Russ started improvising during high school in Ann Arbor Michigan. There, he and his friends formed a group that they believed to be very “high brow,” but looking back, they are now pretty sure they mostly just made up fart jokes and mocked their principle. Since then, Russ has come a long way, honing his craft at iO and Second City in Chicago before making The Magnet Theater his improv home base.
As a teacher of long-form, Russ tries to keep it positive. He emphasizes physical and emotional focus. His objective is to get everyone on board and be okay with playing together. Russ also likes to incorporate tons of metaphors into his teaching. For instance rather than just tell you to “follow the fear,” as most improv teachers might, Russ, a native of Indianapolis, might quote racecar driver Mario Andretti. “If everything seems under control, you’re not going fast enough.”
Russ is currently teaching Level 2: Intro to Longform improv. Check out a listing of our available classes on the Magnet Theater website.
The Circuit: Round 3! Apply for Student Harold Teams!
The next round of The Circuit begins in May! The Circuit features Harold teams made-up of both current Magnet students and veteran performers. Anyone who has completed Magnet Level 3 or higher (and is not currently on a Megawatt team or in Team Performance Workshop) can apply. Performers will be chosen randomly by lottery. Teams will rehearse weekly with a coach and have a 3 month run of shows on Friday nights at the Studio Theater.
Apply now by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deadline to apply is April 15th.
Current and former Circuit performers speak up! Let the world know how awesome it is.
So maybe you can’t go to Chicago just to see your favorite
Magnet Teams. You can, however, get a preview of the teams accepted to CIF 2011 all weekend:
FACE Friday at 7pm
Chet Watkins Friday at 8pm
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.
Do you edit videos? Do you love being “on set?” Want to be a part of the Magnet Video Production team? If so, here is your chance. The Magnet Digital Media Engine is accepting enthusiastic video-loving candidates for shooting, directing, editing, and even PA’ing video sketches. Just send an email with your film production experience and the position(s) you are seeking to email@example.com by Friday, February 4th.
Yes, just do it!
The Circuit features improv ensembles made-up of both current Magnet students and veteran Magnet performers. Every Friday at 10PM, three Circuit teams take the stage at our Studio Theater (259 West 30th Street) and perform the classic longform structure, The Harold!
This rounds teams will be performing starting next Friday into April. They are…
Coach: Jamie Rivera (Junior Varsity)
Coach: Matt Shafeek (Phooka)
Coach: Rick Andrews (Brick)
Coach: Nick Kanellis (Trike)
Coach: Elana Fishbein (Featherweight)
Coach: Charlie Whitcroft (The Boss)
Lookin’ for something fun to listen to? Ed Herbstman & Melanie Hoops star in a dramatic reading, produced for radio, of Kurt Andersen’s “holiday” tale. From the Studio 360 website:
This is what Kurt Andersen considers a holiday tale… melting ice caps and extraterrestrial spies? Kurt’s story, “Human Intelligence,” was produced for radio by Jonathan Mitchell, and stars Melanie Hoopes, John Ottavino, and Ed Herbstman. The unabridged version was published this year in Stories: All New Tales, an anthology edited by Neil Gaiman and Al Sarrantonio.
The Magnet is hosting a special round of auditions for a Second City improvisation touring company that will play aboard Norwegian Cruise Line Ships. If you have graduated from The PIT, UCB or Magnet’s Training program here in New York, you are eligible to audition. Here are the details:
Second City Theatrical is seeking actors for Second City ensembles aboard Norwegian Cruise Line ships. Contracts are for 2011. The Second City (based in Chicago and Toronto) has been the sole sketch comedy and improvisation provider for NCL cruise ships since January of 2005.
WHEN: Tuesday, February 1 from 10AM to 6PM, Callbacks are Wednesday February 2, time TBD
WHERE: Magnet Theater Training Center, 259 W 30th Street, FL2
To submit, email your headshot and resume ON JANUARY 3-6, 2011 to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject: “NY ship auditions.” Expect an email reply with information (audition time, decline, etc) on Jan 10 or 11.
The Second City is seeking graduates of improv programs (e.g. The Second City, UCB, Magnet, PIT, etc)
Auditions will be held in half hour increments with groups of eight, and will be completely improvised.
Please bring a current headshot and resume with updated contact information (we will phone you, not your agency).
Please dress in something akin to performance clothes (how you would dress for a Second City performance).
Q&A Session: Learn About Second City’s Cruise Ship Performance Opportunities
If you are an improviser/actor and want information about opportunities with Second City’s NCL gig, please join Beth Kligerman, Director of Talent and Talent Development for The Second City, for a Q and A session.
WHEN: Monday, January 31, 5pm to 6:30pm
WHERE: Magnet Theater, 254 W 29th Street