Millburn Doc Puts on a Show with New Musical

Medicine the Musical gives med school a playful spin.

Members of the cast of Medicine the Musical prepare to operate off-Broadway. Below: Dr. Michael Ehrenreich, the brains behind the show.
Members of the cast of Medicine the Musical prepare to operate off-Broadway. Below: Dr. Michael Ehrenreich, the brains behind the show.
Photo courtesy of Yasmeen Anderson

For decades, hospital dramas like Grey’s Anatomy, ER and Scrubs have taken television audiences inside the world of medicine. A new musical by Dr. Michael Ehrenreich, a Millburn-based dermatologist, brings this world to the stage—with a rock ’n’ roll beat.

Ehrenreich toyed with the idea of spoofing the medical school experience while studying at the University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey. “It was really more of a joke,” says the South Orange resident. “I would make up silly songs.”

Dr. Michael Ehrenreich

Dr. Michael Ehrenreich Photo courtesy of Yasmeen Anderson

A theater rookie, Ehrenreich wrote a majority of the book, music and lyrics for Medicine the Musical in a rush of creativity during one week in the summer of 2016. The production follows taskmaster Professor Crutch and his first-year students through the rigors and rigor mortis of med school. “It’s a little bit of an unconventional musical,” he admits. “I don’t come at this from the approach of people who have studied in a musical-theater program.” For instance, the 90-minute show has 25 songs; most musicals have about half that.

Ehrenreich, the medical director of SOMA Skin & Laser in Millburn, initially raised $25,000 for the production through Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns. “The original idea was we’ll just put on whatever show we can for that money,” he says. As the musical evolved into an off-Broadway production with a 10-person cast plus a creative team, Ehrenreich was able to raise more money from additional supporters.

The show has both profound and amusing moments—thanks to some playful cadavers—but ultimately, says Ehrenreich, “I’m looking to entertain people.” He thinks medical students will especially enjoy the show and relate to songs such as “First Year Sucks.”

“Ironically,” he notes, “medical students may have no time to go see it.”

Medicine the Musical runs November 3-18 at the HERE Arts Center in New York City. Tickets cost $45.

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