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Magnet Theater Blog: News and Ideas about Comedy, Improv Shows & Classes in NYC

Tuesday July 26, 2016, 9:30am - by Magnet Theater

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Part-Time Training Center Assistant (Weekends and Evenings)

We’re looking for a friendly, responsible, and detail-oriented office assistant to open, close, and maintain the Magnet Training Center. Hours are from 6-11pm Monday – Sunday, possible weekend hours before 6pm as well. We’re looking for candidates that can regularly work at least 2-3 shifts a week.

Qualifications:

  • Knowledge of MS Office Suite and Google Apps
  • Ability to to lift 15 lbs.
  • Please be personable, calm, efficient and detail-oriented—and of course, a sense of humor is a plus!

Please send resumes and cover letters to schooldirector@magnettheater.com.

Friday July 22, 2016, 2:38pm - by Magnet Theater

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Announcing the Summer 2016 Circuit teams!

Shows begin TONIGHT, 7/22, at 10PM at the Training Center, and run through September 16.

Austen:
Emily Swindal
Brin Snelling
Michael Stevens
Elan Sofer
Katherine delongpre
Yimin Peng
Teddy Ortega
Grant Goldberg
Coach: Gregg Zehentner

Bronte:
D. Parker Phinney
Chris Bonet
Chloe Metzger
Isha Lambkin
Roman Zelichenko
Jason Singer
Lisa Yapp
Coach: Amanda Xeller

Angelou:
Christopher Pesch
Danielle Wessler
Alexei Bobrowsky
Dorrie Jankowski
Casey Schneider
Evander Duck III
Brendan Jordan
Perri Gross
Coach: Ashley Glicken

Woolf:
Saidah Dunston
Nitya Shekar
Federico Apuzzo
Ashley Toussaint
Virginia Dickens
Moshe Maizels
Andrew Fafoutakis
Kelly Kreye
Coach: Kyle Gordon

Morrison (Musical):
Ryan Kelly
Nick Levya
Mila Milosevic
Erin Richardson
Mallory Schlossberg
Michael Serpe
Coach: Harry Marker

Wednesday July 20, 2016, 7:00am - by Magnet Theater

SVB & Charles Rogers [small] Subscribe with iTunes

Filmmakers and co-creators of the upcoming series Search Party, SARAH-VIOLET BLISS & CHARLES ROGERS, join special guest host Rebecca Robles to talk about about their big projects, the formation of their partnership, and of course, showbiz. Their 2014 film, Fort Tilden, was completed in a single summer and won that year’s SXSW Grand Jury Award. Since then, the duo has written for Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp, Mozart In The Jungle, and their upcoming TBS series Search Party, which they also directed. Join Rebecca as she talks with SV and Charles about their comedy careers, the ethics of media, and much much more.

We kick off this episode with the thrilling reveal that Charles has known our engineer, Grant, since high school and that everyone has been in HAIR. Rebecca introduces us to her very smart and cool friends, Charles and Sarah-Violet. She asks them about what it was like to have their families experience Fort Tilden for the first time and, in general, the feelings that arise when having their work screened. Hear SV and Charles discuss the stress of such situations, and how to celebrate success and vent frustrations in the strange and competitive world of showbiz.

Our guests answer hard-hitting questions like: “Has SV ever done improv???” and “What is Twitter for???” They comment on working with improvisers on set and we hear this dynamic duo’s origin story, which began in a grad program at NYU. Though Rebecca may know something about it already, for our sake, she asks SV and Charles about the magical process of making Fort Tilden and what it was like to move quickly on such a large project. She also wonders how much of  Search Party is influenced by Fort Tilden? Our two visitors talk about addressing ethics and gray areas in their work and how wanting to be seen as “good” is a major theme of Search Party. Plus, they offer thoughts on how social media is best utilized and how people should go about asking for help. It’s all about looking to give and receive love, rather than asking what someone can do for you. That, my friends, is some damn good advice.

