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

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

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!
Friday May 4, 2012, 11:22am - by catherinewing

 

GAY BOMB: THE MUSICAL is landing on the Magnet Theater, with only a few seats left for this highly anticipated opening night tonight! Directed by Michael Martin, with music by Frank Spitznagel, and book and lyrics by Chris Friden and Steve Whyte, this musical comedy is inspired by an actual proposal by the U.S. military (in 1994!) to build a bomb that would make America’s enemies gay.

Starring Andrew Fafoutakis, Dreagn Foltz, Ben Jones, Michael Lutton, Jen Sanders, T.J. Mannix, Oscar Montoya, Dave Tomczak and Woody Fu, the show premieres tonight, and will run on select Mondays and Fridays in May and June at 8:30pm. Tickets can be purchased here.

Fridays: 5/4, 5/11, 5/18, 5/25, 6/15, 6/22, 6/29
Mondays: 5/21, 6/11, 6/18

Here is Part 1 of my interview with GAY BOMB: THE MUSICAL co-writer, Steve Whyte.

Magnet Blog:  What motivated you and your co-writer, Chris Friden, to create GAY BOMB?

Steve Whyte:  We often hear of absurd policies from our government, but this one really seemed special. It’s simultaneously hilarious and sad. Sad that a room full of educated, grown men (no one knows who was in the room, but I would wager that, yes, they were probably all men) would have a set of values and beliefs that could allow the serious consideration of a “Gay Bomb.” This didn’t happen in the 1950s; this was 1994. Hilarious, I suppose, for the same reasons. It’s low hanging fruit – easy to make fun of.  At the same time, it’s an opportunity for some commentary about stereotyping, prejudice, politics, and power.

MB:  Have you and Chris ever written a musical before?

SW:  Neither of us have ever written a musical. We actually wrote a screenplay of GAY BOMB about a year ago, and then figured it would make a fun musical. I learned a lot about musicals and what makes them tick from the musical improv classes at the Magnet. Then, when we decided to do this, I read a shitload of books on the subject, took a “musical writers bootcamp” workshop at Davenport Theatrical, and bent the ear of fellow Magnet improviser and librettist Justin Moran (POPE!, Nightfall on Miranga Island).

MB:  Any advice for folks who might want to write their own musical, but don’t know how to start?

SW:  My number one suggestion would be: Get help. Surround yourself with talented people. Be willing to give up control and have others help.

There are several books on the subject, a couple of which lay out the fundamentals pretty well. I found The Musical Theatre Writer’s Survival Guide by David Spencer and Writing the Broadway Musical by Aaron Frankel to be particularly helpful. Watching and re-watching a lot of musicals helps, especially ones that resonate with you. For me, that’s anything by Parker and Stone—Team America, Book of Mormon, the South Park movie (there are also several South Park episodes that are mini-musicals). And again, the musical improv classes also provide a great foundation in what moves a musical forward.

MB:  Any last words to end Part 1 of this interview, Steve?

SW:  We’re honored that the Magnet has included us in their effort to showcase more scripted material at the theater. This production draws very heavily on the Magnet community. Everyone in the cast and crew has taken many classes here, and has been in many shows. Our director, Michael Martin, is the director of the musical improv program here along with Frank Spitznagel, who is our musical director and composer.

Please stay tuned to the Magnet blog for future installments of my interview with Steve. See you at Opening Night of GAY BOMB!  Stay for the after-party at Smithfield, the new bar at 215 West 28th Street!

Thursday May 3, 2012, 10:01am - by WillyAppelman

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 megan@magnettheater.com to reserve a spot!

Wednesday May 2, 2012, 11:22am - by WillyAppelman

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!

Thursday April 26, 2012, 12:21pm - by admin

 

Dave Razowsky and Ed Herbstman answered questions from Alex Marino and the audience on January 29th at Magnet Theater, and somebody recorded it.  Wanna listen to it?  Well here it is.  Enjoy.

Oh, and if you’d like to see them perform together in the very clearly titled, ‘Razowsky and Herbstman’, you can do so on Saturday night, April 28th at 9pm, on the Magnet Mainstage.

Make a reservation here.

And if you’d like to train with these guys (along with Rachel Hamilton and Armando Diaz and others) while enjoying swimming, kayaking, and campfires, you can sign up for Camp Magnet 2012!

 

Monday April 23, 2012, 9:01pm - by admin

We are very happy to share the following announcement with the Magnet community. Break a leg.

JUST ANNOUNCED FROM THE SECOND CITY CHICAGO

General auditions for The Second City

The Second City primarily seeks actors to become Understudies to The Second City Touring Company (based in Chicago) - other projects actors are considered for – once they make the call back process:  Second City Theatricals, Ship ensemble members, SCC actors (corporate division)

The Second City
Audition week
The week of Monday, June 4, 2012
Call backs will be held on Monday, June 11, 2012
Find out about Eligibility, The Application Process and Other Helpful Info after the Jump…
Friday April 20, 2012, 11:24am - by seantaylor
newsletter_edited

Magnet Theater
April 20, 2012

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What’s To Get Double Feature! 

What’s To Get pulls double duty this month, bookending this weekend
like old friends!  Friday at 7pm, check out our first ever “Best Of”
showcase.  We’ve collected all our favorite acts from the first 6
months into one jam packed show!
Tonight!
7pm!
Click here for more information.

The Movie Returns!

Ed Herbstman directs a group of Magnet veterans in The Movie form.
Click here for more information.

Just For Laughs: Character Audition

Watch some of New York’s funniest sketch comedians showcase their finest character comedy, vying for a spot in the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal.
Click here for more information.

CLICK TO READ MORE…

Wednesday April 18, 2012, 9:04pm - by admin

In celebration of its 7th Anniversary, Magnet held its first completely ridiculous and ironically meaningful award ceremony. It was the 1st Annual Maggie Awards and everyone played fell into their appropriate roles immediately; the winners were falsely modest and the nominees who lost pretended it was an honor just to be nominated. The presenters were sharp and read the prompter with varying degrees of skill and self conscious sexiness.

Here are some moments from the ceremony for those of you in the community who couldn’t be there, and those of you who were there and aren’t sure this actually happened.  Enjoy

Here is a video of the opening number.  Peter McNerney was our Billy Crystal, accompanied by Steve Whyte and  Joel Esher.  Also appearing in the opening number were Michael Lutton, Jen Sanders and Santa Claus. 

Click after the jump for the complete list of nominees and winners.

CLICK TO READ MORE…

Monday April 16, 2012, 3:00pm - by WillyAppelman

Magnet’s next big musical event is almost here…GAY BOMB: THE MUSICAL!  GAY BOMB is a comedy inspired by the real life plans of the U.S. military  to build a bomb that would make their enemies gay.  The show is a cautionary tale set in a not-to-distant America that is a  “xenophobic, homophobic wet dream”.  This timely political piece is not only topical but extremely on point, leaving no stereotype unscathed.  GAY BOMB: THE MUSICAL premiers at The Magnet Theater on Friday May 4th at 8:30, and plays on select Fridays and Mondays through June.

Much like previous Magnet Musical Event NIGHTFALL ON MIRANGA ISLAND, tickets are limited and will go fast!!!  Tickets go on sale right….NOW.  Get yours NOW here.  Make sure you’re there for an opening night extravaganza you won’t want to miss.

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!

BOOM!