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

Magnet Theater Blog

Monday February 13, 2017, 2:13pm - by Magnet Theater

Check in and review the Magnet Training Center for discounted room rentals!

Hey everyone! We’re excited to share some easy ways to save money on rentals at our Training Center involving the incredible power of social media. Read on!

– If you check in on Facebook or Instagram, you’ll receive $5 off your next rental. We will also accept when you check in on apps like Yelp! or Swarm and share the check-in with friends via Twitter or Facebook. Just show the office staff your social media post and you’ll get the discount.

– Write a review of our rental space on Google, Facebook, Yelp!, or Foursquare and receive a $10 discount on your next rental. (No repeat reviews on the same site/platform.)

– Pick either of the money-saving strategies above, but please note that there’s a limit of one discount per rental.

Happy Valentine’s Day!! <3<3<3

Friday February 10, 2017, 10:00am - by Magnet Theater

Welcome to Magnet’s “Getting To Know” series! We’re using our blog to highlight our fabulous performers and writers and we can’t wait for you to meet them. Want to see them all? Click here.

Chloe Lewis Headshot

What’s your name?

Chloe Lewis

Which team or show are you on?

Kinfolk

Where are you from?

Chicago, Illinois

How did you get into improv/sketch comedy?

I took my first improv class as a freshman in high school at the Latin School of Chicago. Nick Baer was my first (and one of my favorite) teacher, and here are his notes from my grade report first quarter, freshman year (yes, I have them): “Chloe has been doing solid work in Improv Company this quarter.  A confident and enthusiastic performer…she is not afraid to follow a bizarre move or premise with complete sincerity…Chloe could stand to slow down at times in her scene work…I encourage Chloe to continue sharing the joy that she seems to perform with at all times.” Safe to say, I’m still weird, and I could still stand to slow down.

How long have you been performing/writing?

Welllllllll my mom was a performer at the Second City in Chicago, and while she was performing on the main stage, she was also pregnant with me. So, is it safe to say, since the womb? Just kidding, but I have been writing and performing since I was a little kid. I didn’t get into comedy specifically until high school, but I have been on stage ever since I was little. In preschool I made my own stage out of blocks every day and I would bully all the other little kids into watching me perform during choice time. Suckers.

Who in all the world would be your ideal scene or writing partner?

Oh god. This is a horrible wonderful question. Where to start? Gilda Radner, Martin Short, Steven Martin? Or Tina or Amy or Mindy or Mya or Kristen? Or Jake Johnson or Lamorne Morris, or Tim Baltz because he’s super cute and talented and my friend Lizzie and I had a crush on him in college and would go to shows at the iO religiously to see his teams. I’d love to sit down with Rachel Dratch, or John Lithgow. Stephen Karam, or Sir David Hare? I’d give my left leg to write with or to have known E.E. Cummings or Lucille Ball….ok, I’ll stop there. You probably only wanted me to say like one or two people…

Who would you most like to impersonate or write for?

Oh god, I love to impersonate Jimmy Stewart. Is that weird? I’m oddly good at it. I would love to write for literally anyone who wants me to write for them. Are you hiring?

What makes you laugh the hardest?

Farting. I’m serious. I know that is blue and bathroom humor is frowned upon, but I LOVE farts. Farts, farting, jokes about farts, I just farted, you just farted, laughing until I fart, laughing because someone farted, laughing because that someone who farted was probably me. Hangover farting, farting and walking away. Yeah, farts. 100% of the time anything to do with farts will make me laugh.

Describe the soundtrack to your life!

Yikes, this is tough. A little bit of everything from the Eagles and the Grateful Dead to Tim McGraw and anything country, to Mary Chapin Carpenter and Carole King, to James Taylor and bluegrass and folk, love Grizzly Bear. Anything but screamo. I’m a runner, and frequently run with the November Project, but when I’m not with them, I stick to top 40s. BIG fan of Spotify release radar. They get me.

What’s something you’d ask when meeting someone for the first time?

Usually their name. (Haha is that a boring answer?) Then I repeat their name in my head at least six times right after because I am terrible with remembering names and someone once told me that if you are bad with names you are just lazy. So, I try not to be lazy.

Where can we find you on a Saturday night?

Ideally? In a cuddle pile with an entire litter of puppies. Realistically (but also ideally)? On my couch with Indian takeout, my boyfriend Jimmy, and whatever topically relevant show everyone is binging at the time.