Watch Search Party on TBS later this year, ya cuties!! We guarantee you’ll see some familiar Magnet faces. 🙂

Wednesday July 6, 2016, 5:35pm - by Magnet Theater

Magnet TC Logo v3

We’re looking for eager improvisers (prerequisite: completion of Level 1) to participate in warm-ups and exercises run by the students in Armando’s coaching class. All the details are below—but keep in mind that space is limited. Hope to see you there!

When to be available:

— Saturdays —
July 23rd 4p-6pm
July 30th 4-6pm
August 6th 4-6pm
August 13th 4-6pm
August 20th 4-6pm

When to be available:

How to sign up: Fill out this form! http://goo.gl/forms/5Gy3NXw0ubDPeod12

 

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at (212) 244-2400.

Wednesday July 6, 2016, 7:00am - by Magnet Theater

Subscribe with iTunesSummer Bonus 1 - 92

Our intrepid host, Louis Kornfeld, is taking the summer off to explore worlds outside of the Magnet Theater Podcast, but in the meantime, we’ve got Ed Herbstman at the helm, presenting a variety of pieces he’s been eager to share for some time. So kick back and enjoy this first Summer Bonus Episode featuring performances by Peter Grosz, Hannah Chase, Christian Paluck, J.P. Manoux, Rachel Hamilton, Melanie Hoopes, and Ethan Sandler. It’s the perfect little vacation for your ears.

Tuesday July 5, 2016, 10:54am - by Magnet Theater

Ringers Newsletter

Applications are now open for Ringers’ August Show. Ringers is a sketch show for aspiring, eager, and ambitious writers, actors, and directors of the Magnet community – and we want you to be a part of it!

The show will be Sunday, August 21st at 7:30pm.

Below please see the details to apply:

WRITERS:

Ringers is seeking sketches for the stage to showcase in its August show. To have your sketch considered, prior or current participation in Magnet’s Sketch Writing program, Lady Sketch Lab, or Magnet Video Lab is required. You will be required to attend the Table Read on Friday, August 5th from 6:30 – 8:30 as well as the show. Attendance of rehearsals is encouraged, but is not mandatory. We encourage directors and writers to meet up after the table read to go over notes and any revisions prior to the first rehearsal.

*Please note that rehearsals will be held before/after class hours during the week and weekend.*

To apply, please fill out the following form: http://goo.gl/forms/KLIixy4RxOTMzDRZ2 as well as email ringers@magnettheater.com a finished, polished sketch formatted correctly no longer than 5 pages in length. This sketch should also contain little to no tech.

ACTORS:

Ringers is seeking actors to star in its sketches. To be considered as an actor, you must have completed at least Level 4 of Magnet’s Improv Curriculum or Level 2 of the Musical Program. You will be required to attend the Table Read on Friday, August 5th from 6:30 – 8:30, the rehearsals for the sketch(es) you are cast in, and the show.

*Please note that rehearsals will be held before/after class hours during the week and weekend.*

To apply to be an actor for an upcoming show, please fill out the following form: http://goo.gl/forms/vvLveYjEwSotPUz32

DIRECTORS:

Ringers is seeking directors for its August show. To be considered as a director, you must have Big Sib’ed a Sketch Level 2 class or have been on a Magnet Sketch Team. You will be required to attend the Table Read on Friday, August 5th from 6:30 – 8:30, the rehearsals for the sketch(es) you are directing, and the show. We encourage directors and writers to meet up after the table read to go over notes and any revisions prior to the first rehearsal.

*Please note that rehearsals will be held before/after class hours during the week and weekend.*

To apply to be a director for a sketch in an upcoming show, please fill out the following form: http://goo.gl/forms/sPkS9gIGeAYB3Djx1

**The deadline to be considered for Ringers’ August show is Wednesday, July 20th. Announcements will go out Wednesday, July 27th**

For all questions please e-mail Armando Diaz and Amanda Xeller at ringers@magnettheater.com. We look forward to working with you!

Monday June 20, 2016, 3:03pm - by Magnet Theater

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We are now accepting applications for The Summer 2016 Circuit! Circuit Teams are made up of Magnet Theater students, graduates of our training program, and veteran performers. We believe that in order to get better at improv, you need to do it.

