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

Archive for the ‘Performers’ Category

Tuesday July 29, 2014, 3:34pm - by Megan Gray

20-400_fringe_front_press copy    Donna Improv 1

Congrats to Magnet writers/performers Lauren Olson, Christian Paluck and Jana Schmieding (20/400) and musical improviser Lisa Flanagan (La Donna Improvvisata) on their upcoming shows in the 2014 New York International Fringe Festival (FringeNYC). The Magnet is proud of everyone involved! Be sure to check both of these shows out in August. Show Info HERE.

Tuesday November 26, 2013, 1:39pm - by Magnet Theater
think tank photo

Love ‘Duck Dynasty’? How about ‘Storage Wars’? ‘Hoarders’?

You’re not alone.  And now you, along with millions upon millions of people, just might fall in love with A&E’s new show, ‘Think Tank’. Or not. Because it’s not like those other shows at all.

think tank photo

We sat down in the Magnet Theater lobby with one of the show’s actors, Ed Herbstman (The Mantzoukas Brothers), to get an inside scoop.  It was a lively and wide-ranging conversation, and we hope you enjoy it.

Full Disclosure, Ed is one of the co-owners of Magnet Theater, and therefore we were very conscious of the appearance of a journalistic conflict of interest.  In light of this possibility, we made every attempt to be even-handed and unbiased.

Magnet Theater: So. This show.  What is it?

Ed Herbstman: Why do you ask that way?  Are you mad at me?

MT: Oh, you’re tough now because you’re on a TV show?

EH: Wow.  Do you hate me or something?  You’re really hostile.  Is this part of the interview?

MT: Can’t handle it Mr. I’m On a TV Show?

EH: First, it’s not technically a TV show.  It’s a web series.

MT: You calling me a liar?!

EH: Your phone just fell off the desk because you’re pounding it so hard.

MT: SHUT UP!  I’ll burn your house down!!

EH: Whoa, not okay.  Calm down please.

MT: …burn it down… motherfu—

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Friday May 11, 2012, 12:43pm - by catherinewing

GAY BOMB: THE MUSICAL opened to a sold-out crowd last Friday, May 4th. The plot was full of twists and turns that we cannot divulge, and the action was so hot that we were unable to obtain pictures of the show from the actual opening night. Instead, an anonymous source supplied us with clandestine photos from a secret GAY BOMB dress rehearsal.

Totally straight baseball players teach us how to slap that ass.

To Gay Bomb, or not to Gay Bomb?

A pivotal and intimate moment

Here is Part 2 of my interview with GAY BOMB: THE MUSICAL co-writer, Steve Whyte.

Magnet Blog:  How do you and your co-writer, Chris Friden, know each other?

Steve Whyte:  Chris and I met at UC-Berkeley. A couple of years after we graduated, we started a weekly comedy/sports TV show on Cal Football and Basketball. It ended up getting picked up by SportsChannel (now FoxSports), and going national. We ran for three years and won an Emmy, and since then we’ve both been involved in various aspects of video production.

MB:  Did you find that your musical improv skills came in handy while writing Gay Bomb?

SW:  Absolutely. I think it definitely guided the rewriting of the screenplay to fit the musical format. Additionally, before we started the rewrite, we ran several improv sessions with members of the cast. Almost everybody in the cast has come up through all of the Magnet’s musical improv classes. So improvising both scenes and songs was something that comes naturally to them, and something that they do every week. It was helpful to see what elements might work well by improvising them first, before sitting down to do the rewrite. It also gave the actors time to get familiar with their characters, so that they had a head start in that department when finally getting a chance to work with the book.

MB:  Neither you nor your co-writer, Chris, identify as LGBTQ. As straight allies, what compelled you two to write GAY BOMB?

SW:  Being a white, straight male, try as I may, I have no idea what it’s like to deal with the injustices that others go through on a daily basis. While both Chris and I have close family members and friends who are LGBTQ, and we try our best to empathize, we don’t truly know what it’s like to experience life as an oppressed minority in a prejudiced society. However, I don’t think that should stop one from trying, and I certainly don’t think it should stop one from speaking out and doing what they can to address these faults in society.

With regards to casting, I cast the people that I thought would fit the roles best, and who were exceptionally funny and talented. There was no thought put into trying to cast all straight or all gay or a certain percentage mix of cast members. As it turns out, I think our cast is close to 50/50. I think it has been nice to have this mix of performers, as it provides helpful feedback and input for the piece from various viewpoints. Interestingly, four of our gay actors play straight characters, and at least two of our straight actors play gay characters. At the end of the day, it’s a bunch of funny, talented improvisers who have been performing together at the Magnet for years, and who are just looking to put on a fun, funny, entertaining, and perhaps even meaningful show.

Thanks, Steve!  We’d like to think that GAY BOMB was one reason why President Obama finally decided to support marriage equality. Go, President Obama!

Catch GAY BOMB on select Mondays and Fridays in May and June at 8:30pm. Tickets can be purchased here. Use the code “POTUS Felching” to get half off the regular ticket price, for all shows, including tonight’s! The code is only good for today, so buy those cheap tickets now!

