Theater Review: The Made-Up Musical

by |
07/01/2008 12:01 PM |

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 Miami…) 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
$7.00

7 Comment

  • is it just me, or does this review make you want to rollerblade from miami with a jambox pumping house beats to see what they’ll “make up” next?

  • it is just you, I think

  • This one sounds good, but I saw one on a different night that is still making me laugh – it was a trippy period musical that was alternated between a woman in the 1850’s trying overcome gender discrimination and take control of her ailing father’s factory, and in the 1950’s where a black man was trying to overcome discrimination and marry the great granddaughter of the woman from the 1950’s… and in an awesome merge of styles, it climaxed in a totally surreal time warp where both suffering characters give each other advice and encouragement, and even have a moment of romance. It was brilliant, and sung beautifully, and will never be seen again…

  • This one sounds good, but I saw one on a different night that is still making me laugh – it was a trippy period musical that was alternated between a woman in the 1850’s trying overcome gender discrimination and take control of her ailing father’s factory, and in the 1950’s where a black man was trying to overcome discrimination and marry the great granddaughter of the woman from the 1950’s… and in an awesome merge of styles, it climaxed in a totally surreal time warp where both suffering characters give each other advice and encouragement, and even have a moment of romance. It was brilliant, and sung beautifully, and will never be seen again…

  • Steve and Mark said the same thing.

  • I saw one like two months ago that was brilliant. They interviewed an audience member about where she grew up and she basically said that she hung out at the parking lot of the mall, and never hung out with the kids from across the creek. Then the cast did this hilarious set up of the parking lot and sang a really exciting song about each really boring aspect about hanging in a parking lot. Then they set up a forbidden romance thing with a kid from across the creek. But the creek was this surreal H P Puffinstuff world where the Creek King ruled with an iron fist and played upon the fears of the rich kids. It was really funny. Yeah, some of the performers are stronger than the others, but the strong ones are super strong and the weaker ones are good enough. I plan to see it again.

  • If you want to see good musical improv, see Baby Wants Candy. They are the best. Bar none.