The deadline to apply is June 28, 2016 at noon. Teams will be announced July 5. Rehearsals start the weekend of July 9. Shows will begin Friday July 22. Teams will perform Friday nights at 10:00pm for 10 weeks (with one week off for Labor Day weekend).

This round, there will also be a Musical Circuit team! If you have completed Musical Level 3 and are not currently on a Musical Megawatt team, you can contact Michael Lutton at mjlutton@gmail.com for more information.

 

To sign up, click this link to fill out the form:

Questions? Just email circuit@magnettheater.com!

Wednesday June 15, 2016, 5:41pm - by Magnet Theater

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The Magnet Theater is excited to announce that we are now accepting applications for the 2016 Fall/Winter Season of MAGNET SKETCH TEAMS, which will run from September 12th through Jan 30th! Applications are due by Monday, August 1st, at 5pm!

Please read the following application instructions and sketch team participant expectations very carefully – we’ve made some very big changes to the program. Got questions? Come to the Fall 2016 Sketch Team info sessions Wednesday, June 29th at 6pm at the TC.

GENERAL SKETCH SHOW EXPECTATIONS

  • Each team will create one 20-25 minute sketch show every three to four  weeks.

  • All sketch team shows will be on Monday nights at 7:30pm! Two teams will perform in each show.

  • All sketch team shows must contain new, original material written specifically for Magnet Sketch Night that has never been previously performed.

  • Each show will contain the best material created for the team as selected by the director – there is no guarantee that every writer will get a sketch in each show or that every actor will be featured in each show. Funny wins. Them’s the breaks.

  • All sketches will be performed by the team’s ensemble cast of sketch actors. If a particular sketch requires it, the team may use outside casting (writers, other actors) at the director’s discretion.

GENERAL SKETCH TEAM EXPECTATIONS

  • Sketch team members are expected to attend all required meetings and shows and arrive fully prepared. Sketch is time intensive – make sure you can commit 100% and make sketch a priority before applying.

  • Sketch team members must be available 1:30-4:30pm the Sunday before their show for a mandatory tech rehearsal at the theater.

  • Sketch team members may not schedule conflicting appointments (work, rehearsals, shows, etc) during scheduled techs, shows, rehearsals, or meetings.

  • Sketch teams must rehearse with a Magnet approved director. Each individual sketch team member is responsible for paying their director a flat rate of $12/week; team due collection is left to the discretion of the director and team (as it would be for an improv team or practice group).

  • Sketch team members are expected to promote their shows at the theater.

For the Fall/Winter 2016 Sketch Season, you must apply as a writer, performer, or a writer/performer. Expectations, prerequisites, and application instructions for each role are below!

WRITER EXPECTATIONS

  • Writers must attend one 3 hour writing meeting per week, all performance rehearsals of their sketches, and all tech rehearsals.

  • Writers must constantly generate new material and are required to bring in a minimum of one new sketch per week, even during show week.

  • Writers are expected to be respectful and gracious collaborators in writing room. Writers should give and receive feedback to and from their teammates in an open and constructive manner.

  • Writers will be required to rewrite material and meet deadlines as requested by their director.

WRITER  PREREQUISITES

  • Completion of (or current enrollment in) Magnet Sketch Writing Level 2 or previous participation on a Magnet Sketch team (as any role).

  • Equivalent sketch writing experience somewhere else!

WRITER APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS:

Send the following materials to sketchdirector@magnettheater.com with the subject line, “2016 FALL/WINTER MAGNET SKETCH TEAM APPLICATION// WRITER // <YOUR NAME>”.

  • A cover letter detailing relevant sketch experience inside and outside the Magnet community.
  • If your comedy experience is mostly outside of the Magnet Theater, you must provide the email address for a reference.
  • A single PDF of a sketch writing sample. Your sample should contain at least two sketches and may not exceed 10 pages.

