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

Saturday March 16, 2013, 2:44pm - by WillyAppelman

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Congratulations to the BRAND NEW MUSICAL MEGAWATT TEAMS!  Both teams premiered Tuesday, March 12th to an incredibly warm Magnet audience.  The new teams are:

The Jezebels:
Annie Moor
Rachel Alexa Norman
Kiki Mikkelson
Mallory Schlossberg
Ali Reed
Lauren Friedman
Liz Lasky

The Canons:
Carly Filbin
Henry Bergstein
David Tomczak
James Coker
John de Guzman
Mike Kuplic
Sharon Li

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THIS JUST IN:  Musical Megawatt shows will now take place at 7, 8,9 & 10pm!  Be sure to check out Musical Megawatt this Tuesday starting at 7pm, and if you can, catch these new teams, they’re pretty special!

Photos by Lisa Flanagan.

Wednesday March 6, 2013, 1:37pm - by WillyAppelman
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Congratulations to The New Musical Megawatt Teams!  Thank you to everyone who applied, the new Musical Megawatt Teams will debut on Tuesday, March 12th at 7pm!

New Team Parliament- Director: Michael Lutton
Annie Moor
Rachel Alexa Norman
Kiki Mikkelson
Mallory Schlossberg
Ali Reed
Lauren Friedman
Liz Lasky


New Team Funkadelic- Director: Ross Taylor
Carly Filbin
Henry Bergstein
David Tomczak
James Coker
John de Guzman
Mike Kuplic
Sharon Li

Circuit Team- Director: Laura Dlug
Jen Stone
Kate Weinberg
Scott Morwitz
Melissa Caminneci
Sacha Nandall
Marc Davilla
Philipp Goedicke


Mixer Team- Director: Robin Rothman Taylor and T.J. Mannix
Sho Albert
Andrew Fafoutakis
Stefan Wenger
Stephanie Griffith
Maya Deshmukh
Cat Migliaccio
Danielle Naugler
Marc Davila
Mary Guiteras
Kate Chamuris
Phillip Ziff
Nathan Brown

For more information, check out www.magnettheater.com.  Congratulations again and see you Tuesday, March 12th at 7pm for the debut!

Tuesday March 5, 2013, 2:10pm - by WillyAppelman

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“The Kubler” is the newest installment of The Director Series, a 4-week series of performances wherein a Director selects a cast and presents a different form. This month Russ Armstrong is directing “The Kubler.”  We interviewed Russ via email to learn more about the show.

1.  What is The Kubler?  
The Kubler is a best-of-both-worlds improv show.  It allows great actors to chew up some big, intimate scenes and intersperses those with large group scenes from a strong ensemble.  It’s inspired by the Kubler-Ross model (umlaut, please!) which folks are more familiar with as “the five stages of grief.”  The Kubler-Ross is a hypothesis that humans process difficult news by progressing through these five stages in order; denial, anger, bargaining, depression and finally acceptance.   Starting with a suggestion of some bad news someone has received, we take the audience through the five stages and throw in large group games in between.  It rocks.  But mostly it rocks because of Rick Andrews, Laura Grey, Sean Taylor, Lauren Olson, Dru Johnston, Desiree Nash, Jordan Klepper, Jana Schmieding, Alex Marino and Chet Siegel.

2. Why are you directing it?
I’m directing the Kubler because it gives me an opportunity to force great improvisers to work with me and offers a format that can really showcase top-notch players working together.  Also, I was told I would receive intern credits.

3.  What is your favorite type of improv?
My favorite type of improv is the funny kind.  And I tend to think the funniest kind is the kind that is the most truthful and reliant on the ensemble working together.  A little artistry don’t hurt neither.  I like listening, clarity, strong games played creatively, believable characters and teams that recklessly push their 25 minutes to the end of the line – together and not parallel.

