It all starts with a letter for Josh Cohen. Well, there’s also a robbery that leaves him with nothing but a Neil Diamond CD, but it’s the mysterious mail mix-up that changes the course of Josh’s love life and future in this heartwarming and hilarious musical comedy. Should you see it now Off-Broadway? Absolutely, and here’s why:
1. It’s funny. Be forewarned: your cheeks may start to hurt after smiling through all 90 minutes of this charming production. If the clever, catchy lyrics to songs like “Manly Purple Tie” don’t do it for you, the pop culture references and elaborate Neil Diamond parodies certainly should.
2. It’s got not one but three Josh Cohens. You’ll see two of them on stage at once as the Josh of the future narrates and encourages present-day Josh through the turmoil of being confused with yet another Mr. Cohen. David Rossmer and Steve Rosen, wearing matching plaid shirts to play Joshes 1 & 2, teamed up to write the show’s book, music and lyrics and also starred in the original 2012 production. Tony nominee Hunter Foster came on board to direct this time around.
3. It’s New York-y. The show opens when Josh, an aspiring writer, comes home to find that his tiny New York apartment has been robbed. From there, he navigates adventures any New Yorker can appreciate, like dealing with a quirky building super and shopping at good old Duane Reade for discount candy.
4. Its actor-musicians will impress you. The five ensemble performers (cast as “A Bunch of People,” “A Lot of People” and “A Bunch of Other People”) move effortlessly across multiple roles and play all kinds of instruments—drums, violin, keytar—throughout the show.
5. Its staging puts you close to the action. At the Westside Theatre’s intimate downstairs space, you’ll have a close-up of the actors whether they’re on stage or playing in the aisles. Keep an eye on the stage as you take your seat; Josh’s story begins to unfold even before the musical’s first notes are played.
The Other Josh Cohen runs at the Westside Theatre through April 7.