Posts Tagged ‘Louis Kornfeld’
John O’Donnell, longtime friend of Magnet Theater and kind onstage powerhouse talks about how he first fell in love with performing, improv, and stumbling upon the early evolution of musical improv.
John has appeared in pilots for Comedy Central, the HBO Aspen Comedy Festival, on Late Night With Conan O’Brien, as well as numerous commercials.
He has also written and performed a trilogy of one-man shows, O’Donnellogues, Son of O’Donnellogues, and Beneath The Planet of The O’Donnellogues. At the Magnet Theater he has made appearances in Thursday Night Out, The Armando Diaz Experience, The Tiny Spectacular, and currently improvises weekly in Magnet’s ‘The Made Up Musical‘.
John has a Masters Degree in Education and has been teaching in New York City for over a decade.
Enjoy Episode #13 on iTunes or below via SoundCloud.
I’m very happy to share this recording from the archive of Craig Cackowski interviewed live onstage at Magnet Theater by the well-prepared Louis Kornfeld. Craig and I were in class together with Del Close, on our first IO teams together, and when I was promoted from understudy, Second City placed me in his touring company. We did a lot of scenes from the Razowsky/Colbert/Carell and McKay/Adsit eras. He was great to tour with because he’s both reliable onstage in scenes and touring the country for long stretches in a van. Usually people are one or the other, but he was both. Onstage he’s casual but precise, and he’s got great timing both as an audience-pleasing comedian (in the good way) and as an improv partner. He rescues things, and if it can’t be rescued, he’ll go down with the ship. And it seems like he’s really enjoying himself either way. And since I’m on a roll here, I should mention he’s become one of the best, most sought after improv instructors in Los Angeles. Possibly because he’s committed to the things we learned in those classes with Del. But also because he’s sensitive to the advancements that have been made as long-form has evolved from an obscure experiment in the basement of an anonymous Chicago apartment building 24 years ago to the dominant comedy language spoken across America and beyond. And that’s thanks in no small part to Craig. So listen to this episode and see if you can hear what I hear – a genuinely good guy who cares about what he does, does it well, and has no need for false bluster. Enjoy. — Ed Herbstman PS: Craig is okay. But his little sister is like, 12 times funnier than him and at least twice as funny as me. Hi, Craig. Subscribe to the Magnet Theater Podcast via iTunes here. Enjoy Episode #11 on iTunes or below via SoundCloud.
Rachel Hamilton. Where do we start? Teacher, Actor, Writer… former Second City MainStage, frequent performer and instructor at Magnet, and all around wonderful human being. She’s also the driving force behind the creation of Camp Magnet. She lives in Northern California and we never see her enough, but we grabbed her last time she was in New York so Magnet Podcast host Louis Kornfeld could sneak in a great conversation between her workshops.
Listen to the insights and observations of this master teacher about what keeps her drawn to improvisation, seeing characters as energy, and seeking out new ways to challenge yourself.
Enjoy Episode 9 on iTunes or below via SoundCloud.
Louis Kornfeld interviews Magnet Musical Director Frank Spitznagel! They talk about everything from Annie to Zorba including musical theater, musical improv, and what makes a good scene- all while Rick Andrews laughs loudly in the background!
Or listen below on SoundCloud…
Magnet Theater Artistic Director Megan Gray, in conversation with her boyfriend of 16 years, Louis Kornfeld. They talk about extremely personal intimate details regarding their deepest fears. Or maybe it’s more about teaching, performing and learning improv, building communities, and creating connections. The only way to find out is to give it a listen.
Or listen below on SoundCloud…
In this episode of The Magnet Theater Podcast, Louis Kornfeld talks with Chet Siegel. She was raised in West Virginia, and now lives in New York City. And she’s a girl. Find out how on the latest episode. She’s an improviser, teacher, sketch writer and newly named director of the Magnet Sketch program. She performs with The Armando Diaz Experience, The Weave, Kiss:Punch:Poem, Magnet TourCo, & her sketch team, The Misses. At UCB, she performs with the Harold team, Women & Men.