4.  What is the future of improv?
Everyone knows this but I’ll rehash it anyway.  Improv will be solved in 2019 at the yet-to-be-formed Dungeon Fungeon in Staten Island after an inspired triple-Harold performed by the East Coast’s best ensemble, John Mack’s Warrior Punchbowl (Starring Brad Tomey!)  It won’t be the best show, and it won’t be the last show, but their director, and the audience will insist, “That’s what improv is supposed to be.”
It’ll be that or slowly we’ll all move back to Chicago and crawl back up the vagina of The Compass Players, spin around there for a couple years in some swirling black hole of callbacks and then get spewed out across the continent once more not unlike this ever-contracting-and-expanding nutsack of a universe.  Intern credit, please!

The Kubler opens this Thursday, March 7th at 10pm!  MORE INFO!

Monday March 4, 2013, 1:58pm - by WillyAppelman

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A timeless rite of passage into modern adulthood involving flagrant consumption, waffling definitions of sexual propriety, a general disregard for all grown-up responsibility, and occasional learning, college is that magical time when you can have your mind blown by Marx and Engels from the comfort of your lofted-bed. Company 29’s newest sketch show takes a look at all things college, from the dubious founding of Harvard University to that guy who always brings his guitar with him to parties even though nobody asked him to.

Sponsored By: Six Point Brewery

Company 29 is the Magnet Theater’s sketch company in residence, dedicated to producing new and original sketch comedy featuring some of the Magnet’s best sketch writers and performers.

Featuring: Mike Barry, Kevin Cobbs, Tim Eberle, Nick Kanellis, Ruby Marez, Justin Peters, Branson Reese, Jamaal Sedayao, Danielle Tolley, and Rob Williams.

Written By: Tim Eberle, Kevin Cobbs, Jamaal Sedayao, Sarah Pappalardo, and Nick Kanellis.

Directed By: Nick Benaquista

Assistant Director: Amanda Xeller

Reservations HERE: Friday, March 8th at 8:30, Saturday, March 9th at 7:30, Sunday, March 10th at 8pm.

Friday March 1, 2013, 11:33am - by WillyAppelman

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Congrats to Magnet performer Peter McNerney (Trike) on ‘Stuff You Should Know’, now airing on The Science Channel!  The show takes place in The How Stuff Works office, and everyone in the office are podcasters.  Peter plays Marcus, a conspiracy theory podcaster.  He’s skeptical, cynical and assumes the worst in every situation.  Check out ‘Stuff You Should Know’ on iTunes, and keep an eye out for Peter’s most recent episode, ‘Trust No One’.

You can see Peter in a Burger King commercial now airing on Comedy Central and performing Saturday’s at 10:30 with Trike.

Sunday February 24, 2013, 5:59pm - by WillyAppelman

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“Round Trip” is the newest installment of The Director Series, a 4-week series of performances wherein a Director selects a cast and presents a different form. This month Armando Diaz is directing “Round Trip.”  We conducted an interview with Armando via email to talk about the show.

What is Round Trip?
The Round Trip is an original form that tells the story of a cast of characters through a series of mono-scenes. The show begins with the suggestion of a location for which the first mono-scene will take place. In that location we meet the characters in the story and discover what the story is about. After the first mono-scene ends the cast improvises a second mono-scene in a different location featuring all the same characters. And finally we see the characters back in the first location for a final mono-scene and this is where all the storylines resolve. In short, the Round Trip is like an improvised one-act play.

Why did you choose to direct it?
Megan told me I had to direct something for the Director Series show. I had no choice in the matter.

What makes a great scene?
The truth! As much as it is good to know the mechanics of improv at the end of the day what makes us laugh is when improvisers find truth in their work. You can be technically perfect in a scene but if it doesn’t find the truth it just won’t be that funny.

Have you seen an evolution in improv over the years?
No.

Where do you see it going?
I hope it becomes more courageous and less, “edgy”.

The last performance of Round Trip takes place on Thursday, February 28th at 10pm.  For more information, CLICK HERE!

Friday February 22, 2013, 3:54pm - by WillyAppelman


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Carly Monardo is a student, graphics designer and performer at The Magnet Theater.    Some of Carly’s recent Magnet projects include Made-Up Musical,  Trike and Magnet Sketch Teams (just to name a few).  We conducted an email interview with Carly Monardo, her answers are below!

