SETH BISEN-HERSH is a prolific and versatile New York City based musical theatre composer/lyricist and author who works as a pianist, accompanist, musical director, vocal coach and cabaret producer, and also dabbles in acting, singing, comedy and puzzle writing.
Bisen-Hersh grew up in East Brunswick, New Jersey where he started piano lessons at 8 and began composing songs at 13. He graduated from Massachusetts Institute of Technology with two Bachelors degrees (Computer Science and Music); then he completed his Masters in Music Technology at New York University. He began performing in shows in community theatre and summer theatre at a very young age, and was the musical director of EB’s award-winning Children’s Summer Theatre for many years. He directed many independent shows in EB, at MIT and NYU, creating many original revues of standard songs as well as his original ones.
Meaningless Sex premiered at the 2003 New York International Fringe Festival where it won the coveted Audience Favorite Award out of two-hundred shows. The following year in 2004, The Spickner Spin also won the Fringe Festival’s Audience Favorite Award. More to Love which had a successful reading at Theater1010 in July 2009, was featured in the West Village Musical Theatre Festival in June 2014 where it won “Best Lyrics” in its series. Stanley’s Party is a children’s musical based on the popular books, “Stanley’s Wild Ride” and “Stanley’s Party” by Linda Bailey and had a critically acclaimed 6 week production at Manhattan Children Theatre in the Spring of 2010.
Love Quirks is a new musical based on actual events as a group of thirty-somethings explore the bizarre tribulations of love, friendship, and all the blurry lines in-between. It features some of Bisen-Hersh’s most popular cabaret songs, as well as new ones, and a poignant and hilarious book by Mark Childers. The show had a critically-acclaimed, audience-adored 3-week run in 2014 and a wonderful revised reading in 2015. In February 2020, Love Quirks started previews off-Broadway at the St. Luke’s Theater where it suspended performances 3 days before opening night. The production won 4 off-Broadway BroadwayWorld awards including Best Musical Production and Best Score. After 27th months, it triumphantly returned off-Broadway to the AMT Theater where it received rave reviews and ran for 12 weeks. It is now being licensed for productions around the world. Its Off-Broadway cast album is available streaming on all platforms.
Finally, The Diamond as Big as the Ritz has a book by R.C. Staab. Set to the rhythms of early 20th century music, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s comic novella is told through the eyes of young foreign woman seeking to immigrate to the U.S. With Fitzgerald’s deliberate satire involving impossibly wealthy Americans and the author’s cavalier treatment of race issues, the story takes on added comic satire and an edgy, engrossing perspective. A diverse cast of five actors bring to life characters from the present and the 1920s. The show had 2 successful NYC industry readings in 2017 and 2018 and its concept cast recording is available here. The anthemic finale: “Enough Already” was turned into a viral music video starring Mario Lopez and was a finalist in London’s prestigious 2019 Stiles & Drewe Best New Song Prize. It will be returning to New York City for a 3-week run at the ATA Theater September 2024.
Speaking of awards, Seth was the recipient of 2019, 2020, 2022 & 2023 ASCAP Plus Awards.
In 2009, Bisen-Hersh developed two annual concerts of his work starring Broadway performers, where the proceeds went to charity: Broadway Meows for The Humane Society of New York, each July and Broadway Can!, a can collecting concert for City Harvest, each November. In 2018, both concerts held their 10th and final performances.
In 2010, Bisen-Hersh premiered his web series, Every Day a Little Seth which was used as a precursor for a sitcom. Each season features 6 hilarious episodes with songs, stories and cat cameos. The first season premiered in 2010 and the final season, season 5 concluded July 2015. The sitcom pilot of the show was filmed in April 2016, and premiered on October 1st, 2016 here.
