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

Archive for the ‘Improv’ Category

Tuesday June 30, 2015, 11:01am - by Magnet Theater


We are now accepting applications for the Summer 2015 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 11:59pm on Wednesday, July 8th. Teams will be announced July 10th. Rehearsals start the weekend of July 11th. Shows will begin Friday July 24th. Teams will perform Friday nights at 10:30pm for eight 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:

If you have any questions, email Circuit@Magnettheater.com.

Monday June 22, 2015, 10:35pm - 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: Tuesdays, July 7th-Aug. 4th from 7-10pm

How to sign up: Simply send an email to schooldirector@magnettheater.com with the subject line: “COACHING CLASS VOLUNTEER.” Please include your full name and phone number.

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

Sunday May 17, 2015, 5:42pm - by woodyfu

Dear Magnet,

It’s been over a month here at Boom Chicago in Amsterdam!

I am proud to say I am neither a skeleton nor a terrible blubbering mess. My inherent neuroses have slowly acclimated to the beautiful weather, brutally practical Dutch people, and performing sketch and shortform 5 nights a week.

Occasionally the audience has drunken screaming British bachelor parties that only yell “dildo” as suggestions!


Friday April 17, 2015, 12:38pm - by Magnet Theater


We’re so very excited to announce the new Conservatory Circuit spring 2015 season, debuting Friday, April 24th at 10:30pm at the Magnet Theater Training Center. Congratulations to everyone!

Team Radish

James Roberts
Shashot Gaire
Liz Haag
Angela Dohrmann
Ivy Hong
Anna Neu
Brian Gurien
Micheil Yohannes
Coach: Lauren Olson

Team Turnip

Patrick Keyes
Emily Ide
Kate de Longpre’
Will Cooper
Rich Rosario
James Clavelli
Elise Goldin
Elizabeth Kipp-Giusti
Coach: Justin Anderson

Team Rutabega

Lev Gartman
Cliff Campbell
Andrea Palumbos
Fred Urfer
Amy Morrison
Paul Zurawski
Sarah Ransohoff
Kate Chamuris
Coach: Evan Forde Barden

Monday April 13, 2015, 2:20pm - by Magnet Theater


We’re so excited to announce the brand-new season of Conservatory Circuit is now open for applications! What’s Conservatory Circuit, you say? Why, it’s just like the regular Circuit, except it’s open only to students who have been accepted into Magnet’s Conservatory program (Level 5 and above). It’s a really great way to work consistently with a team and coach as well as get more reps under your belt. We highly recommend it!

Application deadline: Thursday, April 16th at noon
Team announcements: Friday, April 17th
Shows: Fridays at 10:30pm; April 24th, May 1st, May 8th and May 15th

What are you waiting for? Check out the details and apply now!

Wednesday April 1, 2015, 11:01am - by Megan Gray

MusicMega(web) (1)


The Magnet is thrilled to announce its new Tuesday Night Musical Megawatt lineup! We have three new teams, plus some additions to our existing ensembles. New teams will debut this coming Tuesday, April 7th, with shows at 7pm, 8pm, and 9pm, followed by the Musical Mixer at 10:15pm!

New Team Earth
Eric Brodie
Camber Carpenter
Ben Fullon
Suzanne Hitchman
William Kean
Randy McKay
Laura Weinblatt

New Team Wind
Alissa Alter
Will Bellaimey
James Bruffee
Carolyn Malfa
Jennifer Peng
Brian Rodriguz
Beth Slack

New Team Fire
Lulu Krause
Miles Lindahl
Greg Mihalik
Ren Peir
Chris Simpson
Lauren Stripling
Doug Widick


Tuesday March 3, 2015, 1:19pm - by Magnet Theater

MusicMega(web) (2)

We’re so excited to announce that auditions for the next season of Musical Megawatt will be held on Saturday, March 28th from 6-10pm, with callbacks on Sunday the 29th at the same time.

To schedule an audition time, fill out this form. We’ll do our best to accommodate everyone’s schedules, but please understand that we can’t guarantee anyone a particular audition time.

Submissions must be received by Wednesday, March 18th and emails with assigned audition times will be sent out on Friday the 20th.

Please note: Only people who have completed Musical Level 3 at Magnet Theater are eligible to submit.

We look forward to seeing you at auditions!

Click here to apply.

Monday March 2, 2015, 10:45am - by Megan Gray

large_megawatt   large_megawatt

The Magnet Theater is pleased to announce the new teams and additions for the spring 2015 season of Megawatt, debuting this Wednesday, March 4th at 7pm, 8pm, 9pm and 10pm. We hope to see you there.

New Team ORANGE:
Tim Dufrisne
Chris Dwane
Katie Mordhorst
Nick Jaramillo
Keilana Decker
Suerynn Lee
Justin Anderson
Justin Torres

New Team PURPLE:
Ali Fisher
Charlie Nicholson
Marie Latagan
Derrence Washington
Matt Antonucci
Collin Batten
Evan Barden
Kristina Grosspietsch

New Team PINK:
Gregg Zehentner
Dovid Schwartz
Kate Koch
Kelly Donahue
Neil Pohl
Patrick Vermillion
Corey Laovsky
Hal Phillips


Monday January 26, 2015, 2:06pm - by Magnet Theater

Due to the weather, ALL MAGNET CLASSES AND SHOWS have been CANCELED for tonight, Monday, January 26th. We’re not sure about Tuesday yet, but stay tuned and we’ll have an update for you by tomorrow (January 27th) at 2pm.