Monday February 6, 2017, 4:20pm - by Megan Gray


We are excited to announce that the two Musical Mixers this month (Tuesday, February 7th and 21st) will take place at 6pm! Sign-ups begin at 5:30.

Musical Megawatt teams will perform afterward, with shows at 7, 8, 9, and 10. We hope to see you there!

Wednesday February 1, 2017, 7:00am - by Magnet Theater

Magnet Theater Community
New York, New York

Executive Order Issued By The Magnet Community

The Magnet community is here to make comedy, but there are also some things we take very seriously. When our core principles are under threat, we are required to speak up, remind each other why we are here, and make it clear what we stand for, and stand against.

There have always been forces in the world working to keep people apart. These will never fully go away, but in light of the recent actions by the President, it appears, right now, these forces are alarmingly strong.

We affirm that denigrating, diminishing, dismissing and excluding people based on race, gender, sexuality, disability, religion or country of origin is fundamentally in opposition to what makes our community strong.

Our diverse community is built upon something quite simple: listening to and supporting each other in order to create something we couldn’t do alone. For a long time, we thought this was just for fun – but it turns out improvising is important. Because when we listen to each other, we ultimately discover the great value of each other’s unique gifts. And when we do, improvising, making comedy, and storytelling become powerful ways to combat the forces attempting to divide us.

This White House is trading on deeply harmful stereotypes in the name of enhancing our security. As New Yorkers, we find this both offensive and counter-productive. As improvisers and theater artists, we find it not funny.

As individuals in this community, we declare our commitment to each other during this disorienting time. When institutions seem fragile, we realize that our true strength lies in each other, our craft, and our fundamental desire to listen to each other for what connects us, not what divides us.

We choose “Yes, and”, not “No.” Though, man, during these troubling times we really want to say “Go Fuck Yourself.” Instead, we’ll just add that we believe in science.

Signed,

The Magnet Theater Community

**(Want to sign the actual document? Stop by the Magnet Training Center’s lounge area and add your signature.)**

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Monday January 30, 2017, 11:25am - by Magnet Theater

Dear Members of the Magnet Community,

Within the Magnet Theater Community, there are many who feel inspired and want to take action against the new administration’s intents and policies. Some may feel overwhelmed or confused and are seeking guidance. The Magnet has always been a place that has provided support for its members in and out of the theater. It is important that we find a time and place for members of the community to come together to put frustration, sadness, anger (and all the other possible emotions being felt right now) into action.

We’re interested in creating a space offering guidance on taking action and how to resist/speak out during Trump’s first 100 days. This will be a place to seek and give support for various resistance efforts: writing postcards to senators, emailing + calling representatives, brainstorm other ideas, etc. On-site monitors will volunteer for 2-3 hours at a time. Materials (food, beverages, index cards, postcards, poster supplies, etc) would be provided by those attending.

As a monitor (a volunteer to be physically in the space for a period of time) or as a reference/resource (for some clear, actionable efforts), you will help guide people who come to the Training Center in the right direction. We are looking for people in the Magnet Community who would be helpful in either capacity! If you are interested in monitoring or otherwise serving as a reference/resource, please complete the survey here: https://goo.gl/forms/vZWzJS6zfc2NYJEG3

The first meeting of the Alliance will be this Wednesday 2/1 from 12-7pm at the Training Center – Room E. All members of the Magnet Community and their friends are welcome to drop by for any or all of this time.

If you’re interested in joining the resistance, please join us.

(Link to FB event.)

Sincerely,
The Magnet Rebel Alliance
(Q? resist@magnettheater.com)

Monday January 30, 2017, 8:00am - by Magnet Theater

Ringers Newsletter

Applications are now open for Ringers’ March Show. Ringers is a sketch show for aspiring, eager, and ambitious writers, actors, and directors of the Magnet community – and we want you to be a part of it!

The show will be Monday, March 20th at 10:30 P.M.

Below please see the details to apply:

WRITERS:

Ringers is seeking sketches for the stage to showcase in its March show. To have your sketch considered, prior or current participation in Magnet’s Sketch Writing program, Diversity Sketch Lab, Lady Sketch Lab, or Magnet Video Lab is required. You will be required to attend the Table Read on Friday, March 3rd from 6:30 P.M. – 8:30 P.M. as well as the show. Attendance of rehearsals is encouraged but is not mandatory. We encourage directors and writers to meet up after the table read to go over notes and any revisions prior to the first rehearsal.

