To accompany this show’s Off-Broadway run, a celebrity-studded, all-star album of “The Other Josh Cohen” has been created which includes such stars as Hank Azaria, Sutton Foster, Brian D’Arcy James, Richard Kind, (and more), featured alongside creators David Rossmer and Steve Rosen. For more about the album: http://yellowsoundlabel.com/.

“The Other Josh Cohen” has been nominated for six Drama Desk Awards and the Lortel Award for Outstanding Musical.

Book, Music and Lyrics by David Rossmer and Steve Rosen.

Director: Tony Award nominee: Hunter Foster.

Supporting Cast: Kate Wetherhead, Louis Tucci, Hannah Elless, Luke Darnell, and Elizabeth Nestlerode.

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  1. 2 Responses to ““The Other Josh Cohen” Show Review by Andrea Santo Felcone”

  2. Glad you enjoyed!!

    By Robin on Nov 22, 2018

  3. Yes, this is a must-see! Thank you!

    By Andrea Felcone on Nov 23, 2018