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

Archive for the ‘Improv’ Category

Wednesday August 8, 2012, 9:23am - by WillyAppelman

The latest installment of The Director’s Series, directed by Rick Andrews, opened last Thursday to a loving Magnet audience!  The Weave, the 7th installment of The Director’s Series, is a “rule-less” form that encourages organic improvisation in two parts.  The cast did a wonderful job of incorporating the suggestion into a string of organically found scenes.

The show started with a trio taking on the mythical tales of “Ernesto”, a mysterious wise old man.  It then transformed into a physical game, in which two brute doctor’s are trying to save a man’s life. The scene continues until they were transfused into an entirely different set of circumstances from the other trio.  The six players found themselves onstage, slowly dying from a gas leak.  This quickly became a scene about a love triangle which transformed into Olympic Gold Medal winners.

The show continued, weaving (sorry) in and out of different scenes, only to call back what was necessary.  It ended, like all shows should end, with a backflip.

The Weave continues this Thursday at 10pm at The Magnet Theater, and continues every thursday at 10pm for the month of August.  Make sure to catch a performance before it’s took late!


Friday August 3, 2012, 2:26pm - by WillyAppelman
Attention sketch comedians, writers, and actors: the Magnet Theater is excited to invite you to be a part of our new MAGNET SKETCH TEAMS!
Magnet Sketch Teams are the sketch comedy equivalent of Megawatt, our house improv teams. Sketch Teams are groups of writers and performers who will work with directors to create a run of sketch shows.  Individuals who have completed Level 1 of the Sketch Writing Program and/or Level 5 of the Improv Program are encouraged to apply.
The system will feature 4 rotating Magnet Sketch teams, each headed by an assigned director.  Those groups will write and perform approximately 3 shows every 6 weeks.  Similar to The Circuit, groups will perform in rotation for 4 months.  After this time, new groups will be formed.
Shows will take place Sunday nights at 9:30 pm.
The first round will begin in September with meetings beginning in August.  So, if you’re not available in August, please wait for the next round (December) to apply.
HOW TO APPLY TO BE ON A MAGNET SKETCH TEAM:
Send an email with the subject line, “MAGNET SKETCH TEAM APPLICATION” and your name to sketchdirector@magnettheater.com.  Include your improv/sketch experience and at least 2 writing samples as attachments (please limit total to 10 – 12 pages).
The deadline for submissions is MONDAY, AUGUST 13th. Apply today!
Wednesday August 1, 2012, 1:27pm - by WillyAppelman

Thursdays at 10pm in August!

This Thursday at 10pm is the debut of “The Weave” directed by Rick Andrews!   The show is the latest installment of the Magnet Theater’s Director Series, a monthly series of performances where a director presents a different improv form with a completely different cast.  The only rule is that there are no rules.  Watch Magnet’s best improvisers perform organic freeform improvisation in two mind blowing parts!  Featuring: Russ Armstrong, Peter McNerney, Chet Siegel, Alan Fessenden, Frank Bonomo, Alex Marino and Special Guests!

For more information, take a look at our Facebook event!

Join us afterwards for a special opening night party at Smithfield!

 

 

Tuesday July 31, 2012, 3:18pm - by WillyAppelman

Magnet Theater will be holding auditions for the September season of Megawatt. Auditions will be held Friday 8/17 and Saturday 8/18. Callbacks will be held the following week. To be eligible for the audition, performers need to have completed Magnet Level 6 Team Performance no earlier than January 2011, or to have performed on a Megawatt team within the last year. Please note that due to the limited number of slots auditions are not guaranteed.

To apply, please follow the link and fill out the availability form no later than August 10th.  MEGAWATT FORM!

Wednesday July 25, 2012, 2:19pm - by WillyAppelman

SAT. JULY 28TH- $10 FOR THE NIGHT!

This Saturday, July 28th is a night you don’t want to miss!  All star casts of lady comedienne’s take the Magnet stage to bring you breathtaking sketch, improv and poetry!  For the incredibly cheap price of $10, you’re in for the whole night!  But who and what is it?  Read on Noble woman….

7pm- Lady Liberty Improv:  Phoebe Tyers, Alexis Lambright, Rachel Werbel, Caitlin Steitzer, Abby Holland, Chrissie Gruebel, Ingrid Ostby, Maggie Morris, Melissa Gordon, Lauren Olson, Christina Dabney, Jen Curran.

8pm- Lady Godiva Improv: Christina Gausas, Keisha Zollar, Kelly Buttermore, Ruby Marez, Emily Shapiro, Jen Sanders, Maddy Mako, Amber Nelson, Shannon Coffey, Danielia Donohue, Angela DeManti.

