Cohen, Gary P. 1952-

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Cohen, Gary P. 1952-


Born March 11, 1952, in New York, NY; children: Zachary. Education: Hofstra University, B.A.


Office—Plays in the Park, Middlesex County Department of Parks and Recreation, P.O. Box 661, New Brunswick, NJ 08903. E-mail—[email protected]


Writer and stage producer. Cranford High School, Cranford, NJ, theater director, c. 1987—. Middlesex County Department of Parks and Recreation, producing director for Plays in the Park; Celebration Playhouse, cofounder.


Community Theater Handbook, Heinemann (Portsmouth, NH), 2003.

The Theater Director's Primer, Heinemann (Portsmouth, NH), 2005.

Author of libretto (with Jeffrey Jackson) for the musical play "Frankenstein the Musical," composed by Mark Baron.


Gary P. Cohen told CA: "After thirty-five years of working in community, regional, and high school theater, I decided that it might benefit others to learn from my experiences."

Cohen later told CA: "After so many years working in the theater as both a director and producer, and occasionally as an actor, lighting designer and set designer, I had formed so many opinions on what to do (and what not to do) in creating theater on the amateur and semiprofessional level, I would try my hand at writing down my experiences. I found the process enjoyable and, from what readers have told me, I had somewhat of a knack for it. My writing process for the two books was first stream of consciousness, and then, organizing everything to make sense. The writing process for the musicals was far more straightforward—I'd start at the beginning with the script, and when I got to a song I'd collaborate with the composer. Once there was a foundation for the song, I'd go back to the script.

"The hardest part of writing a book, and thus the most surprising I suppose, was the constant need for checks and balances. It was an ongoing process to make sure I wasn't being repetitious, that similar thoughts and subjects were grouped together and properly, and that the books weren't too pedantic, preachy or stuffy, or, on the other hand, weren't too flip or silly. The hardest part of writing a musical or play was having to change so much of it after each and every staged reading or performance!

"Having only written two books and two musicals, I don't have a favorite. Or maybe they are all favorites!

"It would be nice if a budding director or producer avoided some pitfalls by learning from my mistakes."



Frankenstein the Musical Web Site, (September 10, 2005).

Plays in the Park Web Site, (September 10, 2005).