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

Archive for the ‘Improv’ Category

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!

Tuesday May 22, 2012, 10:24am - by admin

(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.

Best. Summer. Ever.

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.

Wednesday May 9, 2012, 11:16am - by WillyAppelman
Last Thursday’s premiere of “The Subject” was enthralling and fascinating.  Directed by Christina Gausas, the show featured Angela DeManti as this week’s “Subject”.  At the top of the piece, objects like sunflower seeds, lilacs, and Buddha statues were placed by cast members into her environment. These objects took her back to memories of college roommates, past boyfriends, and family members. At one point her mother’s constant nagging transformed into a six-headed monster who shrieked at her disappointments, which then transformed into the cries of an ex-boyfriend’s baby.  DeManti remained on the stage the entire show as her life passed before her eyes!
“The Subject” is a funny, honest, and, at times, moving piece of theater. You have four more chances of catching it Thursdays at 10pm in May!