*QUESTION: How long have you been drawing?

Carly: I’ve been drawing since as far back as I can remember. I had a few other interests as a kid (at various points I daydreamed about opening a restaurant or becoming a marine biologist) but there was never any doubt that drawing would play an important role in my life. My parents are actually both big appreciators of art in general and animation specifically; I grew up in a house where the walls were covered in production art from Looney Tunes and Disney movies. I have a twin sister who is also an artist, and whenever people as why we pursued art we both joke that we never really had a choice!

*QUESTION:  How did you get started and what inspires you now?

Carly: I feel really lucky to have this as my full-time career now! Remembering that this is what I always dreamed of doing keeps me focused when things are tough. I’m also inspired by the incredible work I see my peers producing, and I’m constantly mining the internet for more art. Every time I see an illustration or design that makes me think, “Oh man, I want to do that!” I make sure I get that person’s name.
*QUESTION: Can you talk a little about your improv background and how you got involved in comedy?

Carly:  I got into improv about a year and a half ago because I was looking for a creative outlet that wasn’t my primary way of earning a living. I had done some sketches and stuff as a kid, but it was all either stuff my sister and I wrote or goofy things I performed in at a day camp. I didn’t try improv until it was part of a week-long acting class that I (kind of bizarrely) had to take when I enrolled in the pre-college Animation program at SVA. The teacher hated us…it wasn’t a very good experience. Later in life I started to see shows at UCB, which I loved, but wasn’t inspired to try again until I went to the Magnet. Friends of mine are pals and collaborators with Justin Moran, so I saw Choral Rage and Featherweight perform and it looked like so much fun! I signed up for a free intro with Rick Andrews (the same free class that my fellow Magnet Designers were in, actually!) and I’ve been hooked since!
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Check our more of Carly’s work at www.carlymonardo.com and on Tumblr where she puts up sketches and goofy things.

Friday February 8, 2013, 4:25pm - by WillyAppelman

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The Magnet Training Center is open and classes will resume as normal for Saturday, February 9th.  Please travel safely and bundle up.

Magnet Theater shows for Saturday, February 9th are still a go as well!  Have fun and again, please travel safe.

Wednesday February 6, 2013, 12:17pm - by woodyfu
Do What You Did Again

Do What You Did Again

Monday February 4, 2013, 1:47pm - by WillyAppelman

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Over the weekend the Director’s of The Magnet’s Musical Improv Program held a town hall to discuss changes in the program.  Here is a recap of what was discussed:

1. There will be a Curriculum Change:

From now on, there’s a requirement of 4 levels before you can audition for a Musical House Team.  The current class is the last class that can audition after finishing Level 3. The new levels will be:
Level 1 – Song Structure
Level 2 – Song Types
Level 3 – Basic Narrative and Dramatic Question
Level 4 – Performance Workshop, Different Forms (once could liken it to a mix of Level 4 and Level 6 of the regular improv classes)
Forms will include monoscene, different musical styles, narrator, dramatic question, musicality/genre.

2. There will now be Musical Drop-in Classes on every other Saturday from 12-2, beginning in March.

3. The Circuit (Friday night Harold teams on the Training Center Stage) will add one musical team.

4. Current teams will remain. No teams will be cut, though some members might be shuffled around.
There will be 2 new teams. Auditions for these will be March 2, with callbacks March 3.
As there will be 8 teams, Tuesday nights will be restructured (and renamed – name suggestions are welcomed). Shows at 7, 8, 9, and mixer at 10.
Shows at 7 and 8 will be two sets each, 25 minutes each set.
Show at 9 will be one team doing a 45-minute set.
“Coaches” will be replaced by “Directors” who are selected and assigned by Michael Martin.

5. Mixer at 10 will be hosted by Trudy and have its own team.

6. There’s a new faculty member who will start by teaching Level 4 classes in March: Kirk Damato.http://www.magnettheater.com/performers/Kirk-Damato

 

That’s the recap!  See you at the shows!