Oscar E Moore

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THE OTHER JOSH COHEN – a clever, joyous off-Broadway mensch-ical

November 14th, 2018 by Oscar E Moore

Finally, a respite from mediocrity.  A relief from rap and unrelenting horrible headlines.  A Rolaids-like cure for indigestible musicals can be found at the Westside Theatre/Downstairs in this very clever, tuneful and bouncy 90 minute escapist journey through the maze of Josh Cohen’s downtrodden yet uplifting, amazing life as he attempts to find love and do the right thing with integrity and honesty.  In other words being a “mensch.”

Actually there are two of him.  A case of double vision as the saga unfolds with the present Josh as a balladeer retelling what happened to him a year ago as we see the past Josh facing up to the fact that his apartment has been stripped of his most prized possessions including a Bundt cake resting in his fridge.  He is without a girlfriend, brokenhearted and broke.  Facing Valentine’s Day alone.  Again.  With only a Neil Diamond CD and kitty-cat calendar left behind by the robber.

They are dressed identically.  The narrator Josh (David Rossmer) is upbeat.  The past Josh (Steve Rosen) isn’t, a bit heavier and has a mustache.  They make beautiful music together.  In fact, they are both responsible for the very funny book, catchy music and spot on lyrics to this delightful modern morality tale superbly directed with minute attention to every detail by Hunter Foster.

If it is a bit slow to get started – after all they have to set up his character and loveless situation – it goes into high gear with the arrival of a check for 56,000 thousand dollars made out to Josh Cohen from an Irma Cohen in West Palm Beach Florida.

We might be one step ahead of the authors at this point after all the title of the show in THE OTHER JOSH COHEN but once the check arrives the authors are two, three and four steps ahead of us all to our great amusement as they zanily steer us through the maze of seemingly endless characters that Josh has to contact in order to decide what the right thing is to do regarding the check.

All the other characters are superbly rendered by the five versatile cast members who also play various instruments, sing backup and wear great wigs as they scamper around the stage in this very entertaining production.

They are Kate Wetherhead, Luke Darnell, Elizabeth Nestlerode, and scene stealers Louis Tucci (Josh’s dentist dad) and Hannah Elless (as Aunt Bea) – all doing justice to the almost stereotypical collection of characters that include Darth Vader and Neil Diamond.

For those feeling unloved and lonely and perhaps feeling that the world is against you and that fate has dealt you an unkind deck of cards you may discover the real underlying problem is you and that your outlook may need an adjustment.  In other words be a mensch.

Go.  Be kind and be honest and optimistic – don’t give up and it will turn out just fine.  If this sounds a bit Pollyannaish.  So be it.  Absolutely nothing wrong with that.  It’s the right thing to do.

Through February 24th 2019


Photos:  Caitlin McNaney

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