Most musicians would dream of a steady gig playing in the orchestra of some of Broadway's biggest shows.
But for a while, Mike Boschen, of Cape May, grew tired of just such a life and walked away from it.
Boschen received his undergraduate degree from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y. He received a graduate degree from the Juilliard School in New York. By the late 1990s he was a Broadway regular, playing trombone in such shows as "Cats," "Jekyll and Hyde," "The Full Monty," "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" and "South Pacific."
Boschen, 40, worked steadily because he could play alto, tenor and bass trombone, but eventually, he grew tired of it.
"I was feeling like I'm done playing in the pit. I'm done playing in the dark, being inside all the time. I want to be outside more," said Boschen, who was married and had his first child when he retired from Broadway in 2008.
Boschen and his family traveled across the country for a year before returning to the East Coast to settle in Cape May. They eventually opened Bliss Homemade Organic Ice Cream and Bliss organic coffee shop in West Cape May.
When Boschen made his home in Cape May, he used to sit in with the late jazz pianist George Mesterhazy at the Merion Inn.
Boschen returned to Broadway after he was offered a job playing in one of the biggest musicals to hit New York this season.
"The contractor for 'Matilda' was one of the guys that I played in the pit with for 'The Full Monty' in 1999," said Boschen. His friend offered him the trombonist gig for "Matilda" and Bischen accepted it.
Boschen stays with a friend in New York City as he plays six shows between Wednesday and Sunday and is in Cape May the rest of the week.
"It's a really great score for me to play. I have a lot to play. I cover the whole range on my instrument, which is great. I'm playing tenor trombone and bass trombone. I have some really low bass trombone stuff. I've got some really high tenor trombone stuff, and a lot of stuff in the middle," said Boschen. The musician said "Matilda" is his favorite of all the Broadway shows he has played for.
Bill Winter, 65, of Wildwood Crest, plays the trombone and has heard Bochen jam many times with Mesterhazy and his trio at the Merion Inn.
"He is just phenomenal at what he does. He can walk into any venue with any type of music scenario. It could be jazz, traditional jazz, and he knows it, and he can do it," said Winter, who plans to see Boschen perform on Broadway in "Maltida" next month.
For his part, Boschen is enjoying his return to Broadway.
He was, however, a little upset that "Matlida" did not win best musical during the Tony Awards held earlier this month.
"Kinky Boots," which won best musical, earned six Tonys Awards compared to the five awards for "Matilda The Musical."
"What I think is really cool is everybody involved in the show really felt like we are the best musical and we have the best actors and the best orchestrations and the best book and everything," Boschen said. "Even though we didn't win all those things in the categories, people still feel that way about the show as far as the quality."
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