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Make 'Em Ups

Magnet Theater improvisers begin run of musical theatre style improvisation

Pictured: John O'Donnell, Michael Martin.

Continuing its bid to become the center of musical improv in New York, Magnet Theater began a run of “Made Up Musical,” a show featuring seven of its regular players, on December 4.

Following on the heels of the theater’s Musical Improv Festival last month (see review, 11/8/09), this performance held true to the idea of doing an improvisation that includes musical genre style songs in the action as the players found the humor in their characters and situations throughout.

The ensemble for this edition of the show included Alex Marino, Michael Martin, John O’Donnell, Morgan Phillips, Justin Moran and, on piano, Frank Spitznagel. The group took a suggestion they requested, for a story or anecdote about an audience member’s hometown, which turned out to be Andover, Mass. They then built layers of a play that pitted Chaim, a Jewish immigrant candy store owner, against Marino’s ‘Cotton,’ a xenophobic townie, in a plot with stakes that escalated (as they should).

The group dynamic definitely allowed for some star turns throughout the show, with Martin getting many occasions to show off his vocal chops, Phillips playing an anachronistic version of Ted Kennedy that was somehow a natural fit in the proceedings, what with all the Boston accents flying around, and O’Donnell serving as de facto ringmaster and narrator.

As you can hopefully see from this brief synopsis, the players of Made Up Musical have a rapport and a gift for entertaining within the framework of musical theatre-style improv.

“Made Up Musical” returns at 10 p.m. Fridays December 11 and 18.




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