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

Posts Tagged ‘megawatt’

Thursday December 4, 2014, 6:13pm - by evan barden

For over four years, Brick has entertained Megawatt audiences each week with their hilarious, multifaceted attack and undeniable originality and last night, the Magnet community gave them the send-off they deserved.

With a full hour at their disposal, Brick began their set with a slideshow capturing the chemistry of a team that has spent over four years together and retained six of their eight original members with two delightful additions along the way. (They even had former member Tim Eberle cheering them on from the audience, showing the support that helped define such a team.) After the slideshow, the lights dimmed, Helter Skelter dropped in, rising in volume as the cast banged against the backstage wall, and Brick finally entered to do what they do best — give one hell of an improv show.

The ensuing set from Brick’s Rick Andrews, Julia Hynes, Joe Miles, Branson Reese, Amie Roe, Jamaal Sedayao, Caitlin Steitzer, and Jed Teres was filled with hilarity and indicative of a team that not only knows how to have fun with each other, but are also experts of the form. As the show reached its anticipated climax, the lights came down and the audience burst into a display of appreciation. The praise continued for the rest of the night and we’re sure the conversations about them will continue for years.

From their beginnings as “New Team Brick” to their Oh Shit! INSPIRADO throwdown to their string of “new form” shows, Brick has been a darling of Megawatt and improv at Magnet, and they will surely be missed.

Check out the videos and photos below from last night!

Tuesday December 2, 2014, 6:06pm - by Magnet Theater

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The multi-talented sketch writer/performer, improviser, and head of Musical Megawatt, Michael Lutton, sits down with host Louis Kornfeld to discuss what makes for good musical improv and how it can benefit “regular” improv. He talks about the advantages of pushing boundaries when no one is looking and provides advice for improvisers looking to learn musical improv outside of NYC. This one is all about selling it in the moment.

Subscribe to the Magnet Theater Podcast via iTunes here.

Enjoy Episode #23 on iTunes or below via SoundCloud.

Friday August 29, 2014, 11:05am - by Megan Gray

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The Magnet Theater is pleased to announce the new teams and additions for the fall 2014 season of Megawatt, debuting this Wednesday, September 3rd at 7pm, 8pm, 9pm and 10pm. In addition, the premiere of the 6pm Wednesday Mixer. We hope to see you there.

Team Red:
Luke Field
Dede Tabak
Michael McLarnon
Greg Mihalik
Blake Merriman
Jonathan DeMuth
Devin O’Neill
Lauren Ashley Smith

Team Blue:
Pat May
Sam Rogal
Eli Itzkowitz
Carly Monardo
Nolan Constantino
Sulaiman Beg
Chrissie Gruebel
Woody Fu

Team Yellow:
Carolyn Burns
Justin Anderson
Neil Pohl
Kelly Donahue
Andy Moskowitz
Maryann Menzies
Katie Mordhorst
Federico Garduño

more

Monday August 11, 2014, 1:19pm - by Megan Gray

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Magnet Theater is now accepting applications for the 2014 fall season of Megawatt. Please fill out THIS FORM no later than AUGUST 16th to apply for an audition slot.

Anyone who has completed Magnet Level 6 is eligible to apply, though please note that a completed form does not guarantee an audition slot. Due to the high volume of eligible improvisers and a limited number of slots, priority will be given to students and performers who have finished the class or performed on a Megawatt team within the last year.

Confirmations will be sent out by SUNDAY, AUGUST 17th.

CLICK HERE to apply.

 

Tuesday July 1, 2014, 1:41pm - by Magnet Theater

artworks-000083892735-6ewa7q-t500x500 magnetituneslogo-PODCASTmediumMagnet 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.

Subscribe and Listen with iTunes!

Or listen below on SoundCloud…

Monday June 30, 2014, 7:43pm - by Magnet Theater

Pic of Charles Rogers magnetituneslogo-PODCASTmediumCharles is the co-creator of the feature film Fort Tilden, which recently won The Grand Jury Award at the 2014 SXSW Film Festival and The Special Jury Award at The Independent Film Festival of Boston. He is currently at NYU Tisch’s Graduate Film program, and his short films have screened around the country. He is the director and co-creator of Tech Up, a comedic web-series for Subway, featured on IFC and My Damn Channel.