*Please note that rehearsals will be held before/after class hours during the week and weekend.*

To apply, please fill out the following form: https://goo.gl/forms/q5f9ro9UXlMhCNS13 as well as email ringers@magnettheater.com a finished, polished sketch formatted correctly and no longer than 5 pages in length. This sketch should also contain little to no tech.

ACTORS:

Ringers is seeking actors to star in its sketches. To be considered as an actor, you must have completed at least Level 4 of Magnet’s Improv Curriculum or Level 2 of the Musical Program. You will be required to attend the Table Read on Friday, March 3rd from 6:30 P.M. – 8:30 P.M., the rehearsals for the sketch(es) you are cast in, and the show.

*Please note that rehearsals will be held before/after class hours during the week and weekend.*

Actors will typically be given at least 2 roles and thus must be available for more than one rehearsal slot.

To apply to be an actor for an upcoming show, please fill out the following form: https://goo.gl/forms/E1Jm40Zs46SKLbWE2

DIRECTORS:

Ringers is seeking directors for its March show. To be considered as a director, you must have Big Sib’ed a Sketch Level 2 class or have been on a Magnet Sketch Team. You will be required to attend the Table Read on Friday, March 3rd from 6:30 P.M. – 8:30 P.M., the rehearsals for the sketch(es) you are directing, and the show. We encourage directors and writers to meet up after the table read to go over notes and any revisions prior to the first rehearsal.

*Please note that rehearsals will be held before/after class hours during the week and weekend.*

To apply to be a director for a sketch in an upcoming show, please fill out the following form: https://goo.gl/forms/M27Hidj0luj4kYDK2

**The deadline to be considered for Ringers’ March show is Wednesday, February 15th. Announcements will go out Wednesday, February 22nd**

For all questions please e-mail Armando Diaz and Amanda Xeller at ringers@magnettheater.com. We look forward to working with you!

Wednesday January 25, 2017, 7:00am - by Magnet Theater

 

Actor, director, and Queen of Illinois, KRISTINA GROSSPIETSCH, joins us to talk about her time spent in France, why Freeze Tag sucks, and authenticity on stage. Growing up as a theater-obsessed child and ultimately landing in good old NYC, Kristina shares the story of how she got here and muses on improv, comedy, and interpersonal communication. See Kristina perform each week at Megawatt with Bodywork and listen to her talk with Louis right now!

Louis launches into this episode asking Kristina about her time spent teaching English in rural France. She tells of making up her teaching methods on the fly to see what stuck with her elementary school students. Kristina fondly recalls the ample idle time she enjoyed while living there and wonders if we really need everything New York has to offer, or if we’re better off with simply a good bar, a good friend, and a job to satisfy us?

Although raised outside of Chicago, Kristina did not take her first improv class until 2012 after landing back in NYC following her French sojourn. Growing up, it was all theater, baby! Kristina talks about her heavy involvement in the local musical theater scene around Chicago and then hits us with a HUGE takedown of the classic improv game Freeze Tag. (It’s warranted, folks!) She also admits to being an overachiever and how that has hampered her ability recognize exactly what she’ll be best at in art and life. Plus, Louis and Kristina attempt to answer the hard-hitting question: Can you avoid messing up your kids?

In the back half of the episode, we find out what convinced Kristina to ultimately give improv a try and she tells us about the experience of diving into a new artform. Louis taps into Kristina’s love of authenticity on stage and asks, given her Megawatt teams’ penchant for the theatrical, what has it been like to attempt authenticity within those heightened atmospheres? They also explore the observation that people with anxiety seem drawn to improv and Kristina and Louis have a major communication breakthrough of their own! To close out the episode, Louis spins a beautiful metaphor and Kristina talks about the Magnet Theater’s Very Own 10-Minute Play Festival, which she is producing, coming to you this March! (Submissions are open now!)

Friday January 20, 2017, 10:23am - by Megan Gray

Congrats to all of our new Winter 2017 Circuit teams! Shows start TONIGHT at 10pm and run every Friday through March 24th at the Magnet Theater Training Center. Huzzah!

