Gay Jewish musician talks Judaism and working for TV

Matthew Loren Cohen, a composer, lyricist and improvisational pianist, will be taking a break from his work in Hollywood to come as one of the guest musicians on today’s Ruach Chayim service at BCC.

1451562_10151906632764678_1684039445_n (1) this year he wrote two songs for the Jon Stewart show on Comedy Central, one of which has collected an A-list moviestar fan for him named George Clooney. “One of the songs I wrote was sung by Stewart’s correspondent Jason Jones as a satirical “Music Man”-style number,” he explains to BCC people, “and the other was performed by the Broadway cast of ‘Jersey Boys.’”

Did you get to work with Jon?

“I did not work with Jon Stewart at all—both pieces were handled by the producers of each segment, and everything went through them. They did make sure to tell me that he was thrilled with both. Even better, the night the Jason Jones piece aired, George Clooney was the guest and on-air called the number “fantastic.” I’ve gotten hundreds of reviews as a performer and composer, and obviously nothing compares to a nationally-viewed rave from George Clooney.”

Cohen was born in Hollywood, Florida, grew up in Boca Raton, and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Florida State University. After college he moved to New York City to work at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and started working on Broadway. He co-created The Next Big Broadway Musical!, a fully improvised musical comedy that garnered numerous awards and critical acclaim, and that is still running as Broadway’s Next Hit Musical. After a few more gigs on Broadway, he relocated to Chicago,and since the beginning of the year has started working in LA. “I actually still live in Chicago!” Cohen reveals, “I moved to L.A. last December and then moved back to Chicago for a job in March. But I made the connection with BCC in December and have played several Ruach Chaims subsequently. I am presently in L.A. for work, and BCC always invites me to play when I’m here, which is wonderful.”

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