Fridays: 5/11, 5/18, 5/25, 6/15, 6/22, 6/29
Mondays: 5/21, 6/11, 6/18

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, T.J. Mannix, Oscar Montoya, Dave Tomczak and Woody Fu.

If you are unable to attend the show, or wish to offer continued support, please consider donating to the GAY BOMB kickstarter fundraiser. The creators of the show have accrued significant debt to put this show together, for set design, costumes, rehearsal space, and many other necessities that arise as the show continues its run. The hope is to raise $2,000 more dollars in a week, for a total of $7,000. Please go to the GAY BOMB kickstarter page for more information on the excellent pledge perks.

Stay tuned for the next installment of my interview with Steve Whyte!

Photo credits: Steve Whyte and Woody Fu

Tuesday January 10, 2012, 9:06am - by admin

Elana Fishbein & Shaun Farrugia

Elana and Shaun are hilarious, talented improvisers who bring a ton of experience to their Megawatt shows.  Elana has been on a team for five years now, and Shaun just got cast.  Jolene Turner interviewed both of them about favorite moments, comedy role models, and some veteran advice.  Enjoy….

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Sunday November 27, 2011, 9:39pm - by admin

Lauren Olson & George Fernandez

The Megawatt Performer Profile Series is a quick way to get to know some of the excellent improvisers that make up Megawatt, Magnet’s house team system.

Lauren Olson has been on a Megawatt team since 2007, and George Fernandez is brand new. Both are funny, great to watch, and wonderfully nice people who are always ready to play onstage and off.

Each sat down with fellow Magnet performer Jolene Turner to answer a few questions about what they get out of Megawatt, what they put into it, and what makes them laugh. more

Wednesday August 24, 2011, 9:24am - by admin
orbit commercial

Recent TV spot featuring Ed Herbstman, co-founder of Magnet Theater, bobbing for apples.

Monday June 27, 2011, 3:28pm - by admin

The Mantzoukas Brothers won the Friars Club Improv Competition this past weekend.  For winning they get $5000 to put towards creating a short comedic film.  Congrats! You can catch them at the Magnet in July.

Friday May 27, 2011, 2:30pm - by admin

Kelly Buttermore (We Might Just Kiss) and Dave Warth (Hello Laser) are running the NYC Marathon this year to aid The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Many Magnet students and performers run the race every year to raise money for their favorite charities.  Kelly & Dave recently completed raising money for their charity in the NYC Half Marathon and want to do make an even bigger impact.  Please visit their charity pages and support our performers running for a good cause.  Good luck you two!

Kelly’s Fundraising Page

Dave’s Fundraising Page

Friday April 22, 2011, 3:19pm - by admin

Link: Woody Fu’s “People I Have Met Through Magnet” Album

It’s no secret that taking improv classes at The Magnet Theater is a great way to branch out, try something new and meet fun and interesting people.  Recently Woody Fu, a student and now the most recent addition to the Musical Improv Team, The Sound and the Fury, started to draw everyone he has met through taking classes and performing at The Magnet Theater.  The result is incredibly cool, check it out:

 

   

 

 

The whole album can be viewed by clicking on the title link above.  There are 100+ drawings and it’s been growing larger everyday.  Great job!  Woody also does comics at http://www.peroxidecomics.com.

Tuesday March 1, 2011, 9:47am - by admin

 

 

TJ, Megan, Desiree, Rick, Louis, and Rocco…

 

Hired by The Second City?

 

 


 

It’s no surprise that our auditioning instructor had such a good audition that he got hired by Second City to perform in their ensemble at sea which sends top improvisers on Norwegian Cruise Line ships to the Caribbean. Congrats to you, TJ Mannix!

 

And Congrats to Magnet’s outstanding Level 1 Instructor and super funny Junior Varsity member, Megan Gray. She was also hired by Second City after they conducted their first ever New York audition for their cruise ship ensembles.

 

Let’s not stop there, though – –

 

Congratulations to Louis Kornfeld, our wicked smart Level 2 Instructor, House Manager, and most bearded member of long-time house team, The Boss.  You deserve all the success in the world, Louis!

 

And Desiree Nash, painfully funny member of Ransom Family and a musical improv heroine! Congratulations, Desiree.  Send us photos, please.

 

And Rocco Privetera, who stars in this hilarious video, produced by the Magnet Media Engine (with TJ Mannix, Adam Taylor, and Shawn Amaro).  Rocco will be taking his magical fingers to the ocean as a Musical Director for a a Second City cruise ship ensemble.  Yes.  The fingers are magical.

 

Let’s not forget Magnet’s Rick Andrews who was also offered a spot on the big boat. Rick is a tall grad school drop-out and all around wonderful person who is currently teaching at Magnet. He is also the co-creator and co-star of The Cascade with Jennifer Dunne Monday nights at Magnet.

 

While getting tan, they’ll be performing classic Second City scenes, improv sets and teaching workshops. Basically it’s like the nerd version of Dirty Dancing without the sexual awakening.  Have fun.  Represent America and Magnet well, please.  When you get back to the island of Manhattan, we’ll be here waiting. 

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