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

Posts Tagged ‘Chicago’

Tuesday April 22, 2014, 11:17am - by Magnet Theater
The Second City

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The Magnet Theater will be holding a Q&A session with Second City Casting Director Beth Kligerman, Wednesday April 23rd from 5:30pm-6:30pm at The Magnet Theater Training Center (259 w. 30th street).  This will be an hour long information session about auditioning for the Second City Cruise Ships.  If you have any questions, please contact Magnet Artistic Director Megan Gray (megan (at)magnettheater(dot)com).

Monday April 21, 2014, 8:11am - by Magnet Theater

Magnet Theater is excited to announce The Magnet Podcast! In Episode 1: Host Louis Kornfeld interviews Magnet Theater founders Ed Herbstman, Alex Marino and Armando Diaz about their past, present and future.  They chat about their Chicago beginnings, the creation of The Armando Diaz Experience and the process of starting The Magnet Theater.  Ed tries to explain why he became a cop while Armando makes fun of him.  Don’t miss it.

Huge thanks to our wonderfully talented podcast engineer, Grant Goldberg.

Friday October 25, 2013, 12:23pm - by WillyAppelman

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Magnet friends “All of Our Feelings at Once” are doing a sketch show that you should go and see! The Chicago-based sketch group is doing an Off-Broadway run at The American Theatre of Actors this Friday and Saturday (Oct. 25th & 26th) and are offering Magnet students/performers discounted tickets with the code: HAPPY.

The group was selected for participation in The Araca Project, which helps top sketch comedians bring their show to larger audiences. For tickets to Tonight or Tomorrow’s 9pm show, CLICK HERE. For more information on All of Our Feeling at Once, check out their website HERE!

Thursday September 6, 2012, 3:56pm - by WillyAppelman

This Thursday Sept. 6th at 10pm marks the debut of The Magnet Theater’s 8th Director’s Series!  This month, Neil McNamara directs Deep Dish, a long form improv show interspersed with character monologues, a staple of Chicago-style improvisation.  In Chicago, McNamara has worked with Second City, The Annoyance, iO and Boom Chicago. Fresh to New York, McNamara is bringing a Chicago staple to the east coast, DEEP DISH!

Featuring Peter McNerney, Beth Newell, Nick Kanellis, Julia Hynes and Neil McNamara.

Every Thursday at 10pm in September!  More Info HERE.

Wednesday June 6, 2012, 10:52pm - by WillyAppelman

Poster by Carly Monardo

Jazz Freddy is the fifth installment of The Director Series, a 4-week series of performances wherein a Director selects a cast and presents a different form. This month, Charlie Whitcroft directs a form named after the Chicago group that made it famous. Kevin Cragg, Tony Mui, Gretchen Poole, Jamie Rivera, Sandra Struthers, Teddy Shivers, Mike Ferreira and Kristy Wesolowski take the stage under Whitcroft’s mighty direction. We spoke with Charlie about his choice to present the form.

What is Jazz Freddy?

Structurally, Jazz Freddy is a 4 scene tag-out piece that starts in the present (whatever that means), then tags to the past, tags to the past again, then tags to the future. Simple though it is, it can only be performed by a stellar cast. We get to meet a character, see a bit of her developmentally significant life moments, then see how things turn out for her. Then there’s a further exploration of the other characters we’ve met, and the world they live in. Jazz Freddy is named after the group that performed it first in Chicago in 1992. The first cast included Jimmy Carrane, Rachel Dratch, Dave Koechner, Noah Gregoropoulos, Miriam Tolan, Kevin Dorff, Brian Stack, Meredith Zinner, and others. I’ve heard that it was the first long form show to use tag-outs. I don’t know if that’s true, and I haven’t been able to find anyone who was even alive in 1992 to confirm or deny.

Why did you choose this form?

Two things that I love about the Jazz Freddy – it’s not too complicated, and it’s a lot of fun. The Boss performed Jazz Freddy for a long time as part of Megawatt. We added a lot of our own touches to it, but the simple structure was there. I’m sure there are other groups that have performed the structure since the original cast, but I don’t know of too many in New York. And I don’t appreciate or respect the anti-Jazz Freddy regulations that the Mayor is trying to put in place. Read the news. These are important issues.

What is the future of improv?

I don’t know… I hope it stays out of the drug business. Liquor and gambling have been fine. I’d like to see it go completely legit, maybe clean up some of the money in real estate or something like that.

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Jazz Freddy takes the stage Thursdays at 10pm in June! Check out the opening night, Thursday 6/7 at 10pm- followed by an after party at Smithfield (28th btw. 7th & 8th). Be sure to catch the show for the password for drink specials!

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!
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!

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…
Thursday April 21, 2011, 9:49am - by admin

Link: 4 Chicago Bound Shows Reviewed in TimeOut Chicago

 

The Magnet Theater is sending 4 teams out to the Chicago Improv Festival next week.  A represenative from TimeOut Chicago attended our CIF showcase at the beginning of the month and had some nice things to say about The Cascade, Chet Watkins, FACE and Hello Laser.

 

 

Duo Rick Andrews and Jennifer Dunne have a compelling form on their hands… this duo played it smart and patient, and I’d watch them again. (The Cascade)

 

These long-form practitioners have a secret weapon: fearless women. The men aren’t half bad either... All in all, impressive. (Chet Watkins).

 

It’s awesome to hear instrumentation besides a piano, and the musicians rotate frequently (including new ones in Chicago). Also, this group embraced the entirety of the stage in a big way and offered solid callbacks. (FACE)

 

 

 

 

This quartet of goofs is a C.I.F. visiting favorite and, having now witnessed them on home turf, it’s easy to see why… If the C.I.F. were a competition, we know where we’d place our bets. (Hello Laser)

 

 


 

Friday April 8, 2011, 9:27am - by admin

 

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.

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