9pm- Kiss Punch Poem: Megan Gray, Kim Ferguson, Bianca Casusol, Sandra Struthers, Angela DeManti, Lisa Flanaghan, Alexis Lambright, Meghann Plunkett.  (W/ All Female Poets).

10:30 pm- Lady Sketch Show!!! Directed by Beth Newell 

Written by: Heather Seltzer, Gwen Mesco, Kate Chamuris, Kelly Donahue, Ali Fisher, Megan Meadows, Stephanie Streisand, Kaitlin Fontana.

Featuring:  Heather Seltzer, Gretchen Poole, Ruby Marez, Robin Rothman, Gwen Mesco, Steph Garcia, Tamara Young, Megan Meadows, Jaclynn Larington, Hannah Chase, Kate Chamuris, Kristy Wesolowski, Ali Fisher, Stephanie Streisand, Jennifer Stokes, Danielle Tolley, Emily Shapiro, Beth Newell, Kaitlin Fontana, Phoebe Tyers.

Hosted by Megan Gray & Kim Ferguson!  Don’t miss this incredibly cheap and hilarious night!  Get there at 7pm and stay til the afterparty!

Reservations Here

Facebook Event

Join us afterwards at Smithfield for an afterparty with special Lady Drinks!

Friday July 20, 2012, 11:49am - by seantaylor
newsletter_edited

Charna Halpern at Magnet Theater today!

Magnet Theater
July 20, 2012 

 

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Featured Shows

Q&A With Charna Halpern
 

The Improv Q&A series is part of the Magnet Theater’s continuing effort to share great ideas about improvisation.

Charna Halpern has been teaching performers how to work together for more than 25 years. Having founded the world famous iO in Chicago and Hollywood, Halpern’s theaters are the meccas of training in the art of improvisation and act as a recruiting stop for television shows like Saturday Night Live, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, The Daily Show, The Colbert Report and MADtv, supplying Hollywood with writers and performers. She is the author of the improv training manuals Truth in Comedy and Art By Committee.

Friday, July 20
4pm
FREE
Sketch Sundays Are Here!

 

Featured acts this week by:
Firecracker Duo!
Jon Bander!
Lauren Olson!
Chet Siegel!
And more!

 

:Kiss*Punch*Poem:
moves to Saturdays!

Some of your favorite improvisers team up with some of your favorite poets for a mad night of starving hysteria. You’ll probably laugh, you might cry, you WILL write an exquisite corpse.
Saturdays at 9pm

 

 

MAGNET CLASSES
Why is Magnet’s Summer Intensive So Awesome?

1. The chance to immerse yourself in improv for 25 hours/week for 3 weeks!
2. Students save $300 on their improv training!
3. The opportunity to study with Magnet founder, Armando Diaz.
4. Students get to jump into Magnet’s Level 4 after completing the intensive!

 

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Friday July 13, 2012, 10:59am - by woodyfu
frank

Last night the Magnet expanded its musical improv program by doubling the number of Musical Megawatt teams. We saw the premiere of new teams Atticus, Legend, and the Montels, playing alongside vet teams Aquarius, Mint Condition, and BEEES!

Michael Martin kicks off Musical Megawatt

At the beginning of the night, the director of the musical program Michael Martin talked about how, seven years ago, Tara Copeland and Frank Spitznagel offered a musical improv elective, and how the program has since blossomed into six teams, dozens of performers, and hundreds of students.

New team Atticus took the stage first, telling the tale of Solomon Mann, whose spiritual journey brought him to indigent, indigenous, indignant Native Americans; to Arkansas’s only midnight improv theater; to Penelope the Corn Goddess.

Photo from the Magnet Theater’s Instagram feed

Drew Tarvin’s puns for this show are:

  1. Tickets disappear in a puff of smoke, so be sure to make reservations.
  2. So confident they’ll never Atticus Flinch.
  3. Some of the best meta improv you’ve ever Arkansas.
  4. A harrowing tale about taking on the Mann
  5. If the show is sold out, better try to scalp some tickets.
BOOM!
Next, Mint Condition told the tale of Mr Branson, a My Little Pony-collecting teacher who only wanted to connect with and teach one student in his class. Despite being pregnant, one student study montage’d her way to finishing the S.A.T. and earning Mr Branson his angel wings. He was brutally shot to death at one point.

Photo from the Magnet Theater’s Instagram feed

Drew Tarvin’s puns for this show are:

  1. The perfect conditions for great improv–you’ll go mint-al.
  2. Pony up $7 and saddle up for one heck of a ride.
  3. Around award season, expect this team to win a My Little Tony.
  4. They may talk abut the S.A.T. but you wont be sitting when this one is over.
  5. Get schooled on performing improv with class, Mint Conditon packs some principow!
New team Legend was next in the night, telling the historically accurate facts of the French Revolution, touching on the origin of the guillotine, the terrible English-speaking peasants, owls and knife-like glass nipples.

