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

Posts Tagged ‘mike nichols’

Wednesday March 25, 2015, 7:00am - by Magnet Theater

Jeffrey Sweet podcast Subscribe with iTunes

Whoa boy — we’ve got an interview with the one and only Jeffrey Sweet! The famed playwright, historian, and author of Something Wonderful Right Away joins host Louis Kornfeld for this extended episode of the podcast. They start out by discussing the relationship between the Jews fleeing the Cossacks and the rise of satire in America. Jeffrey talks about the origins of improvisation with The Committee and Second City, highlighting some differences between the two as well as  commenting on folks like David Shepherd and Del Close. Time is spent discussing the six heavy hitters that the improv world lost in 2014: Sheldon Patinkin, Gary Goodrow, Ted Flicker, Harold Ramis, Mike Nichols, and Joan Rivers. They also get into the domino effect of Something Wonderful Right Away influencing Mick Napier and Charna Halpern to develop their theaters and how Jeffrey might be the illegitimate grandfather of the long-form improv scene in NYC. Jeffrey also talks about how Stephen Colbert and John Stewart are so important to the comedic and political landscape today and gives us his take on the modern incarnation of SNL. The interview continues to discuss the link between improvisational theater and folk art and how the satirists have now become a part of the system. It’s an episode filled with so much historical, political, and cultural discourse that Jeffrey pauses several times over the course of this interview to ask, “We are talking about comedy, right?” Indeed, we are.

Subscribe to the Magnet Theater Podcast via iTunes and Stitcher.

Or simply enjoy Episode #37 below via SoundCloud.

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