OF THE FETUS is a new autobiographical musical written by and starring singer-songwriter
Coby Koehl. Funny, yet intense and moving, it tells the story of a young gay
man, born two months prematurely in Israel, who must overcome obstacles and
naysayers as he finds his own self and the voice that lets it be heard, in other
words, as he learns to survive. It's an empowering story, directed and choreographed
by Vic DiMonda. Musical director is Jonah Spidel.
It's a story of being ripped from
the womb two months prematurely because your mother didn't want to endure the
pain of childbirth, and because she had a party to go to in a couple of weeks
and didn't want to look fat. It goes on to growing up in Israel and America
with a monster of a mother who was married ten times and for whom raising children
was a distraction; of growing up gay; of finding solace in singing and in fantasies
involving icons of popular culture; and, finally, of breaking away from those
fantasies and discovering strength in your own voice.
The show includes approximately
17 songs covering a wide range of styles including contemporary, R&B, gospel
and house music. Music and lyrics are by Mr. Koehl and his long-time collaborator,
Sean Dibble. Arrangements are by Jonah Spidel and Erik Reyes as well as Ken
Kincaid. Additional script development is by Les Gutman, who also serves as
the show's producer/manager. In addition to Coby Koehl and Meredith Cullen,
the show features, in various roles, two gossipy backup singers, Cherie Hannouche
and Natalie Joy Johnson, as well as a number of male characters portrayed by
Matthew R. Wilson and Erik Reyes.
Coby Koehl is a singer songwriter
who has performed numerous times at cabarets in New York (including headlining
at Don't Tell Mama and Rose's Turn a half dozen times), as well as at clubs
like the Tunnel, Limelight, Mother, Stonewall and others. He performed in
Soppin' Juice at Dixon Place and also produced and performed East Infection,
his Sunday Night extravaganza at Flamingo East. Koehl's musical style ranges
to pop, jazz, soft rock, house, alternative, folk, Broadway and standards. He
has done voice over and commercial work including the European campaign for
the fragrance "WISH" for which he supplied both the original composition
and vocals. He can also be heard on numerous dance music recordings.
Vic DiMonda has directed and choreographed
productions of Carousel, High Society, The All Night Strut, The Taffetas, Forever
Plaid and Smokey Joe's Cafe. He has choreographed The Roar Of The Greasepaint..,
Mame, Cyrano.com, Grease, Do I Hear A Waltz?, and The Best Little Whorehouse
In Texas. Each year Vic choreographs The Financial Writers Follies at the New
York City Marriott, Midtown. Other regional credits include Kiss Me, Kate, How
To Succeed.., Peter Pan, Cinderella, The Music Man, West Side Story, Fiddler
On The Roof and A Perfectly Normal Boy. He is an artist-in-residence for the
Metropolitan Opera Guild and spent two years at the Central Park Wildlife Center
as a member of their education department's theatre staff. He is a faculty member
of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, where he teaches Jazz and Theatre
Dance, and at Alvin Ailey, where he teaches Tap. He is also the artistic director
for the Harkness Dance Center's Tap Team.
Musical Director Jonah Spidel has
worked as musical director for The Medium (Actor's Studio), Impossible, Bitch!
(The Duplex), Stages (American Theatre for Actors), The Best Little Whorehouse
in Texas (Actor's Studio), Fantastic Alice (Spotlight), Three Guys Naked
From the Waist Down (University of Oklahoma); conductor/pianist for Trey
Parker's Cannibals (KGB Theatre) and Ophelia (Wings Theatre); keyboardist
for The Music Man (first national, Big League Theatricals); and associate
musical director/pianist for 42nd Street and Guys and Dolls (Lyric Theatre
of Oklahoma), among other shows. He was also the pianist and music arranger
for recordings of Courtin' Time and Stars in Your Eyes, the Balanchine Foundation's "Popular Ballanchine"