The worst picture of Lorraine I could find

Drew Tarvin’s puns for this show are:

  1. Caution: funny times a head.
  2. This little piggy went “Oui! Oui! Oui!” all the way home.
  3. What a hoot!
  4. This show will leave you in a body caste.
  5. Get out a map because this is one Legend you want to see.

Musical Director Frank Spitznagel!

Musical Megawatt’s MOST VETERAN TEAM Beees went on next, performing a slice-of-life set taking place in a Rite Aid. From the suggestion of the theme of “jealousy,” we saw the Rite Aid manager who liked passing along his grandfather’s advice in “talksies” with his employees; Karen (the most veteran Rite Aid employee), who was unsure about the mysteries of sex; a gay couple who just broke up after two and half years. Remember: don’t dig a hole if you already have one in the backyard.

The Magnet’s Most Veteran Musical Megawatt Team

Drew Tarvin’s puns for this show are:

  1. This team shows there aint nothin wrong with a little bump and Grindr.
  2. They may be called Beees but I give them an A.
  3. Stop digging for better improv, this team has the hole package.
  4. Is this team from Nevada because they left me green with NV.
  5. Bad improv left you feeling hurt? Beees has the Rite Aid.

New team the Montels were next, and from the suggestion of “candy” took us into Candyland, where tooth fairies worried for their existence, salads and health food were on the rise, people read Candy Gawker, and Colonel Custard waged war against Colonel Kale.

Colonel Custard and Colonel Kale battle for Candyland

Drew Tarvin’s puns for this show are:

  1. Grab some popcorn because these colonels are ready to pop.
  2. All kale the chiefs of great improv!
  3. Funny as health.
  4. With a team this funny, it’s no wonder Mon tells.
  5. Yes We Can-dy.
The final team was Aquarius, who performed the complete works of William Shakespeare at the Apollo Theater. If you were to sum up this show within a show, it would be “I love you, I’m dead.” King Latifah made an appearance, as did Shylock the talent agent, Brian Regan, and Ophelia, who tragically drank a Monster Energy Drink with a cyanide pill in it.

Clean comic Brian Regan and an old couple waiting for a bus

Drew Tarvin’s puns for this show are:

  1. It’s fun for Aquari-you, it’s fun for Aquari-me, it’s fun for Aquari-us.
  2. This comedy equals tragedy + rhyme.
  3. There’s nothing Rocky about this show, it’s out of this world.
  4. The character impersonations will make you stand-up as they get the play-wright.
  5. No need to shake your spears, this show completely works.

Congratulations to all the new teams who debuted last night! Musical Megawatt is now expanded to four shows a night: two shows at 7pm and two shows at 8:30pm. Check the calendar for showtimes!

Monday July 9, 2012, 12:34pm - by rickandrews

It’s an exciting week in the musical improv world, as Magnet welcomes to the stage three brand spanking new Musical Megawatt house teams ready to rock your socks off.  All teams will make their debut Tuesday, July 11th, along with Musical Megawatt stalwarts Mint Condition, Aquarius, and Beees! $7 gets you in the whole night!  Raucous party to follow for sure.  Check out the schedule and oggle the stacked teams below, and we’ll see you tomorrow night for the big debut!

7pm – Mint Condition & Team Oprah
8:30pm – Beees! & Team Tyra
10pm – Aquarius & Team Montel

TEAM OPRAH
Chano Garcia
John Heffley
T.J. Mannix
Maya Deshmukh
Robin Rothman
Joel Arandia
Brad Benson
Ren McDermott

TEAM MONTEL
Richard Dery
Oleg Slinin
Shaun Farrugia
Chris Simpson
Olivia Petzy
Andrew Cornelius
Ariana Murphy
Susan Pickover

TEAM TYRA
Kirk Damato
Leslie Collins
Roman Pietrs
Douglas Widick
Gretchen Poole
Lorraine Cink
Jordan Hirsch
Abby Holland

Friday June 15, 2012, 9:07am - by catherinewing

As New York City Pride kicks off this weekend, the Magnet Theater is proud to present Pride Night 2012!  We’ve got a sparkly line-up of shows tonight that highlight LGTBQ issues and LGBTQ performers, with lots of sketch, music, and improv. Let’s take a walk across the rainbow, shall we?

At 7pm, we have the one-man show, Cock of the Walk. Written and performed by Athos Cakiades, and directed by Kelly Haran, Cock of the Walk introduces you to five characters that explore masculinity and the male psyche in ways that will tickle your funny bone. It promises to be “pretty dirty” and “rather gay,” which is our idea of a good time at the Magnet Theater on a Friday night.  Also, it’s a Time Out New York Critics’ Pick!

