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

Posts Tagged ‘improv classes’

Wednesday November 11, 2015, 7:00am - by Magnet Theater

Alexis Lambright Podcast Subscribe with iTunes

Magnet All-Star performer, ALEXIS LAMBRIGHT, chats with us about The Wrath’s 4-year anniversary, representation in improv, and her various hilarious scripted shows. You can see Alexis all around the Magnet performing with The Wrath on Megawatt, with The Cast on Saturday nights, as host of The Griot Show, as a member of The Stank, and with Rebecca Robles as the soul-singing duo Cocoa Dreamz. This week, she sits down with host Louis Kornfeld to talk about all manner of things related to comedy and we’re excited to have her as a guest!

With The Wrath’s 4-year anniversary having just passed, Louis inquires as to what makes The Wrath work so well – why is this team so amazing? Alexis talks about the team’s dynamics and the importance of having her ideas justified and embraced right away. Louis says that he often references Alexis as an example of someone who plays with their own style yet is never hindered by it. Pretty cool, right?

Stemming from their discussion on The Wrath, Louis and Alexis talk about the pressure she feels to represent not only woman, but also people of color, when she’s performing. This leads into a discussion on diversity in improv, Rita Chin’s recent essay, and some of the things Alexis came to expect as she began improv classes. She stresses the importance of having all voices be heard (and accepted) and answers the question, “Do you work on your own stuff or do you keep trying to fit in [to the theater system]?”

Alexis began taking class at Magnet in late 2008 and she tells us about what brought her to improv in the first place. Her first formal improv training was a weekend-long Second City workshop which she took after being inspired by watching SNL. Louis talks about new students’ ability to convert fear into power and asks Alexis how The Wrath has managed to keep the romance alive after 4 years. Hear about how they’ve spiced it up recently and what Alexis has to say about their foray into musical improv!

Going further back, Louis talks to Alexis about her family, moving around as a child, and where she feels most at home. He also asks about her friendship and artistic relationship with Rebecca Robles. As Alexis puts it – they’re like the Odd Couple. Although they maybe have different energies, they have very similar work styles. She talks about their act Cocoa Dreamz, which is a Motown-era singing duo, and how that show allows her to channel her mother and aunts. On an unrelated note, Louis talks about finding inspiration in sad people and taking what you don’t like about someone and choosing to make it what you love about them.

Finally, they wrap up the episode discussing Alexis’ one-woman-show, The Alexis Lambright Tell-A-Thon: Combating Adult Virginity, which has enjoyed runs at Magnet, NY Fringe, and Hollywood Fringe. They talk about the origins of the show and the writing of it, as well as the attention it received as a result of an NY Post article, which wasn’t without its compromises. Louis opines that coping with scary things allows you to move forward and become who you are. We think he’s probably right.

Enjoy this episode. It’s great listening.

Monday November 2, 2015, 11:00am - by Magnet Theater

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Now this is exciting — Magnet founder and improv mastermind, Armando Diaz, is set to begin teaching four classes in the month of November! If you’ve never had the chance to study with Armando, look no further.

Brand new to Magnet? Take Level 1 For Experienced Improvisers! Looking to sharpen your skills? Instant Brilliance is gonna be perfect for you! Finally fulfilling that “We should do two-prov” comment you made at the bar months ago?? Whoa baby – Dynamic Duos is here for ya!! Don’t even want to do improv??? Then take that Sketch Writing Level One!!! There’s truly something for everyone, all taught by the one (and only) Armando Diaz. Sign up now now now!

Instant Brilliance starting November 14th

Level 1 For Experienced Improvisors starting November 15th

Sketch Writing Level One starting November 16th

Dynamic Duos starting November 21st


Wednesday April 29, 2015, 7:00am - by Magnet Theater

Hannah Chase Podcast Subscribe with iTunes

On this week’s episode, Magnet performer, director, and instructor Hannah Chase joins us to talk about improv, self-criticism, and why everyone should see a therapist. Host Louis Kornfeld asks Hannah about her upcoming Directors Series, “The Cast,” and forthcoming elective class, “Play!” Both projects remind host and guest alike that sometimes the easiest way to participate in something you enjoy is to create it yourself. Find out how playing piano in her younger years has influenced Hannah’s approach to improv and the role that self-criticism plays in both. Louis offers that we replace the concept of failure in improv with that of uncertainty and also urges us to find in our neighbors what we find fascinating in ourselves. Plus, both Hannah and Louis attempt to appease demands made by Peter McNerney and Ed Herbstman, to great success. Check it out!

Subscribe to the Magnet Theater Podcast via iTunes and Stitcher.

Or simply enjoy Episode #42 below via SoundCloud.

Monday January 19, 2015, 2:00pm - by Magnet Theater


We’ve got a brand-new training center! We’re so excited!

As of Saturday, Jan. 24, we’ll be beginning the process of moving classes, rehearsals, writing meetings, etc. over to our new space at 22 W. 32nd Street on the 10th floor. Things might be a little hectic for a while, so please bear with us, but we’ll do our best to make the transition as smooth as possible for everyone.

What does all this mean? We now have 10 classrooms, a studio theater, a dedicated writers’ room and more than two bathrooms (so luxurious!). Simply put, it’s a bigger, better space to keep up with our growing needs as a training ground for the best comedic minds in the world.

This is a new, exciting chapter for us and it wouldn’t be possible without your enthusiasm, hard work, and continued brilliance.

Thanks for being the best community around. Stop by and check out the new digs when you can!

Wednesday September 4, 2013, 12:37pm - by WillyAppelman


We are now accepting applications for The Fall 2013 Circuit! Circuit Teams are made up of Magnet Theater students, graduates of our Training program and veteran performers. We believe that in order to get better at improv, you need to do it.

The deadline to apply is September 18th. Teams will be announced September 23rd. Shows will begin October 4th. Teams will alternate weeks through November 22nd. If you have any questions email Circuit@Magnettheater.com.

To Sign up, just click this link to fill out the form!

Thursday November 10, 2011, 9:20pm - by admin

The Magnet Training Center is a pretty special space. We moved in while it was still the home of Mike Nichols acting school, The New Actors Workshop, which he founded with Paul Sills (the son of Viola Spolin) and George Morrison.

And we got to spend about six months occupying the same space.

The improv roots run deep in these rooms.  For over 20 years, New Actors taught acting, improvisation, voice and movement as an integrated system.  Original games from Improvisation for the Theater were interwoven with acting systems developed by Stella Adler, Lee Strasberg, Sanford Meisner, and others.  Nichols, Morrison and Sills saw improvisation as a necessary component in actor training and essential to the development of their craft. more

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.