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

Posts Tagged ‘magnet’

Monday December 2, 2013, 10:04pm - by WillyAppelman

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We’re very excited to announce the next round of The Circuit, which will begin Friday, January 10th, 2014!

The deadline to apply is Friday, December 13, at noon. Applicants will be chosen by lottery. If chosen, you will be placed on a team of 8 improvisers and assigned a coach. You will rehearse with your coach and team once a week, with rotating performances on Friday nights at 10:30PM at the Magnet Studio Theater.

If you have completed Level 3 of Magnet’s Training Program and are not part of a Magnet house improv team, you are eligible to apply.

The Circuit is a great way to gain experience in being in an improv ensemble. We highly encourage those who are eligilble to apply. To apply, please fill out this form.

If you have any questions or comments, please email us at circuit [at] magnettheater [dot] com.

Wednesday November 13, 2013, 11:47am - by WillyAppelman

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During November, Alex Marino directs the latest installment of The Director’s Series, The Wake. Every Thursday night at 9pm, The Wake takes you on an adventure inspired by an obituary. I interviewed Alex via email to discuss The Wake and his inspiration behind the form.

What is The Wake and why did you choose this form?
The wake is a form I started thinking about when i was taking classes in LA. I was feeling kinda frustrated because we had been working on the invocation, which I found really interesting, but a lot of my classmates were really dismissive–they’d roll their eyes if they didn’t think the suggestion was cool, they seemed a little bit mocking of improv itself. It was LA and they were just too cool for it. So I started trying to think of a way to approach the invocation that would force performers to at least have a little bit of respect for the suggestion… and I figured “what if you had to do an invocation of a person who had just died… in a room full of people who loved them.” So it kinda stayed in my head gestating for a while. Then when Magnet first opened I was approached by a practice group, it was one of the first groups I’d coached in New York, and that was Louis Kornfeld, Megan Gray, Charlie Whitcroft, Jon Bander, Corey Grimes, and Kelly Buttermore. And after working with them for a little bit I asked if they’d like to experiment with this form I’d been thinking about and they were totally game. What we arrived at was a modified invocation of someone in that day’s obituaries, inviting them to come into the theater and share their story before they go. I heard, and this may be apocryphal, that the practice of holding wakes came from a period in Ireland where they disinterred a lot of old graves and found scratch marks on the inside of the coffins. They realized that something like 1 in 10 people were being buried alive. So they decided to leave the dead out in for a period of time after they passed to give them one last chance to wake up. So the Wake seemed fitting as a name for the form. I kinda liked the notion that this show is one last chance for the dead to come back.

I chose it for this Director’s Series because it had been a while since I’d seen it done and I wanted to work with the original cast again. A couple years ago I taught a class in The Wake, and those bozos have been asking me when they were gonna get to do it again, so I thought I’d invite them along too.

What do you find funny?
All kinds of stuff. Smart stuff, dumb stuff. Deep stuff, light stuff. Lots of things are funny. To me, the funniest thing to think about is that we’re all just a huge biological accident that learned how to wear clothes and comb its hair. That shit is hilarious to me. We’re a mostly bald, mostly flimsy, slow moving animal, with small, dull teeth and worthless claws. We can barely climb, we can’t fly, or hold our breath very long. We have bad backs and lethal allergies to peanuts and shellfish–but not all of us, so you don’t even know if someone is allergic until they just almost die. We eat and drink through the same hole we use to breathe and speak, and somehow we’ve survived long enough to figure out space travel, novelty t-shirts, iPhones and art that goes on your fingernails. It’s incredibly funny to me just how we spend our time.

Do you find death funny?
Death is not funny, no, but everything around death is funnier because of it. Death is the ultimate straight man. I think to have laughter there needs to be a break in tension, which means there needs to be tension to begin with. The more the tension and the bigger the break, the more satisfying the laugh. The uneasiness people feel when they’re faced with death is a great primer for laughter, and that kind of laughter makes it easier to live with death.

What is the future of improv?
I dunno. At some point enough people are going to complain loudly and correctly enough about not getting properly recognized and compensated for content they improvise for commercials and movies… so probably a union will come out of that. And you’ll see “additional content improvised by” in the credits of films which will be good, but things will be weird… or maybe they wont. Maybe the improviser union will be chill. Eventually there will be an improvised show that is so undeniably good that it will get a run on Broadway. Eventually there will be an improvised show that wins a Tony. Some people will be upset by that… or maybe they wont. Maybe Broadway will have relaxed a bit by then. Someone is going to bring a true and honest, disinterested study of improvisation with all its techniques, history, and various applications to the university level, build a curriculum around it, and just like performance studies and jazz you’ll be able to get a college degree in improvisation. I would like to think that degree in improv would be worth more than getting a degree in performance studies or jazz, but it probably won’t be… and after four years, it definitely won’t make anyone a better improviser than performing in every black box and bar that will let you… but, no matter how much actual experience you may have in the field, you’ll need to have a degree in improv to be able to teach improv at the university level… So that will be a nice little scam.