Charles is a loving member of the Magnet house team The Music Industry and the host of his own show, Prank Calls with Charles Rogers, in which he live calls victims suggested by the audience. He also performs around town with his indie team Orange Augustus.

Subscribe and Listen with iTunes!

Or listen below on SoundCloud…

Monday March 31, 2014, 8:21pm - by Magnet Theater

magnet co-owners survey the new space
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!

Monday March 3, 2014, 9:12am - by Magnet Theater

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Thank you to everyone who came out and auditioned over the weekend. We are very proud to introduce our newest Megawatt Teams for the Spring of 2014.

New Team GROUCHO
Carly Monardo
Pat May
Chris Dwane
Jesse Acini
Alex Ford
Matt Antonucci
Ali Fisher
Johnna Signore

New Team HARPO
James Roberts
Andy Moskowitz
Brian Frange
Chris Camp
Michael McLarnon
Andrew Vuilleumier
Rebecca Robles
Kate Koch

New Team CHICO
Evan Barden
Dmitry Shein
Justin Torres
Willy Appelman
Nick Jaramillo
Kristy Wesolowski
Don Romaniello
Christina Dabney

New Team ZEPPO
Chris Hastings
Teddy Shivers
Adam Twitchell
Matthew Sellitti
Amanda Xeller
Sam Rogal
Shacottha Fields
Kevin Tully

There will also be additions to Brick:
Brick
Rick Andrews
Julia Hynes
Joe Miles
Amie Roe
Jed Terres
Jamaal Sedayao
Caitlin Steitzer
Branson Reese

New teams premier this Wednesday, March 5th at 7pm.

Tuesday February 11, 2014, 5:51pm - by Magnet Theater

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Magnet Theater is now accepting applications for the 2014 spring season of Megawatt. Please fill out THIS FORM no later than FEBRUARY 18th to apply for an audition slot. Anyone who has completed Magnet Level 6 is eligible to apply, though please note that a completed form does not guarantee an audition slot. Due to the high volume of eligible improvisers and a limited number of slots, priority will be given to students and performers who have finished the class or performed on a Megawatt team within the last year. Confirmations will be sent out by THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 20th.

CLICK HERE to apply.

Wednesday November 27, 2013, 10:06am - by Amanda Ariel Peggy Xeller

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“It’s amazing we’re even improvising at all.
So many people wouldn’t be able to be doing what we’re doing.
That in itself is exciting. Embrace that bravery.”

- Joanna Simmons,  Story Pirates

 

The above is an improv mantra held dear by Elana Fishbein, one of the original members of Magnet House Team Featherweight. Hopefully you have seen one of their shows. If not, block off an hour on Wednesday and catch this notable Megawatt team.

 

On November 13th, 2013 I had the distinct pleasure of sitting down with 6 of the 8 current members to pick their brains about the team, themselves, and how they play together. For all of you who don’t know, Featherweight is the most veteran Megawatt team at the Magnet. They were formed on late August 28th, 2008 by Peter McNerney, who also served as their first coach for almost a full year (they are now coached by Joe Miles). Their original line-up was Jesse Acini (now on All American), Russ Armstrong (now on Chet Watkins), Noel Dinneen, Elana Fishbein, Jess Lane (now out in Los Angeles), Blake Merriman, Jared McGrail (traveling the country doing a webcast), and Justin Moran. Their first form was The Harold and their name came from a scene that happened at their very first practice: Elana Fishbein had brushed her hand against Jess Lane’s breasts to which Elana exclaimed, “Oh! They’re featherlight!” From Featherlight came Featherweight, also pitched by Elana. Since then, Featherweight has gone on to be one of the most celebrated teams of the Magnet – playing for over 5 years on Wednesday nights, traveling to do the Philly and Boston Improv Festivals, performing at colleges, launching 2 pilots, and competing and losing in the very first Inspirado competition (their challenge, titled Farts! Farts! Farts!, required every scene to have a fart).

