Fynsworth Alley: 10 Questions with Doug Cohen

Originally published on Fynsworth Alley.

Doug Cohen

How did you get involved in writing for theatre?

The first theater song I ever wrote was in the fifth grade. We were doing Humperdink’s Hansel and Gretel and I was cast as The Sandman. Essentially, he gets one solo and you never see him again. I had a really nice voice, so I was crushed that I didn’t get Hansel. But instead of bemoaning my fate, I invented the role of a Narrator/Troubador and wrote a song for him to sing which “opened” the show. And my teacher actually let me perform it!

I also used to write lyrics for mock court cases in the sixth grade. I remember having to present a case opposing abortion and writing (to the tune of “Over The Rainbow”), “Somewhere deep in her stomach small and sweet…there’s an innocent baby someday I’d like to meet.” It may not have been up there with the lyrics of Larry Hart, but I never lost a case!

I turned to more serious writing at Amherst College when I decided to write book, music, and lyrics to a contemporary musical fantasy loosely based on Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I also produced, directed, and performed in it. (It was either that or writing a senior thesis devoid of internal rhymes!) I loved the experience and decided to move to New York after graduating where I joined the BMI and ASCAP Musical Theatre Workshops. Continue reading