The Arty Semite

Three Josh Cohens Just Aren't Enough

By Curt Schleier

“The Other Josh Cohen” may be the reason they invented off-Broadway. On the face of it, this clever and original musical about fate and Jewish guilt may seem too slight for the Great White Way. But in truth, it is witty and smart and far more entertaining than many of the projects that open (and usually quickly close) on Broadway.

There are actually three Josh Cohens in the production. One lives in the present, as a narrator played by David Rossmer (who co-wrote book, music and lyrics). His doppelgänger, played by Steve Rosen (the other co-writer), is Cohen of a year ago.

The problem is that a little over two years ago, the doppelgänger came home and discovered his apartment had been robbed. Everything was gone, from his computer to the cake he’d left in the refrigerator to his sole porno DVD, “Oversexed Injury Lawyers.” The only thing left behind was a CD, “Neil Diamond III,” which is certainly not his best material.

Cohen feels like the burglary is the final insult. It started in grade school, when Betsy refused his entreaties because he had cooties, and continued in high school when Jen turned him down because the poem he sent her “made me think of Shel Silverstein, which is perfect if I was 13.”

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