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

Wednesday April 27, 2016, 7:00am - by Magnet Theater

Stefan Schuette Podcast Subscribe with iTunes

A joy to watch on UCB’s Harold Night and TourCo, STEFAN SCHUETTE, joins host Louis Kornfeld for a heavy dose of improv nerdery and to share his improv journey with us. Stefan moved to the city five years ago, has studied everywhere, and currently flies all around the country performing improv. He loves the craft so much and he’s so damn funny, we just had to have him on!

Not too long ago, Stefan hosted his own improv podcast (Improv Noise), on which Louis was a guest, so you can consider this the episode of Frasier when Ted Danson shows up! Louis starts out by asking Stefan to walk us through his route to a life of comedy. Stefan had been doing improv forever in various places and styles when, five years ago, he finally moved to NYC to chase the dream. First being cast at UCB as a member of UCB TourCo, he was then placed on Lloyd Night and quickly rose to Harold Night, where he currently plays with Some Kid. Louis asks him to compare the experience and approach of performing with TourCo versus Lloyd Night and then goes on to contrast Lloyd with Harold Night.

As promised, we get a deep dive into a number of improv techniques and approaches. On the Harold structure itself, Louis and Stefan discuss what we can call a Harold: Does it need to be a particular structure, or can it be anything long-form? He talks about TourCo performances and how they strive more to show the crowd funny scenes than the mastery of a form. Our pair makes a fuss about preparing the audience for what they’re about to see and Louis asks Stefan about his approach to interviews at the top of shows.

Although he considers himself more of an organic player, Stefan has been playing almost strictly premise-based improv for two years now, so he provides advice on building those premise muscles. Louis inquires about Stefan’s coaching and what he most often focuses on, and we are given a beautiful analogy that relates improv to a baseball card stuck in bicycle wheel spokes. They discuss having longer-term goals to focus on with your team and Stefan provides more advice on second beats, third beats, and callbacks. They also explore how group mind influences performances.

As we approach the end of the episode, Louis asks Stefan about how he comes across as a human and what it means to be “specific.” To wrap it al up, our dynamic duo talks about the Keith Johnstone style of improv, which is found all over the world. One thing’s for sure: they love opening doors.

Tuesday April 26, 2016, 2:07pm - by Magnet Theater


Applications are now open for Ringers’ June 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, June 27th at 7:30pm.

Below please see the details to apply:

Ringers is seeking sketches for the stage to showcase in its June show. To have your sketch considered, prior or current participation in Magnet’s Sketch Writing program, Lady Sketch Lab, or Magnet Video Lab is required.

To apply, please e-mail your name, your writing experience, and a finished, polished sketch to ringers@magnettheater.com. The sketches you submit should require little to no tech and should be no longer than 5 pages. You will be required to attend the table read on Friday, June 10th from 6:30 – 8:30 as well as the show. Attendance of rehearsals is encouraged, but is not mandatory.

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


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 rehearsals for the sketch(es) you are cast in as well as the show.

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

To apply to be an actor for an upcoming show, please fill out the following form: http://goo.gl/forms/relcpuVc4X

Ringers is seeking directors to direct sketches. 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, June 10th from 6:30 – 8:30, the rehearsals for the sketch(es) you are directing, and the show..

*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: http://goo.gl/forms/VAfgB68gM3

**The deadline to be considered for Ringers’ June show is Wednesday, May 18th.**

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

Thursday April 14, 2016, 11:42pm - by Magnet Theater


Congrats to all of our new Spring 2016 Conservatory Circuit teams! Come see one of their shows, Fridays at 10pm, April 22nd through May 27th. Huzzah!

Patrick Haggerty
Will Cheng
Shalini Tripathi
Sarah Poirier
Virginia Dickens
Timothy Fenn
Dana Moore
Adam Taylor
Coach: Ashley Glicken

Kate de Longpre’
Aditya Otiv
Adam Pasulka
Matthew Manganiello
Natasha Gleichmann
Peter Appleby
Kirsten Henning
Andrew Joelson
Coach: Michael McLarnon

Adina Forsstrom
Joe Lemonik
Eric Stone
Rebecca tran
Yimin Peng
Annemarie Cullen
Tomer soran
Ed Cara
Coach: Tim Canty

Nicole Edine
Stephanie Oghweh
Melanie Rubin
Sarah Schlesinger
Tim Layman
Justin McElwee
Daniel Lisle
Dave Adams
Coach: Matt Sellitti

Wednesday April 13, 2016, 7:00am - by Magnet Theater

Rebecca & Armando Podcast Subscribe with iTunes

To celebrate our 11th Anniversary, guest-host Rebecca Robles interviews Magnet founder Armando Diaz about his first dance, marching band, and the power of “no.” Some of you might remember from Rebecca’s first appearance on the podcast, Episode#40, that she’s Armando’s #1 fan, so we thought it would be just so fun to have her interview Armando herself! Here’s to another year of the Magnet Theater and t0 wonderful people engaging in delightful conversation!