At 8:30pm, Gay Bomb: The Musical returns to the Magnet stage for its June run. Check out all the media attention, from the featured article on the front page of EDGE New York, to the blurb in Chelsea Now. There are only four shows left, so if you haven’t gotten GAY BOMBed yet, it is highly recommended that you come see the show very soon. And (shhhhh!) we’ve got a secret discount code for $7 tickets. Please enter “POTUS Felching” when you buy your tickets here.

Friday, 6/15, 8:30pm
Monday, 6/18, 8:30pm
Friday, 6/22, 8:30pm
Friday, 6/29, 8:30pm (Closing Night)

Directed by Michael Martin, with music by Frank Spitznagel, and book and lyrics by Chris Friden and Steve Whyte.

Starring: Andrew Fafoutakis, Dreagn Foltz, Ben Jones, Michael Lutton, Jen Sanders, TJ Mannix, Oscar Montoya, Dave Tomczak and Woody Fu.

At 10pm, we have a special Made-Up Musical with a cast of LGBTQ performers, all from Musical Megawatt house teams: Melissa Gordon, Oscar Montoya, Andrew Fafoutakis, T.J. Mannix, Michael Lutton, and Catherine Wing.   You can’t have a full night of LGBTQ comedy without musical improv, right?

The LGBTQ cast of tonight's Made-Up Musical

All the singing and dancing and Broadway jazz hands will get you nicely warmed up for the final show of the night.

At 11:30pm, There’s No Place Like Home presents a GLTBQ All-Star Improv Event.  Andrew Fafoutakis hosts a special night of homo hilarity with a cast of improv superstars: Bianca Casusol, Kevin Gilligan, Melissa Gordon, Scott Lawrie, Michael Lutton, T.J. Mannix, Michael Martin, Oscar Montoya, Louie Pearlman, Nathan Peterman, Emily Schorr Lesnick, Emily Shapiro, Steven Slate, Lauren Ashley Smith, Catherine Wing, and a Super Special Guest!  It’s a fantastic and fun way to end Pride Night 2012.  But don’t just take our word for it.  Check it out — There’s No Place Like Home is a Time Out New York Critics’ Pick!  Come on by and celebrate Pride with us tonight!

Wednesday June 6, 2012, 10:52pm - by WillyAppelman

Poster by Carly Monardo

Jazz Freddy is the fifth installment of The Director Series, a 4-week series of performances wherein a Director selects a cast and presents a different form. This month, Charlie Whitcroft directs a form named after the Chicago group that made it famous. Kevin Cragg, Tony Mui, Gretchen Poole, Jamie Rivera, Sandra Struthers, Teddy Shivers, Mike Ferreira and Kristy Wesolowski take the stage under Whitcroft’s mighty direction. We spoke with Charlie about his choice to present the form.

What is Jazz Freddy?

Structurally, Jazz Freddy is a 4 scene tag-out piece that starts in the present (whatever that means), then tags to the past, tags to the past again, then tags to the future. Simple though it is, it can only be performed by a stellar cast. We get to meet a character, see a bit of her developmentally significant life moments, then see how things turn out for her. Then there’s a further exploration of the other characters we’ve met, and the world they live in. Jazz Freddy is named after the group that performed it first in Chicago in 1992. The first cast included Jimmy Carrane, Rachel Dratch, Dave Koechner, Noah Gregoropoulos, Miriam Tolan, Kevin Dorff, Brian Stack, Meredith Zinner, and others. I’ve heard that it was the first long form show to use tag-outs. I don’t know if that’s true, and I haven’t been able to find anyone who was even alive in 1992 to confirm or deny.

Why did you choose this form?

Two things that I love about the Jazz Freddy – it’s not too complicated, and it’s a lot of fun. The Boss performed Jazz Freddy for a long time as part of Megawatt. We added a lot of our own touches to it, but the simple structure was there. I’m sure there are other groups that have performed the structure since the original cast, but I don’t know of too many in New York. And I don’t appreciate or respect the anti-Jazz Freddy regulations that the Mayor is trying to put in place. Read the news. These are important issues.

What is the future of improv?

I don’t know… I hope it stays out of the drug business. Liquor and gambling have been fine. I’d like to see it go completely legit, maybe clean up some of the money in real estate or something like that.

~~~

Jazz Freddy takes the stage Thursdays at 10pm in June! Check out the opening night, Thursday 6/7 at 10pm- followed by an after party at Smithfield (28th btw. 7th & 8th). Be sure to catch the show for the password for drink specials!