If you had a class today, don’t worry! We’ll reschedule! Our School Director will email you with all the details as soon as we have them worked out. If you have any questions in the meantime, feel free to reach out: schooldirector[at]magnettheater[dot]com.

Stay warm and stay safe, everyone!

Friday January 23, 2015, 10:59am - by Magnet Theater

MVL_Round3_Web_273x475-2 large_anniequick

Magnet Video Lab premieres its third season on Sunday at 6pm, so we thought we’d catch up with Annie Quick, one of the driving forces behind the entire operation (along with Jim Turner and everyone’s favorite friend, Armando Diaz). We asked her a few questions over email and she was kind enough to give her insights on what makes a great video, how MVL has grown, and how important deadlines are to the process (spoiler alert: very important). Check it out!

1. Why did you start the Magnet Video Lab?
I took Sketch Level 1 & 2 at Magnet and loved the structure of it—it’s a great way to get feedback and have writing deadlines. At some point I realized that’s what I needed for a few video projects I was working on—the self-generated films that were suffering from lack of a formal work structure.

Since Jim Turner and I both work in production and he’s also at Magnet, we thought it might make sense to start a group in the style of Magnet’s sketch writing classes. Our main goal was to have each participant come out of the ten-week session with a completed video.

2. What’s a Video Lab?
At one point, Jim had pointed out we were essentially creating a salon where creators come for mutual support, but in the end we decided that lab is a better handle—it involves assignments and deadlines and an expectation that you’re obliged to show up because your lab partners are counting on you.

Jim and I spent a lot of time talking about the roadblocks we encounter when we’re working on our own films. All steps of the process are challenging. At any stage a project can flounder from lack of labor, feedback, gear, time, etc. The thing that sinks most film projects, though, is the lack of a real deadline. That’s the main thing we wanted to give everyone.

We also thought about how a beginner might dip their toes into the water and gain knowledge and confidence in the process. The Video Lab is a place where beginners and experts help each other bring their projects to life. Everyone rolls up their sleeves and pitches in.

3. What’s your favorite thing about the Magnet Video Lab?
I love that we are all working on our own things.  I know that other groups exist where everyone works on the same video together, and that’s cool too, but I think the Magnet’s program is unique because we support the individual filmmaker and help them to bring their own ideas into the world.

For me, that’s been educational because I’ve had to wear so many hats that wouldn’t if we were all working on one film. So, for instance, this session I helped one of my labmates with costuming and another session I was a DP, and for others I’ve helped out in audio.

I also take a lot away from watching other people go from blank page to done. Films are so time consuming to make, and so it’s really inspiring to be around a group of people who are finishing their stuff, and making great stuff!

4. How has MVL grown?
It’s been a trial and error process, taking a group of strangers and making them into a video-making team. At the beginning I thought of it as mostly a creative project, but it quickly turned into a lesson in group management. Jim and I have spent a lot of time tweaking the process and getting feedback from the Lab members so that each session is a bit smoother than the last. There are a crazy amount of details to handle when you have ten weeks and seven films to make.

In the first two sessions we kept it very small—only seven participants, so that we could beta test the process and figure out what we were doing. That first session Armando helped us to sort out a structure and also came to our table reads for feedback on our scripts.

In the third session our goal was to scale up a bit. We wanted to see if we could keep the level of engagement with a bigger group. We also wanted to add new people with different skill sets and experience levels. So far it’s been working great! It’s been both productive and friendly, and a great stretch for all of us.

The great thing about Magnet is that people come with comedy and story skills so even if someone doesn’t have any production knowledge, they still have a lot of useful feedback to give and a lot of talent to draw on.

5. What is your role?
I am part teacher, part student, part manager, part strategizer, part director, part production assistant. The first two sessions I did a lot of  teaching about editing and post production, while Jim handled a lot of the shooting guidance. In our third session, people are more up to speed in those areas and we can be a little more hands off.

6. What’s the most important piece of advice you would give to comedians creating their own videos?
Is it okay if I have three? I can’t pick just one.

First, learn to edit. It’s the most time-consuming part of filmmaking and the hardest to get someone else to do well. If you learn to edit you can control the pacing and, essentially, how funny something is. It’s also the point where a lot of projects get derailed. If you’re controlling that step you can make sure it gets out there.

Second, I’d say pay attention to capturing good audio. If, as a beginner, you learn that well, your videos will be 30% more credible right out of the gate.

Third, remember film is different than live. It’s pretty hard to retrofit stage pieces or improv into a watchable video. So start from scratch and write for film, at least while you’re in the beginning stages.

7. What’s your favorite internet video of all time?
Maybe this is cliché, but I’m standing by Dramatic Chipmunk. Love that guy.

Once again, thanks to Annie for all this awesome info! Don’t miss the screening of Magnet Video Lab’s third season this Sunday at 6pm. Did we mention it’s free? Because it is. See you there!