Rebecca begins the episode with a special gift for Armando that she found on the train platform. This of course leads Rebecca to ask Armando if he sides with God or the Devil. It’s so profound, you might think that Branson Reese is conducting the interview. Will Rebecca and Armando provide any answers as to whom we should follow?

Truth be told, we don’t really want to provide any answers to any questions – you’ll just have to listen. But let us assure you that the following things happen in this episode:

  • Armando talks about his birthday being Halloween
  • Rebecca asks about first dances and first kisses
  • We find out which instrument Armando played in marching band!
  • Rebecca makes a very special phone call on air!
  • A super important lesson is learned

Truly, this is an episode 11 years in the making. Please listen and please enjoy!

Wednesday April 6, 2016, 6:32am - by Magnet Theater

Adam Twitchell Podcast Subscribe with iTunes

Student Council member and a big wig in The Music Industry, ADAM TWITCHELL, sits down with host Louis Kornfeld to discuss production value, physical comedy, and his indie team EagleFox. Adam compares his two most recent sketch teams, comments on the evolution of the sketch program at Magnet, and even shares some ideas for sketches taken straight from his notes. Finally, he talks about being jobless. This episode with lift you up!

We pick up in the middle of a conversation between Adam and Louis regarding the sketch “Lost at Sea,” which Adam wrote and performed with sketch team, Wendigo.(You can watch it below.) He and Louis discuss writing sketches that have a bit of production value and he walks us through the creation of “Lost At Sea.” Jumping off of on the themes of physicality and stage pictures, Louis asks Adam about his silent movie show and and he talks about how he’s a big fan of not only that category of films, but playing with genres in general.

Speaking on tropes and old films, Louis and Adam ponder how to go about writing something original in an era where everything has been done. Adam is now a member of sketch team Student Council and he relates how it is working with them versus his previous team, Wendigo. He also tells Louis how much he enjoys sketches that require a decent amount of research, even if he’s writing about the business of something like the Wonka corporation.

Adam reads some real ideas for sketches from his phone and tells us what he gets from “the room” during the creative process. He and Louis talk about traveling to sketch festivals and how shows should flow. Having been a part of it since the very beginning, Adam answers questions about how  the sketch program at Magnet has progressed since its inception. Louis shares some of Armando’s best advice for sketch and asks Adam what wisdom he would impart upon someone who is greener in the scene.

Getting controversial, Louis asks Adam whether he prefers improv or sketch, OR if he loves them both equally, like children. Without giving anything away, we’ll just tell you that Adam recently joined Megawatt veterans The Music Industry and still finds time to play with his indie team EagleFox from time to time. He notes that camaraderie is the #1 best taste to making an indie team great and keeping spirits high. At Louis’ behest, he details the legend of EagleFox’s “Hair Mona Lisa,” which is a part of INSPIRADO folklore.

We conclude this episode with Adam discussing his “quarter-life rediscovery,” his current jobless state, and by finding out our guest’s top five desert island comedy picks.

Tuesday April 5, 2016, 9:09am - by Magnet Theater

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SUNDAY (4/10, 9pm) – Magnet Theater is thrilled to announce a special edition of its weekly show, ‘Kornfeld and Andrews,’ featuring IRA GLASS (This American Life). This Sunday, Glass will sit in with the distinguished improv duo to help kick off a week-long celebration of the Magnet’s 11th Anniversary. This special show will take place at the Magnet Theater Mainstage – 254 W 29th St, New York, NY.

American radio personality Ira Glass is the creator, host and executive producer of the award-winning public radio show ‘This American Life’ as well as the editorial advisor of the chart-smashing podcast ‘Serial.’ With numerous other projects to his name, this is not Glass’ first foray into comedy — he previously worked alongside comedian Mike Birbiglia on his 2012 film ‘Sleepwalk With Me,’ which Glass co-wrote and produced.

Stand-out improv duo ‘Kornfeld and Andrews’ has been a critics pick in the New York Times and one of the most consistently hilarious shows in NYC. Rick Andrews and Louis Kornfeld have performed and taught improv all over the continent at The Chicago Improv Festival, Vancouver International Improv Festival, North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival and dozens more. Louis and Rick have performed in a litany of highly respected and heralded shows at the Magnet, including Kiss Punch Poem (“a rare find… uproarious and heartfelt.” –Time Out) and The Weave (“Weekly Best Of” –Splitsider). Rick is head of Magnet’s Education department, while Louis directs multiple shows at the Theater.