The Wake plays every Thursday in November at 9pm. Make Reservations Here!

Monday June 10, 2013, 1:02pm - by WillyAppelman

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The Magnet Theater is proud to announce the newest members of Magnet Sketch Teams! Thank you to everyone who applied! Sketch teams perform every Sunday at 9 pm.

FAT KIDS
David Sewell
Chet Siegel
Becca Schall
Andrew Mills
Robert Ramsey
John Kitsis
Sebastian Conelli
Billy Bob Thompson
Megan Meadows

DISPACHO
Ruby Marez
Alex Marino
Todd Shaeffer
Adam Twitchell
Ingrid Ostby
Robert Kern
Steph Garcia
Pat May
Emily Johnson
Marcus Brunt

RISKY BOTTOM
Janie Stolar
Gretchen Poole
Jana Schmieding
Matt Antonucci
Lauren Olson
Matt Wassung
Rob Webber
Joe Lepore
Kevin Lalka

JACKTOWN
Shalini Tripathi
Alan Fessenden
Joe Miles
Sean Taylor
Kelly Warne
Gwen Mesco
James O’Connell
Kate Emswiler
Darrel Haynes
Matt Alston

Wednesday April 17, 2013, 9:14am - by WillyAppelman

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Thanks so much to NYC Tourist for this wonderful review of The Magnet Theater and of Trike featuring Ed Herbstman. If you’re interested in taking a Free Magnet Class or seeing an affordable show, check out our website! NYCTourist.com is a travel site dedicated to all the best things to do and places to stay in New York City, check them out!

Thursday April 11, 2013, 9:15am - by WillyAppelman

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“The Sleep Over” is the newest installment of The Director Series, a 4-week series of performances wherein a Director selects a cast and presents a different form. This month Kevin Cragg is directing “The Sleep Over.” We conducted an interview with director Kevin Cragg via email about the show.

1. What is The Sleep Over?
The Sleep Over is largely a mono-character improv form that was developed in the early 2000s by then Harold Team Mother. Over the duration of the current Sleep Over incarnation, Kevin Cobbs, Megan Gray, Will Quinn, Amie Roe, Jamaal Sedayao, Emily Shapiro, Caitlin Steitzer, and Kristy Wesolowski introduce us to eight characters and take us on a journey through the world they inhabit.

2. Why are you directing it?
My interest in the Sleep Over stems from the long history I have had with the form. I was lucky enough to be present to watch Mother workshop the form at a tiny storefront theater and it has been one of my favorite forms ever since. By directing it, I have a reason to gather eight of my favorite improvisers and let them loose on one of my favorite forms.

3. What is your favorite type of improv?
Since I have performed improv for quite some time and I have watched improv even longer, I would have to say the type of improv that is my favorite is that which surprises me. For four Thursdays in April, I will be watching my favorite improv.

4. What is the future of improv?
Another realm for product placement.

The Sleep Over performs every Thursday in April at 10pm at The Magnet Theater. The cast features Kevin Cobbs, Megan Gray, Will Quinn, Amie Roe, Jamaal Sedayao, Emily Shapiro, Caitlin Steitzer, and Kristy Wesolowski.

Saturday March 16, 2013, 2:44pm - by WillyAppelman

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Congratulations to the BRAND NEW MUSICAL MEGAWATT TEAMS!  Both teams premiered Tuesday, March 12th to an incredibly warm Magnet audience.  The new teams are:

The Jezebels:
Annie Moor
Rachel Alexa Norman
Kiki Mikkelson
Mallory Schlossberg
Ali Reed
Lauren Friedman
Liz Lasky

The Canons:
Carly Filbin
Henry Bergstein
David Tomczak
James Coker
John de Guzman
Mike Kuplic
Sharon Li

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THIS JUST IN:  Musical Megawatt shows will now take place at 7, 8,9 & 10pm!  Be sure to check out Musical Megawatt this Tuesday starting at 7pm, and if you can, catch these new teams, they’re pretty special!

Photos by Lisa Flanagan.

Friday March 1, 2013, 11:33am - by WillyAppelman

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Congrats to Magnet performer Peter McNerney (Trike) on ‘Stuff You Should Know’, now airing on The Science Channel!  The show takes place in The How Stuff Works office, and everyone in the office are podcasters.  Peter plays Marcus, a conspiracy theory podcaster.  He’s skeptical, cynical and assumes the worst in every situation.  Check out ‘Stuff You Should Know’ on iTunes, and keep an eye out for Peter’s most recent episode, ‘Trust No One’.

You can see Peter in a Burger King commercial now airing on Comedy Central and performing Saturday’s at 10:30 with Trike.

Friday February 8, 2013, 4:25pm - by WillyAppelman

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The Magnet Training Center is open and classes will resume as normal for Saturday, February 9th.  Please travel safely and bundle up.

Magnet Theater shows for Saturday, February 9th are still a go as well!  Have fun and again, please travel safe.

