Off Book: The Improvised Musical Podcast

Off Book: The Improvised Musical

A Music podcast featuring Jessica McKenna and Zach Reino
 6 people rated this podcast
It takes years for a Broadway musical to hit the stage, but on OFF BOOK: The Improvised Musical, you get a brand new original musical every week! Each episode, Jessica McKenna, Zach Reino and a special guest create a new musical on the spot.

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135 episodes
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With a variety of musical podcasts cropping up, Earwolf decided to get in the game with their brand of comedy thrown in for good measure. Off-Book is a delightful mix of zaniness, skill and relative celebrity. Hosts Jessica McKenna and Zach Reino invite a different comedy-related guest on for each episode, and the first part of the show consists of a brief informal interview in the style of Nerdist. After enough time elapses for source material to surface, McKenna and Reino proceed to use some tidbit of biographical information from the guest to perform an improvised musical. It's surprising how coherent each episode tends to be, with a plot that builds naturally and a resolution that doesn't seem very forced. I do enjoy the depth of a lengthy interview every now and again, but Off-Book provides a little bit of that shooting-the-breeze feel while not lingering too long. The riffing also feels more justified, as it serves a story rather than purely the ego of the joke-maker. In the pair of episodes I sampled with Drew Tarver and Jamie Denbo, the guests also proved remarkably up for the task (though I suppose they wouldn't have been invited if they didn't possess some talent for improv). In addition to being a pretty novel genre, the improv-musical podcast splits the difference between an interview and a highly produced fictional show. There aren't installments, which makes the hour-long episodes palatable in one-off fashion without the need to commit for a whole series. It was nice to hear something so unique that manages to borrow from other existing forms while maintaining a sense of novelty, and I've willingly subscribed to the feed.

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    Podcast Details
    Jan 1st, 1980
    Latest Episode
    Jan 21st, 2020
    Release Period
    No. of Episodes
    Avg. Episode Length
    About 1 hour

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