In addition, Bisen-Hersh is a published author. In 2015, he published a memoir filled with unabridged journal entries, real emails to friends, therapy recollections, medication analyses, and heart wrenching poems and song lyrics of his dark year of insomnia, anxiety and depression brought on from deep loss entitled Sleep. Write. Now. In 2016, he published his second book Every Page a Little Seth, which is a book of 30 essays tangentially related to the topics of the 30 episodes of his web series. In 2018, he published his third book Millennials are Ruining the World!, a book of humorous essays on the generational divide, which he turned into an audiobook in 2019. His 4th book, The Making of a Musical: the 12 year journey of Love Quirks will be released February 2024. For more information on his books, please visits his Amazon Author Page, here.
Summer of 2019, Bisen-Hersh turned his popular, hilarious third book into a podcast: Millennials are Ruining the World? an Xennial perspective: Real conversations bridging the gap between Generations X & Y, “I’m not woke, but I’m awake”. There are 5 seasons filled with eclectic guests. In addition, summer of 2020 Bisen-Hersh produced and co-hosted a 15 episode first season of a virtual talk show, “What Day Is It!?!”.
In the summer of 2002, Bisen-Hersh made his professional cabaret debut at Don’t Tell Mama with Two Singular Sensations, a battle of the ego through Broadway showtunes, co-starring Rori Nogee. Starting in 2003, Bisen-Hersh began doing nearly annual cabarets of his own material, commencing with solo acts then expanding to ensemble casts. Each cabaret consisted of 16-18 new songs grouped by theme: And Then She Dumped Me (2003), The Gayest Straight Man Alive (2004), Meaningful Sex (2005), Neurotic Tendencies (2006), Why Am I Not Famous Yet? (2007), Writers Block (2008), I’ll Relax When I’m Dead (2010), If Adele Can Do It, So Can I (2013) and Not Your Grandma’s Cabaret (unless she’s really naughty) (2014). In 2020, he released his 10th cabaret, Self-Isolation Song Cycle, virtually: here during the stay at home time of the pandemic.
Bisen-Hersh has played for Broadway auditions, as well as for hundreds of off-Broadway, LORT, summer stock, cruise line, reading, workshop and festival auditions. Furthermore, Bisen-Hersh has been musically directing and accompanying cabarets, readings and showcases in the city since 2003. (Details are available on his resume.) Since 2005, he has served as a vocal coach to actors, giving advice on auditions and building repertoires with the help of the over seventeen hundred CDs he owns. In 2006, Bisen-Hersh began offering Audition and Cabaret workshops and master classes. In 2007, Bisen-Hersh began producing/emceeing/accompanying weekly talent showcases at Don’t Tell Mama and then on Facebook/Youtube Lives in 2020. As of April 2024, he has produced over 800 showcases featuring over 4,500 singers, a dozen of which have gone on to Broadway.
As if that isn’t enough, in 2019, Bisen-Hersh officially launched his performer career. After taking some acting, voiceover and improv comedy classes, he has appeared on a skit on NBC’s “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon”, had a featured role in an indie film, and performed standup at various NYC venues including the prestigious Gotham City Comedy Club.
In his limited spare time, Bisen-Hersh writes puzzles, with 10 being published by mid-2024 including some in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and L.A. Times, all listed here. He also enjoys traveling and has been to 31 countries and 46 states so far. Trip recaps can be found in his Ledger Blog.
He resides in Hell’s Kitchen with his wife and (mostly) loving cat, Joni.
According to his nephew when he was 5: “Uncle Seth is funny!”
And finally according to Stephen Mosher of BroadwayWorld.com: “A musical theater writer, Bisen-Hersh manages to create a clear story in each of his compositions, all of which are theatrical in nature and distinctly character-driven…Mr. Bisen-Hersh has found a voice that is more accessible to audiences than some more famous composers that get overly complicated with their lyrics by placing his focus solely on emotion, be it his, the character’s, the performer’s, or ours. As a poet, he has a knack for looking inside of the human heart and putting what he sees there on paper; indeed, the heart to be found in his work is most easily compared to the work of the late Carol Hall, while his storytelling skills are very reminiscent of the songwriting team of Maltby and Shire, not bad company to be in, in the opinion of this writer.”