Monday February 4, 2013, 1:47pm - by WillyAppelman

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Over the weekend the Director’s of The Magnet’s Musical Improv Program held a town hall to discuss changes in the program.  Here is a recap of what was discussed:

1. There will be a Curriculum Change:

From now on, there’s a requirement of 4 levels before you can audition for a Musical House Team.  The current class is the last class that can audition after finishing Level 3. The new levels will be:
Level 1 – Song Structure
Level 2 – Song Types
Level 3 – Basic Narrative and Dramatic Question
Level 4 – Performance Workshop, Different Forms (once could liken it to a mix of Level 4 and Level 6 of the regular improv classes)
Forms will include monoscene, different musical styles, narrator, dramatic question, musicality/genre.

2. There will now be Musical Drop-in Classes on every other Saturday from 12-2, beginning in March.

3. The Circuit (Friday night Harold teams on the Training Center Stage) will add one musical team.

4. Current teams will remain. No teams will be cut, though some members might be shuffled around.
There will be 2 new teams. Auditions for these will be March 2, with callbacks March 3.
As there will be 8 teams, Tuesday nights will be restructured (and renamed – name suggestions are welcomed). Shows at 7, 8, 9, and mixer at 10.
Shows at 7 and 8 will be two sets each, 25 minutes each set.
Show at 9 will be one team doing a 45-minute set.
“Coaches” will be replaced by “Directors” who are selected and assigned by Michael Martin.

5. Mixer at 10 will be hosted by Trudy and have its own team.

6. There’s a new faculty member who will start by teaching Level 4 classes in March: Kirk Damato.http://www.magnettheater.com/performers/Kirk-Damato

 

That’s the recap!  See you at the shows!

Friday February 1, 2013, 1:13pm - by WillyAppelman

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The most recent Magnet Town Hall meeting took place Thursday, Jan. 31st at 6:30.  If you weren’t there, here is a quick recap of what was covered!

Rick Andrews, Head of Promotions, spoke about the many new graphics around the theater- all to the thanks of Carly Monardo, Adam Hawkins, Nolan Constantino & Dennis Pacheco.  These four have used their talents to create great show posters, stickers & t-shirts!  We’re going to be updating our Newsletter very soon, so keep your eyes peeled for that! We’re also going to be launching a street team!  If you’re interested in applying, please email schooldirector@magnettheater.com.  Also, if you have any questions about booking the Magnet for a Corporate show or anything else Magnet Tour Co. related, email Rick at rick@magnettheater.com.

Michael Martin, Director of The Musical Improv program spoke about the development of the program.  There are a few curriculum changes that will be going into effect in the next few months.  For more in depth information, be sure to check out The Musical Improv Town Hall, this Saturday (Feb. 2nd) at 11pm at The Magnet Training Center.

Kim Ferguson, The Magnet School Director, spoke about The Magnet Training Center.  The Training Center had a great 2012!   The Magnet has been able to add more specific classes, we’ve added Hip Hop Improv, Teen Improv (run by Elana Fishbein), more workshops & more advanced studies!  In 2012 the Magnet was able to offer special classes with Jeff Hiller, Kevin McDonald, Dave Razowsky, Christina Gausas and many more.  Congrats to new Magnet teachers, Nick Kanellis (Improv Level 1), Chet Siegel (Improv Level 1), Elana Fishbein (Teen Improv) and Melanie Hoopes (Intro to Solo Performance).  Many congrats!  Thanks to Sean Taylor for his incredible work with The Magnet Drop-In Program, be sure to check out the improv, sketch or musical improv Drop-In’s!  A special thanks goes to Kyle Levenick, The Training Center Night Manager, who has spearheaded the improvements and upkeep of The Magnet Training Center.

Megan Gray, The Magnet Artistic Director, spoke about getting involved in the theater. If you’re interested in applying for a written show, that’s a Test Drive.  If you’re interested in submitting your improv team to perform at The Magnet, that’s The Rundown.  Both of these applications can be found HERE on the Magnet website.  There will be more Special Improv Q & A’s coming up, so stay tuned.  Also, Megan will be taking office hours at The Magnet Training Center on Saturday, Feb. 23rd from 3-6pm.  This is a great time to bring up any comments, ideas or concerns.  Please email Megan to set up an appointment: megan@magnettheater.com.

Quinton Loder, The Magnet Theater Manager, spoke about the physical changes in the space.  His focus has been making the theater safe, friendly and professional.  He is always open to suggestions: Quinton@magnettheater.com.  Dave Warth has been brought on as The Magnet Technical Director- welcome Dave!

Armando Diaz & Ed Herbstman, Co-Owners of The Magnet Theater, talked about The Magnet’s conception and future.  Ed urged students to utilize their honed skills and apply them to different aspects of performing.  Armando talked about keeping the Magnet true to its roots.  The Theater is growing, and in this growth, Armando urged, it’s important to remember who we are.

That’s all!  See you at The Theater!