Tickets will go on sale Wednesday (4/6) at 12pm EST.

Link to show page: http://www.magnettheater.com/shows/47065-Kornfeld-&-Andrews

Monday April 4, 2016, 11:01am - by Megan Gray

Musical Megawatt - Musical Improv

The Magnet Theater is thrilled to announce the new teams and additions to its Tuesday night Musical Megawatt lineup. New teams will debut tomorrow, Tuesday, April 5th. Shows start at 7pm!

New Team Creedence
Ryan Dunkin
Shacottha Fields
Will Jacobs
Olivia Petzy
Roman Pietrs
Laura Yoder Witt
Gregg Zehentner

New Team Clearwater
Alissa Alter
Sean Bartlett
James Bruffee
Jacob Horn
Mike Kuplic
Lane Kwederis
Kiki Mikkelsen

New Team Revival
Von Decarlo Brown
Jennette Cronk
John de Guzman
Joe Hendel
Tim Levine
Jennifer Peng
Jillian Vitko


Thursday March 31, 2016, 10:00am - by Magnet Theater

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Check it out! Block Party debuts next Thursday and the fine folks at Broadway World have given it a little write up, which we just love. You’re not gonna want to miss this killer night. Not only is it the debut of Block Party (The Boss, Junior Varsity, The Wrath, Ariana Grande), but it’s also the first night of the April Directors Series: Object Work. Plus, your old friend INSPIRADO caps off the whole Thursday Night Out. WHOA BABY. Make your reservations now!!

Wednesday March 30, 2016, 7:00am - by Magnet Theater

Charlie Podcast Alt Subscribe with iTunes

Spartan improviser, Executive actor, and director of Object Work, CHARLIE NICHOLSON, sits down to discuss his upcoming Directors Series, harnessing risk on stage, and RuPaul’s Drag Race. Throughout the episode, Charlie and host Louis Kornfeld find a great deal of common ground as they discuss things like ambiguity on stage, forgetting one’s self in a show, and how to approach leading an ensemble. It’s a beautiful episode with beautiful people and how about that pic, right??

To begin, Charlie opens up about his nerves regarding each show and how he channels them into preparation. He tells us why he loves The Medusa and how he seeks to inject something different into each show the performs. Louis latches onto the topic of small moments and they discover their mutual reverence for well-placed ambiguity. Then, Louis offers that works of art may serve as outcrops of ourselves which help us frame ambiguous moments. How philosophical.

Moving from the abstract to the human, Louis asks Charlie about his style as an improviser and they talk about Charlie’s love for risk-taking on stage. They also touch on Charlie’s favorite thing to experience in a scene partner. Louis makes a puzzle analogy, folks! Charlie talks about forgetting himself amidst a show and the conjuring of magic on stage. What does is mean to play “out of control?” Charlie and Louis offer up two competing definitions and discuss each. Plus, learn how Charlie’s natural curiosity fuels his performance and find out his recommended reading for Louis.

With its upcoming run looming, Charlie passionately shares with us his thoughts on April’s Directors Series, Object Work, which came to him in a dream. He espouses his love for extending ourselves beyond our bodies and bringing life to the lifeless. Additionally, Charlie shares how he approaches directing a group of experienced performers he so adamantly admires and he and Louis go on to discuss different learning and teaching styles. To wrap up the episode, Charlie shares some of his favorite books and media, and of course, he and Louis discuss RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Please, don’t forget to go see Object Work this April. Thursdays at 10pm.

*Charlie wants us to note that, at time of recording, he goofed on the authors name of Silently and Very Fast. He said “Catherynne Valero” but what he meant was “Catherynne Valente.”

Monday March 28, 2016, 9:39am - by Magnet Theater


The Magnet is super-psyched to announce that the latest season of Conservatory Circuit is now open for applications! What is Conservatory Circuit, you say? Why, it’s just like the regular Circuit, except it’s open only to students who have been accepted into Magnet’s Conservatory program (Level 5 and above). It’s an awesome great way to work weekly with an ensemble and coach as well as get more reps under your belt. We highly recommend it!

Application deadline: Monday, April 4th at noon
Team announcements: Monday, April 11th
Shows: Fridays at 10pm; April 22nd through May 27th

What are you waiting for? Check out the details and apply now!

Questions, thoughts, comments, or concerns can be directed to circuit@magnettheater.com.