 

Like every veteran Magnet team, Featherweight since its inception has undergone changes. The line-up that you will see today is almost a totally different set of faces you would have seen a few years ago, or even a couple of years ago. Only 4 of the original members remain. After Russ left, Dave Maulbeck was added and also served as the team’s coach. Featherweight then experienced four more losses including Dave. Willy Appelman was added in late August of 2012, but left shortly after. In April, they welcomed veteran players Frank Bonomo, Matt Shafeek, and Lauren Ashley Smith. Matt and Frank were cast alongside each other on Megawatt team Skosh a few years ago. The two also played with Noel on Oswald prior to Featherweight’s original casting. In addition, Matt and Elana had played together on Flea Flurkus, a 2007 team that performed the Evente. The most recent addition was that of Will Quinn this past August, who had been coached by both Elana and Frank. Collectively, Featherweight has over 50 years of improv experience loaded onto its current roster. Despite the new look and massive transformation (this is the first time in many years that Featherweight is an 8-person troupe), the feel and quality of the team remains the same as it has always been: “The Featherweight I watched is the same team I’m on now. It’s the same energy.” -Lauren Ashley Smith. It’s a testament not only to the casting of the team, but the openness, support, and skill these players bring to the stage of why things have always worked out.

 

Featherweight, who warms up by hitting a ball up in the air with great effort to not let it hit the ground, improvises a free form, meaning they find the form as they go. “It comes off having a feel of a little town where the characters know each other and other characters branch out of that.” – Will Quinn. Something Featherweight prides themselves on is having a great range with their shows. The spectrum they cover not only in their 25 minute set, but week to week, rivals most sets at the theater. When I asked Noel Dinneen what the most important quality an improviser should possess is, he responded: “The will to improvise, meaning the willingness to actually improvise as opposed to be married to a structure or game.” Some shows might end up being slow mono-scenes and the next week everything blows up. Regardless of what their set calls for, each week Featherweight brings their flexibility, vulnerability, generosity of spirit, and “imperviousness to fear of judgment” (Justin Moran) to create their fun and their funny.

 

Frank Bonomo has a strong gift at bringing the humanity to Featherweight’s shows. He lets characters be affected; he knows how each character he plays will react emotionally and is still so versatile in his play. He considers the small human moments.. Also, his object work is insane.

 

Noel Dinneen came to The Magnet to study with Armando. He considers his most influential instructors to be Mick Napier and Del Close. His team celebrates his fearlessness, range, and how he brings zero hesitation to his work. There is nothing Noel can’t yes and. He’s also got a pretty killer attitude.

 

Elana Fishbein came to The Magnet to study with Armando. She considers her most influential instructor to also be Armando Diaz. With a Featherweight set comes Elana’s ability to play a spectacular and  effortless range of strong, intricate, fully-formed characters. She is so specific and grounds the work. Featherweight feels that when Elana is playing, the show is in good hands.

 

Blake Merriman is described as being incredibly emotionally present. He really lets his characters be affected. He is a reliable player and also a great actor and is emotionally present really lets his characters be affected by what is happening.

 

Justin Moran came to The Magnet to study with Armando. He considers his most influential instructor James Eason. His team refers to him as an “information robot” who not only brings incredibly smart scene ideas, perfect lines, and smart appropriate punchlines to his work, but amazing characters you could never imagine be a part of the scene but work every single time.

 

Will Quinn came to The Magnet because of the opportunities the theater would provide. He considers his most influential instructor to be Peter McNerney. Will has a great understanding of game and heightening as well as adding finesse to Featherweight’s sets. When Will plays, his joy as a player shines through. He brings to his characters a level of polish making things very clear and very full.

 

Matt Shafeek came to The Magnet to study with Armando. He considers his most influential instructor to be Michael Delaney. Featherweight describes Matt as a mature, confident, and joyful player. He’s always thoughtful and takes his time when making choices as opposed to exercising “quick lazy play.” He provides context and knows what a piece needs to create a successful scene.

 

Lauren Ashley Smith came to The Magnet because of its welcoming atmosphere, energy, and people. She considers her most influential instructor to be Armando Diaz. Her team pegged her as “a sniper” because of her sharp sense of humour, specific moves, and ability to bring to a scene exactly what is needed. Her mind is constantly exercising on how to heighten, instill more life, and bring things together.

 

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