PERFORMER EXPECTATIONS

  • Performers must be available for a regularly scheduled 2-3 hour performance rehearsal the week leading up to the show (ex: Sketch Team Fart Police has a performance rehearsal every Tuesday before a show, 7-10pm)

  • Performers must be available for techs, table reads, and any additional rehearsals as required by the director.

  • Performers must learn all show material in a timely manner.

  • Performers may collaborate with writers outside of rehearsals to help create characters and sketches, but performers should not be writing material on their own for shows.

  • Performers must perform sketches as they are written – ad libbing is good in a pinch, but be prepared and don’t put yourself in positions where you must resort to improvisation. Be polished and professional in all shows.

PERFORMER PREREQUISITES

  • Completion of or current enrollment in Level 6 team performance workshop, participation in a past or current Megawatt team, or previous participation in a Magnet Sketch Team (as any role).

  • Equivalent sketch performing experience somewhere else! You must also provide a contactable reference who knows your work well.

PERFORMER APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS:

Send the following materials to sketchdirector@magnettheater.com with the subject line,

“2016 FALL/WINTER MAGNET SKETCH TEAM APPLICATION// PERFORMER // <YOUR NAME>”

  • A cover letter detailing relevant performance experience inside and outside the Magnet community.

  • A headshot

  • A PDF of your acting resume

  • A SINGLE link to a 3-5 minute sample of your work as a performer. This can be a reel, a recording of a stage sketch, a video sketch, a monologue directed at a webcam, anything you feel showcases you as a comedic performer. Youtube or Vimeo preferred. The link can be public, private, or unlisted – just be sure to send passwords if necessary and you may only send one link and the link itself may be no longer than 5 minutes.

You will be informed by Monday, September 8th, if you have been selected to audition in person. In-person auditions will be held on Friday, August 12th, and Saturday, August 13th at the Magnet Training Center. Unfortunately, if you are not available for the above callback dates, you cannot be considered as a performer for the 2016 Fall/Winter Sketch Season.

For the in-person audition, you will perform two contrasting sketches that will be assigned to you and another applicant a couple days prior to the audition. You must be completely off-book and you may rehearse before hand with your scene partner, at your discretion. You will also be asked to cold read sketches in the room.

WRITER/ PERFORMER EXPECTATIONS

  • Writer/performers must meet all writer expectations AND performer expectations.

  • Writer/performers are expected to write for other performers as well as for themselves. There is no guarantee that a writer/performer will perform in all of their own work.

WRITER/PERFORMER PREREQUISITES

  • Writer/performers must meet all writer AND performer prerequisites or previous participation on a Magnet Sketch team (as any role) or equivalent experience somewhere else.

WRITER/PERFORMER APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS

Send the following materials to sketchdirector@magnettheater.com with the subject line,

“2016 FALL/WINTER MAGNET SKETCH TEAM APPLICATION// WRITER/PERFORMER // <YOUR NAME>”

  • All materials detailed in writer application instructions.

  • All materials detailed in performer application instructions.

  • Also, please indicate if you are willing to be considered as a writer or actor ONLY if you are not selected for a writer/performer position. Be completely honest – your preferences will not be held against you!

You will be informed by Monday, August 8th, if you have been selected to audition in person. See performer application instructions above for more info about the audition.

Failure to follow application instructions will keep you from being considered for sketch team. Double check your application!

All applications must be received by 5pm on Monday, August 1st!  

Wednesday June 15, 2016, 7:00am - by Magnet Theater

Scott Lawrie 2Subscribe with iTunes

Founding member of Magnet mainstays The Wrath, SCOTT LAWRIE, tells us how he got into improv, of his time working in broadcast television, and what it means to be “taken care of” on stage. Learn a bit about Scott’s upbringing, his penchant for preparedness, the hallmarks of field production, and his love of The Golden Girls. We love Scott. Scott loves you. And you’ll love Scott after listening to this (if you don’t already). Check it!