Verbal:
Veronica Lowry
Mallory Rhodes
Melissa Ulloa
Anne Antonucci
Andy Lachman
Matt Giglio
Christopher Yu
Simon Johnston
Coach: Patrick May

Keaton:
Tanyika Carey
Jessica Rowley
Dora Lanigan
Connell Barrett
Sammy Liu
Nikolai Solonski
Luis Pelaez
Lorina Ladrillono
Coach: Henry Russell Bergstein

McManus:
Karina Sahlin
John Fennessy
Michael  Condon
Craig Lehner
Cindy Dumestre
Virginia Dickens
Brandon Greenspan
Sarah Poirier
Coach: Nolan Constantino

Fenster:
Mila Milosevic
Dan Wiebicke
Franky Arriola
Lisa Yapp
Shamanth Rao
Brad Engle
Paul Maksymowicz
Christine Lawless
Coach: Katie Mordhorst

Hockney:
(Musical Improv)
Camille Guinemer
Margaret Lyons
Kaley McMahon
Billy Soco
Isabella Way
Curry Whitmire
Coach: Amanda Mayer

Wednesday January 18, 2017, 7:00am - by Magnet Theater

 

Warm-blooded baby of sex, WILL JACOBS, drops by to talk about his foray into playwrighting, being malleable on stage, and how to provide balance on a team.  A comedy quadruple-threat, Will can be seen performing on Magnet shows like Musical Megawatt, Megawatt, and The Friday Night Sh*ow; in schools all over the city with the Story Pirates; on the internet with Cake I.D.; and oh yeah, he’s also a playwright. There’s a lot packed into this one, so let’s just dive in!

Will begins the episode talking with Louis about Telegraph, a play he wrote while attending the Washington University in St. Louis. He discusses the undertaking of staging something so daunting as a first-time playwright. Louis and Will talk about college and Will describes what it’s been like to find permission to indulge in his interests. Find out where Will’s ideas come from and if their origin is different when improvising versus writing! He and Louis discuss the hurdle of playing with people who really impress you and the challenge of being malleable not only while acting but in life.

Will relays some great advice for how to behave when you’re being judgemental of a scene! They discuss “wherewithal” as it relates to improv and wonder if it is the opposite of being in your head? Louis points out one of Will’s greatest abilities and diving into the technique, Will offers tips on how to point out an unusual thing in a way that matters and can sustain scenes. They both agree on an improv rule: Don’t be Ironic Comment Guy! Finally, these two gentlemen talk about providing balance to a team and why Spock was so great on Star Trek. Finally, we hear about how Will went from, “I could never do that” when watching improv to performing it almost every night of the week!

Wednesday January 11, 2017, 7:00am - by Magnet Theater

dede-2-podcast Subscribe with iTunes

Ariana Grande’s resident Floridian, DEDE TABAK, joins host Louis Kornfeld to talk about being from Miami, her college improv experience, and how to surprise yourself on stage. That’s just a sample of what this episode has to offer, though. You’ll also get to hear about celebrities, how to handle disgusting scenes on stage, how Dede got her start in the arts, and why strange scene partners are awesome. More too, but you get the idea! Huzzah!

This episode begins with a rare and lengthy cold open and continues in earnest on the subject of celebrity encounters. “How tall is Jemaine Clement?” you may wonder. Well, Dede Tabak has the answer! Louis asks Dede about her comedy roots and what she was into as a child. Dede grew up in Miami, Florida watching In Living Color, presumably because she didn’t live in the part of Miami where people were partying or going to the beach, or maybe it was because she was a child! Louis and Dede exchange methods on running away from home, something they would both occasionally attempt in their youth and Dede shares the story of her parents meeting at NYU and moving from New York to Miami and, how now, Dede works at NYU where it all began. They talk about the burden of asking friends and family to come see your improv shows and how to perform “gross” things on stage, or when to just avoid them.

Backing up, Louis asks Dede what brought her to improv in the first place, and we discover that she began life as a theatrical kid and attended a University of Miami theater camp growing up. She then talks about her college improv days at Fairfield University, where she had a very positive experience under the guidance of Heather Parady, complete with lessons like cut the bullshit, be truthful, and to occasionally burn some sage. Dede and Louis explore what it means to “be truthful” in a scene and how to step out with nothing in mind. Find out how Dede most loves to play and hear her talk about how she (successfully) surprises herself on a regular basis. They also discuss regret in improv, what Dede likes to get from her scene partners, watching improv after-the-fact, and cherishing the strange classmates and scene partners you’ll have along the way. Dede says “vagina” in this episode more than anyone ever has on the show! Plus, A Serious Scene Opposite A Jar Of Pickles!