The L’s Mary Block went to The Made-Up Musical at the Magnet Theater last Friday. Here’s what she thought.
The Magnet Theater’s Made-Up Musical is never the same twice, but a night of comedy with this band of voracious improvisers is a pretty safe bet on a Friday night. Enormously funny John O’Donnell starts the night off with a suggestion from the crowd (Last Friday O’Donnell asked if anyone had grown up in a strange place—someone suggested Miamiâ€¦) and then he and seven other performers concoct a dramatic story using the hallmarks of swoony, croony Broadway musicals. The skilled performers pick up silent cues and fall into swaying chorus lines, echoing the choruses of the over-the-top love, hate, and revenge songs that their castmates and accompanist Frank Spitznagel have just made up.
On Friday night O’Donnell opened with a salsa number about a famous Miami seafood restaurant where they "treat the locals like the resurrected Christ" and serve out-of-towners the equivalent of Bumble Bee tuna. When a new waiter (Scott Glover) accidentally serves frozen shellfish to a mob boss wife, he’s sent to the beach with a trap and catches "stoned crab" Gerald (Louis Kornfeld, whose ability to fire out clever one-liners while maintaining a drippy lovability is impressive). Gerald is torn away from his stoner girlfriend Beth (Robin Rothman), and must convince the wait staff to let him claw his way back to her through the power of song. Of course none of this is relevant—last Friday was the first and last performance of The Ballad of Beth and Gerald—but it’s undeniably impressive that the cast pulled the whole story together and accompanied it with several very funny songs. Some cast members pull more comedic weight than others, but overall The Made-Up Musical is an impressively taut and entertaining evening spent with actors/comedians who do both jobs very well.
The Made-Up Musical
Fridays at 10pm
The Magnet Theater- 254 W 29th St