Archive for the ‘Improv’ Category
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!
(We know. They aren’t teens. But we like the picture.)
Summer! No School! Lot’s of free unstructured time!
LET’S WATCH TV AND PLAY VIDEO GAMES UNTIL OUR BRAINS TURN INTO PUDDING!! I LOVE PUDDING!!!!
Don’t do that.
Because on June 18th, Elana Fishbein will be kicking off Summer with “Improv for Teens”, a fun class for sharp teens who want to learn and practice the principles of improv.
We talked with Elana about the class, her history with improv and its importance in everyone’s life .
Magnet Blog: So how did you get started in improv?
Elana Fishbein: I started improvising pretty seriously when I was fifteen years old and a big part of that was because of the encouragement I received from some fantastic teachers. Under their tutelage I came to understand the ways in which improv can be an awesome and empowering form of expression. I’m excited to follow in their footsteps.
MB: So what will this class be about?
EF: In Improv for Teens, students will learn to improvise together in a fun, supportive environment. Games and exercises will focus on collaboration, group mind, character building, commitment, spontaneity, and the most magical principal of improv, “Yes And!” Participants will walk away with a fundamental understanding of long-form improv and the skills to perform grounded, hilarious, improv scenes. The class will culminate with a graduation performance in which students will have the opportunity to wow their friends and loved ones. It’s a super fun show.
Slots are still available, so if you or someone you know is interested in signing up for Improv for Teens check out this link: http://www.magnettheater.com/classlist.php?infoid=1100.
Class begins on June 18th.
Tweet it, Facebook it, and maybe even actually say it out loud to another person in the same room.
This Saturday at 11am at The Magnet Theater, Megan Gray will be moderating a Q & A with improv legends Susan Messing and Christina Gausas!
Messing is a director and actress living in Chicago. Best known for her work with Second City, iO and The Annoyance Theatre, she is well revered in the NYC, Chicago and L.A. improv and acting communities.
Christina Gausas is an actress, writer and director living in NYC. She has appeared on 30 Rock, Delocated, Important Things w/ Dimitri Martin, and Late Night w/ Conan O’Brien. Christina was named one of “The 10 Funniest New Yorker’s You’ve Never Heard Of” by New York Magazine. She is also directing “The Subject” at The Magnet Theater, opening Thursday May 3rd at 10pm and running until May 31st!
The Q & A is completely free, RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a spot!
In the latest installment of The Director’s Series, Christina Gausas takes the reins on The Subject. The Subject is a form that “follows the central character of the evening (the subject), never leaving the stage while the others enter and exit as various friends, relatives, demons and fantasy figures”.
The Subject, created by Alex Fendrich, was originally performed at the iO theater in Chicago and was “Highly Recommended” by The Chicago Sun-Times. Gausas was a member of the original cast and now she leads an all-star cast made up of Louis Kornfeld, Megan Gray, Alex Marino, Angela Demanti, Sebastian Connelli, Ruby Marez, Binu Paulose, Tom Levin, and Liz McDonnell.
The Subject opens Thursday May 3rd at 10pm, and is followed by an Opening Night Party at Mustang Sally’s (28th & 7th). Come to the show and celebrate afterwards with great food and drink specials!
The Subject, opening May 3rd at 10pm at The Magnet Theater!
Oh man… you should have seen it!
Just kidding. You couldn’t have.
The Bat premiered at The Magnet Theater last evening, directed by Mark Grenier, featuring Paul Barker, Bianca Casusol, Christina Dabney, Corey Grimes, Jeff Koleba, Kai Martin, Chris Simpson, Lauren Smith, and special guests.
Unlike your average, well-lit improv show that bombards your physical senses with gestures, facial expressions, and movement of all varieties, The Bat is performed in the dark – playing more like an old-time radio show, or like the voices in your head when you’re desperately trying to fall asleep.
The cast of The Bat performed two pieces – a Monoscene, and a Harold – relying only on listening, and auditory support work. Despite the darkness, the audience clearly saw the cemetery at which the Detective Club and the Murder Club vied for membership numbers, a pair of girl scouts peeing on each other in the wilderness, a bratty nine-year-old leveraging for control of a community pool, and the arduous journey of a ski-ball pledge.
I left the theater grateful for the reminder that I have an imagination. Check out the highlight pics below, and check out The Bat every Thursday in April at 10:00pm at The Magnet Theater.
“The Bat” is the third installment of The Director Series, wherein a Director selects an all star cast and presents a month-long showcase of a specific form. This month Mark Grenier is directing “The Bat”! Here is an interview we did with Grenier about the show.
Manget Blog: What makes The Bat different from any other forms?
Mark Grenier: The Bat takes place entirely in the dark. Other improv forms take place with the lights on, unless the theater fails to pay its electricity bill and the power goes out, in which case the show then becomes a Bat, whether you like it or not. If the lights go out, you’re doing a Bat.
MB: Why did you choose The Bat?
MG: I chose The Bat because it’s a unique challenge for performers, and it creates a unique experience for the audience. We take for granted being seen when we improvise and being able to see when we watch a show. If you take sight away, everything has to be created with the voice and everything normally seen has to be imagined. It’s like listening to an old radio show, which no one at Magnet Theater has probably ever done. Bring your grandparents to the show, they’ll love it.
Join us for the OPENING NIGHT of The Bat this Thursday at 10pm, with the after party at Mustang Sally’s right after the show!
It’s BACK! March 30th is the last day to be considered for the next round of The Circuit at The Magnet Theater. The Circuit is made up of improv ensembles consisting of veteran Magnet performers and students. Performances are every Friday night at 10pm starting April 13th! You need to have completed up to Level 3 to qualify for The Circuit. Names are still being accepted for what is sure to be the silliest, most explosive and rawest Circuit yet! To apply, just send your name and resume to email@example.com. From there, names will be thrown into a giant hat and randomly selected by someone with giant hands! Shows start April 13th at The Magnet Studio Theater… GO!
This Wednesday at 8:30, Megawatt gets a new team! Refreshing? Possibly. Mind-blowing? Definitely. World Peace Ending?…No, probably not. Fresh out of Peter McNerney’s Level 6, The Party Lions plan to complete the circle of improv life at The Magnet Theater, and features performers from The Story Pirates, Kiss*Punch*Poem, Scoresby, Inspirado, Whisky Tango Foxtrot and We Just Might Kiss. Wow.
Coached by the incredible Kelly Buttermore (Horses), The Party Lions consists of JR Harrington, Evan Barden, Katie Hammond, Nathan Peterman, Bianca Casusol, Gretchen Poole, Brian Frange and Willy Appelman. Like them on Facebook for more updates and info on Megawatt’s newest ensemble!
The Party Lions premier at Megawatt THIS WEDNESDAY at 8:00pm. We’re not psychic, but we’re guessing this baby will sell out. You cannot make reservations for Megawatt’s later in the evening (since it’s pay once, stay as long as you’d like), so if you want to be there, the MBlog highly recommends showing up early to the 7pm Megawatt and sticking around. Reservations for the 7pm Megawatt can be made here. Be there!