Find out what she’s doing with the sketch program at Magnet, the mechanics of a good sketch, and how performers can succeed when tackling sketch when coming from improvisation training.
Or listen below on SoundCloud…
Have you listened to the Magnet Theater Podcast yet? Why NOT? Get in on it before you fall behind. In the latest episode, Louis Kornfeld sits down with Magnet Performer and Instructor Peter McNerney! They chat about the fear of making choices, failing in order to succeed and the joy of making lies. Wanna justify lying all the time?
Subscribe and Listen in iTunes or listen below with Soundcloud…
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.
Magnet Theater is excited to announce that it will be moving to a new location this coming fall.
In November, the Magnet will take over the Foxwoods Theater, most recently the home of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.
Armando Diaz, co-owner of Magnet, spoke on the need for a new space, saying “The Magnet community has been growing at an exponential rate, so we’re looking to plan not just for the immediate future, but also for what’s beyond the horizon, like in a couple hundred years. If you filled up our current space to capacity, it’d only take up the first row at the Foxwoods. So, the house might feel small in the beginning, but as the word gets out that there’s plenty of room, I’m confident that we’ll sell out all 1,932 seats, especially to non-English speaking tourists.”
Alex Marino, another of the Magnet’s owners added:
“One of the great things about moving into the Foxwoods Theater is we’ll have our office space, training center, and main stage and my apartment all in one central location. So often our new students would get lost when directed from the theater to the Training Center for student shows, and then to my apartment for banjo jam sessions. Now it’ll all take place in one space – a space with a lot of good energy because of all the great things that happened during the run of Spider Man.”
Of course, with a new, much larger space will be some inevitable changes. All shows will have a 35 intern team of stage hands. Performers will have access to four state of the art green rooms before their shows. And everyone must be an Actors Equity performer in order to appear on the stage.
The only planned renovation to this legendary theater is to immediately remove all bathrooms except one near the stage.
Another change will be the tickets prices, which will go up slightly from $5-$10 to $125 for balcony seating to $225 for orchestra seats (though Megawatt and Thursday Night Out admission will remain at $7 for the entire night).
Alan Fessenden, Magnet performer and instructor, noted his excitement about the move. “I love the monoscene, but when you ask for ‘a location that’ll fit on this stage’ you’re limited by the size of the stage. With the new theater, we can do a whole submarine instead of just the bridge of a submarine. It really opens up the possibilities for all shows, but especially for monoscenes about submarines.”
When Ed Herbstman, the third Magnet owner, was asked about the move, he said, “I own a theater?”
One concern was voiced by Louis Kornfeld, Artistic Director of Megawatt. “This new stage is massive compared to the old stage, so sweep edits are going to be problematic. Not only will the timing be off, but the editor may very well be winded after the edit, especially improvisors who are out of shape, which includes all of them.”
Magnet is immensely ready for the move and excited to announce that the first show in the new space will be Rick Andrew’s Level One Class Show! Stay tuned for more details!
The Magnet Theater boasts an incredible roster of talent, some of which have been around since the theater’s inception. On March 19th, I (Amanda Ariel Peggy Xeller!) met up with veteran Magnet improviser Charlie Whitcroft (The Boss) to get a glimpse into his world of improv.
Where are you from originally?
I am from Staten Island, NY. I moved to Queens 7 years ago and I love Queens. I mean, Staten Island was nice, but I’m glad I moved off of it.
When did you realize you wanted to get involved in comedy?
I don’t know if I ever did realize that I wanted to get into comedy. I kind of grew up with Louis Kornfeld and Megan Gray and Corey Grimes. We all went to school together. They were all doing improv I’d say a year before I was. They would always encourage me to take classes. I guess it wore me down and I finally did and I never looked back. Somewhere in there, I guess maybe like 8 or 9 years ago, I decided that I wanted to do comedy. But I had been going to see them do improv more