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

Magnet Theater Blog

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!

Monday January 9, 2017, 8:00am - by Magnet Theater

LadySketchShow_475x273

The Lady Sketch Lab is back! All WOMEN* are encouraged to attend.

*women, trans, cis and gender non-conforming/queer.

Here’s how it’ll work:

We’ll be meeting on Saturdays 12-3pm at the Magnet Training Center (22 West 32nd Street, 10th floor) for six weeks starting January 28th. We will be breaking up into 3 different groups. You’ll bring in a mix of new and rewritten sketches each week (1 or 2). We’ll give each other feedback for rewrites. A selection of the generated sketches will be put into 3 different sketch shows each 30 minutes each. Each show will go up twice. The shows will be on March 13th, 20th, & 27th at 9 pm.

For the first meeting all we ask is that you bring in:

1. An example of a sketch that you saw on TV or stage and why you love it.
2. An example of something that happened in your day/week/month/life that you thought was really funny. Anything.
3. That supportive spirit.

THAT’S IT! You don’t even have to write anything just yet. Give it a try.

YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED:

But I’ve never written a sketch or taken a sketch class.

That’s totally fine. We still want you.

But I really can’t write. Can I just perform?
You can get involved as a performer only. Come to the meeting anyway. You might find yourself accidentally writing something amazing.

But I can’t perform/memorize lines.
You can just write then.

I write better with a partner. I can’t do this on my own.
You and your writing partner can present co-written material at meetings. Alternatively, if you realize you really like working with someone at the meetings, you can go off and write together.

I can’t make all the meetings.
If you want to be in the final show or have your sketch considered, you must attend at least 4 of the 6 sessions.

How much does it cost?
It’s FREE.

Do I have to pre-register?
Nope. Just show up!

But I’m still uncertain.
Follow your fear. Remember how hard improv used to seem before you actually tried it?

More questions?
Email: ladysketchlab@gmail.com

See you there,
Amanda Xeller & Megan Gray

Thursday January 5, 2017, 4:03pm - by Magnet Theater

Magnet TC Logo v3

We’re looking for eager improvisers (prerequisite: completion of Level 1) to participate in warm-ups and exercises run by the students in Armando’s coaching class. All the details are below—but keep in mind that space is limited. Hope to see you there!

When to be available:

— Saturdays —
Jan 21st 4-6pm
Jan 28th 4-6pm
Feb 4th 4-6pm
Feb 11th 4-6pm
Feb 18th 4-6pm

 

How to sign up: Fill out this form! https://goo.gl/forms/4dTy81tGLj0dKAA03

 

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at (212) 244-2400.

Wednesday January 4, 2017, 7:00am - by Magnet Theater

kim-brown-podcast Subscribe with iTunes

Youthful cast member, KIM BROWN, joins us to talk about training at multiple theaters, Gilmore Girls, the post-election Megawatt experience, and much much more. Hear about her Megawatt team YOUTHS as well as what it’s like to put on a show with The Cast.  She dishes about everything from hot celebrity gossip t0 her indie team Free Kittens, so you can rest assured that this episode explores the full breadth of humanity. Listen up!

Welcome to 2017! The Magnet Theater Podcast is back for another year of interviews and, this week, we have Kim Brown on the mic. Kim and Louis begin this episode discussing her writing gig at JustJared.com, a website dedicated to celebrity editorials and hot hot goss. As he often does, Louis asks our guest how she got herself into acting and comedy. Kim’s origin story eventually lands her at UCB and with her beloved indie team, Free Kittens. We hear all about that, plus, she and Louis share some hot takes on which days of the week are best for taking classes!

After several years at UCB, and following a short break from improv, Kim began classes again at Magnet and had an amazing experience going through a second program. She details what it’s like to come back to take improv classes at another theater and why it was such a joy. Kim joined The Cast just after completing Team Performance Workshop and speaks here about how everyone on the team brings their own expertise to the show each week. Speaking of expertise, Louis and Kim get to talking about Gilmore Girls! As a Gilmore Girls expert on The Cast, Kim has much to say and Louis, who is only about three seasons in, also weighs in. This dive into the lore of Stars Hollow raises the topic of recreating something you really love and prompts a discussion on The Cast’s weekly process of paying tribute to a particular genre or theme.

If you’ve ever wondered, “Will Kim Brown ever take a musical improv class?” we have the answer! We find out what scares Kim about musical improv and her former love, musical theater. Kim talks to Louis about performing at Megawatt the night after the 2016 election and they wax poetic about comedy’s ability to help us during dark times. Louis asks about Kim’s Megawatt team YOUTHS and they have a rousing discussion about reframing the Harold to make it more fun and how gaining a bit of confidence can make you so much better improv. The episode concludes with a round of Getting To Know Each Other and a once-in-a-lifetime epilogue from Louis Kornfeld. Check it out!

Tuesday January 3, 2017, 11:57am - by Magnet Theater

10-minute-play-fest-web-2

MAGNET THEATER’S VERY OWN 10-MINUTE PLAY FESTIVAL

If “write more” was your New Year’s Resolution — you’re in luck! We are looking for five original comedic plays to produce for our 10-Minute Play Festival, and submissions are now OPEN! Instructions and submission guidelines below.

Are you a sketch writer looking to try something new? A playwright looking for more exposure? A random internet user who stumbled across this page? Anyone and everyone is encouraged to submit. Please send us your best 10-minute play (seriously, no more than 10 minutes) and stay tuned for auditions at the end of February, as well as Magnet Theater’s Very Own 10-Minute Play Festival on March 19th and 26th!

 

HOW TO SUBMIT

  • Please include the following information in the body of the email (and keep answers short!): Name; What comedy theater you are associated with (if any); Whether you have an sketch or playwriting experience (it’s fine if the answer is no!); Why you wanted to be a part of Magnet Theater’s Very Own 10-Minute Play Festival.

  • Attach your play to the email as a PDF. This is important. We won’t read any other format.

 

Submission Guidelines/FAQs

  • Only one submission per person. Send us your best work!

  • The plays really do need to be under 10 minutes. That means no more than 11 pages, not including the cover page. We will not read past the 11th page.

  • We are looking for NEW plays! Please don’t send anything that has already been produced.

  • All submissions must be in by February 19th, 10:00 pm EST. Submissions will not be accepted or considered after this time.

  • Notifications of selection will go out a few days after submissions close.

  • All authors agree to permit the Magnet Theater to produce their submitted play if the theater should wish to do so. Authors retain copyright and full ownership of their plays.

  • Diversity applicants strongly encouraged to submit!

 

Don’t know what 10-Minute Play Festival is? Check out our last blog post for more info.