Sometimes doing the right thing pays and other times it doesn’t. What’s the right way to go when temptation is waved at you? The show “The Other Josh Cohen,” now playing until March 16, 2014 at Millburn’s Paper Mill Playhouse, is providing its answer to those age old questions. Although it is a smaller production than theater goers are used to seeing at the Paper Mill, there is enough entertainment value to make this show well worth going to see.
“The Other Josh Cohen” had its beginnings at the New York Musical Theater Festival and then moved Off-Broadway to the Soho Playhouse in New York City. It should come as no surprise that the show has enjoyed the success it has because seeing it at the Paper Mill Playhouse demonstrates how it appeals to a wide audience.
After a rather quietly played plot twist to start the show, we meet Josh Cohen and the narrator who depicts the Josh Cohen of a year from the time period being shown in the play. Is he the other Josh Cohen? It would be unfair to reveal that here because the storyline unfolds in a far better manner than just reading that answer! One becomes invested in seeing how Josh Cohen succeeds and overcomes all the adversity he has been subjected to. But along the way, he has to deal with old girl friends, old hang ups, and how to solve a rather pressing issue that has a bit of a moral dilemma involved. However, thanks to his supportive family and fate, he ends up with the answers that feel right to him.
The book, music, and lyrics for this show were written by David Rossmer, who plays Josh Cohen, and Steve Rosen who plays narrator Josh Cohen. Their enthusiastic performances as well melodic singing voices are the cornerstone of the show. The music is rock-oriented and viewers of different generations will enjoy it. There's even a bit of a salute to the music of Neil Diamond who seems to have made quite an impression on Josh and friends. The songs tell their story, but they also have good melodic tunes.
The show which is directed by Ted Sperling also includes a cast of very versatile performers. Hannah Elless, Kate Wetherhead, Vadim Feichtner, Ken Triwush, and Cathryn Salamone all are credited with descriptions such as playing “a bunch of older people,” or “a lot of people.” The number of costume changes for some of these actors is amazing to see as they become new characters right in front of your eyes. A few of them also play in the onstage band. A tight cohesion of human resources is well played out through this show and most enjoyable to watch.
There are only about two weeks left to see “The Other Josh Cohen” at the Paper Mill Playhouse. The show runs 90 minutes with no intermission and performances are held Wednesday – Sunday with matinees on Thursday, Saturdays, and Sundays as well as evening performances. Visit www.PaperMill.org for more information about buying tickets for this show. To see a video of show highlights, visit this page on www.LetsGototheTheater.wordpress.com.