MILLBURN, NJ – Rehearsals are well under way for the new production of the original musical comedy “The Other Josh Cohen” at the Paper Mill Playhouse, and South Orange resident Vadim Feichtner is serving double-duty as both a member of the cast and as music director.
Feichtner has been an acclaimed theater musical director for years, and said the creators of “The Other Josh Cohen” surprised him when they asked him to be in it as well.
“We were talking at the New York Musical Theater Festival, and when they offered me the job, they said, ‘We have kind of a weird situation and we don’t know what to do. We want you to be the Musical Director, but we think you’ll also be talking a little bit,’” Feichtner said. “And later, looking at it with my wife, I thought, wait, there are a lot of lines here.”
In fact, over the course of the show, Feichtner plays six different characters. He laughed when he said that he has not had a speaking role since high school. All the other musicians in the production also play characters in the show. Feichtner said that it would be a spoiler to explain further, but that it all comes together beautifully.
The show began its life at a very small off-Broadway theater in New York, but the production was shut down in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. The team was searching for a new venue for the show when the opportunity at the Paper Mill arose. Feichtner said they are excited to see how the show plays in a much larger house.
“The Paper Mill Playhouse is such a great venue,” he said. “And still being in the New York market will keep the show in the eye.” He described the show as “a chamber musical about a guy who is always trying to do the right thing and find love at the same time, a beautiful romantic comedy.”
The commute from South Orange to Millburn will be a welcome change for Feichtner. “Living in South Orange is the best,” the Cleveland native said. “It’s what I’ve been waiting for. We were trapped in New York City, and we wanted to get out. We wanted a lawn. Now I have room for my toys and the dog can run around. It’s really as good as it gets.”
Feichtner served as the Musical Director of the Broadway production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Off-Broadway his work was seen in Little Miss Sunshine, Elegies: A Song Cycle, Infinite Joy, The Burnt Part Boys, Ordinary Days, I Sing! His writing credits include: Lincoln Center Songbook’s Songs of Innocence and Experience and incidental music for New York Public Theatre’s As You Like It (both written with William Finn).
The Other Josh Cohen will be performed eight times a week, Wednesday through Sunday, from February 19 – March 16. Performance Schedule: Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m., Thursdays at 1:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 1:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sundays at 1:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets are on sale now and range from $27 to $98. Tickets may be purchased by calling 973-376-4343, at the Paper Mill Playhouse Box Office at 22 Brookside Drive in Millburn, or online at www.papermill.org.