Our episode kicks off by discussing Scott’s love of “dream characters” and how he was roped into improv in the first place. A fan favorite on Magnet’s stage, Scott says she started improvising relatively late after getting a career in broadcast news off the ground. He tells of how his predilection for preparation has influenced his life and eventually, his comedy. Taking improv classes got Scott saying “yes” more often and highlighted how numerous shifts in power could be. Looking to dig a bit deeper, Louis asks Scott where his comedic sensibility comes from and identifies two of Scott’s improv trademarks. Scott illuminates some of the advantages of growing up with financial concerns and other life challenges while also discussing with Louis the ideas of awareness in the world and being in touch with oneself.

Venturing into another aspect of Scott’s background, Louis inquires about his career in broadcast journalism and working at NBC. One thing that hooked Scott on the field while he was studying it in college was the ultimate goal of helping people tell their stories. He talks a bit about working as a producer in Las Vegas and then deciding to give NYC a try, which has turned into an 11 year experiment. Getting into the nitty gritty, Louis and Scott discuss the hallmarks of field producing, accountability and ethics in media, and what Scott looks for when watching the news now. He also steps us through his path from broadcast news to broadcast comedy! Scott worked for years at The Colbert Report (from nearly the very start to its end) and more recently, at The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. How did improv help him make that life shift?

Wading further into the improv waters, Scott tries to answer what it means to be “taken care of” on stage. He talks about lucking out with his first and only team, The Wrath, holding onto their sacred rehearsal time, and how it’s the best way to end a tough Monday. Louis identifies one of improv’s greatest byproducts and where it comes from, and Scott (perhaps) coins the term, “Thelma & Louise’ing it together.” Louis makes mention of power in improv and how The Wrath’s comedy has a way of always hitting hard. For over four years now, they’ve given the Magnet comedy that is personal and yet pointed at society. How do they do it? What does Scott look for when improvising? To answer these questions, and those beyond, Scott and Louis discuss the television shows Designing Women and The Golden Girls. Scott notes the relation of these shows to young gay men and Louis draws the fine line between order as a force of evil and order as an agent of good.

To close, we’re sad to inform you that Scott will soon be moving to the West Coast, but it sure sounds like he crushed it in New York. We’ll miss you, Scott!

Wednesday June 1, 2016, 7:00am - by Magnet Theater

Ali Fisher Podcast Subscribe with iTunes

Queen of stage and backstage alike, The Cast’s ALI FISHER, stops by to talk about who we are as humans, why books are so damn cool, and the wonders of genre! Ali and Louis explore how cooperation helps humanity succeed, what Ali absolutely loves about her role as editor at a sci-fi, fantasy, and horror publisher, and why The Cast is so damn incredible. It’s a beautiful episode with beautiful people so just listen to it already!

Our heroes begin this fantastic episode by acknowledging confusion in the world and that we do not know the future. Ali talks about a Wait But Why post that she never finished and it gets them talking about humanity. Louis believes our sense of cooperation lifts us much higher than each of us would be capable of alone and Ali seems to agree. To make things even better, Louis offers up an X-Men analogy that fanboys should do their best not to examine too closely. They discuss the matters of self-awareness and asking, “Who am I?” to which we can only answer, “Evan, Producer.” The rabbit hole is so deep and glorious, we find Louis offering up a comparison between improv comedy and reincarnation.

Running in parallel to Ali’s life as an improviser on stage is her work as a fiction editor off stage. Louis inquires about Ali’s position as an editor within the young adult branch of a fantasy, sci-fi, and horror publishing house. She names some of the books from her past she’s found most formative and tells us what she looks for when reading new works. Similar to fiction, improv helps you examine unthinkable actions and experience unlikely thoughts.

Continuing their quest, Louis and Ali delve into the the topics of external expectations and destiny. Ali articulates the beauty of eating together while Louis pontificates on the nature of company. Isn’t it a little crazy how we all show up to improv shows just for the sake of being with people?

To round out this episode, Ali and Louis talk about the power of various genres, including comedy, and compare the entirety of Horror to the common feeling of stage fright. This leads them to discuss the genre-conquering show The Cast, with whom Ali plays every Saturday night, and to the establishment of Ali’s own personal genre.

Plus, Louis offers this challenge: “Identify with that, listeners!” Find out what it is!