A group of guys from around the country all named Josh Cohen recently got together to watch a matinee of The Other Josh Cohen in New York City.
The musical speaks to a lot of people, but perhaps these guys more than others.
There’s Josh Cohen from Mahopac, N.Y.; Joshua A. Cohen from Las Vegas; Joshua C. Cohen from Los Angeles; Josh N. Cohen from Brooklyn; and Joshua H. Cohen from Manhattan.
All of the guys connected on Facebook after Joshua A. Cohen couldn’t find his own profile one day because of all the other Josh Cohens out there. It’s basically the John Smith of Judaism. To coordinate, he created a Facebook group: The Josh Cohen Club.
“We’re trying to form humanity’s first super Josh Cohen,” Joshua A. Cohen jokes.
Most of the Joshes were tickled to learn about a hit show that shares their name. Except Joshua H. Cohen — he was a little suspicious when he first heard about the show.
“There are certain rhymes between the story of the show and my actual life,” Joshua H. Cohen says.
Joshua H. Cohen is a talented writer. So is the one in the play. They both went to New York University. They both have a great-grandfather named Samuel, who gets a song in the play. And there’s more.
“The Josh Cohen in the musical winds up with — after a long drought of dating — a music teacher named Diane. My wife, who I met after a long dating drought, is a music teacher named Anne,” Joshua H. Cohen says.
There was reason to be suspicious. Joshua H. Cohen had gone to summer camp with both of show’s writers, Steve Rosen and David Rossmer.
“He was in my bunk,” Rosen says.
But it doesn’t end there.
“When we first started the show, we got a call from a friend from summer camp where Steve and I met,” Rossmer says. “He says, ‘I just wanted to ask you why you wrote a musical about me without telling me.’ “
That caller wasn’t Joshua H. Cohen. It was yet another Josh Cohen, who also went to camp with them. Rossmer and Rosen reassured the caller the show wasn’t about him.
“I said, ‘Josh, you’re an acquaintance. We like you, but I don’t know you that well. Of course we would never write a musical about you and not tell you,’ ” Rossmer says.
After thinking about it, Joshua H. Cohen realized the same. He now gives the musical an unqualified endorsement — and really, who is more qualified to endorse it?
“I loved the show. It was true to life in every way,” Joshua H. Cohen says.
“The show is like a horoscope, and anyone who reads it thinks it relates to them,” Rossmer says. “That’s just great. I think it’s great.”
We all want to feel like our story is special, unique. Maybe it’s not — and maybe that’s OK. Because that also means no matter how broke you are or broken you feel, you’re really not alone. It just takes getting a musical named after you — or maybe not — to realize it.