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
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
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.