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

Posts Tagged ‘music’

Friday October 18, 2013, 12:35pm - by WillyAppelman

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The Magnet Theater is proud to be hosting the 5th Annual New York Musical Improv Festival from Oct. 17th-Oct. 20th! Last night was the official kick off of the Fest with shows from North Coast, Heads of State, THEM, Aquarius, Fancy Mantelpiece and many more! Over 100 performers from as far as Toronto, Chicago, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, Washington, DC and as close as Broadway are converging on The Magnet stage this weekend!

NYMIF has featured everything from an improvised rock concert to a fully costumed Dickensian musical, improvised hip-hop, college teams, duo and solo shows, and even the cast and band from Broadway’s “Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson.”

This year we’ve got Mansical, Baby Wants Candy, The Improvised Sondheim Project, A Benefit Concert for Gilda’s Club NYC and much much more! For the Full Schedule, go HERE and to BUY TICKETS click HERE.

But that’s not it! We’ve also got incredible workshops all weekend! Check them out here! Check out the schedule and we’ll see you this weekend! #nymif

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Friday May 17, 2013, 2:27pm - by WillyAppelman

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Jaime Hazan has been performing at The Magnet Theater for over 4 years. He works with Frank Spitznagel (Frankie Keys) and accompanies most of the Musical Mixers you attend. Jaime performs weekly at The Musical Mixer and Musical Megawatt. Jaime recently wrote a song for the victims of The Boston Marathon Bombings that can he downloaded here, BOSTON STRONG. We talked with Jaime about his music, The Magnet and what his number one wish is.

Question: How did you get started as a musician?

I started playing the piano between 4 and 5 years old. I had always
played by ear and was able to improvise just about any song I heard.
Someone would play a song on a vinyl record, and I’d be able to play
it back. I still don’t really understand how that works!

Question: When did you start accompanying musical improv?

I hate the word “Accompanist” when it comes to musical improv, since
it implies a lateral involvement to the on-stage actors. I prefer to
use the word collaborator since musicians and actors must work in
concert to find their grail and perform excellent improv.

I started studying musical improv Jan 2009 and accompanying later that
year after recognizing that my place was behind the keys. Traditional
musicians who take the time to study many years of theory, harmony and
the so-called “proper methods” of learning don’t typically have the
grasp of “making it up on-the-spot”. Those that do are simply amazing
humans (Frankie Keys). However making up songs was the one thing I
was best at – so I consider myself lucky to have found a theatrical
environment that rewards individuality and the ability to improvise
songs. A traditional theater would not take to this style kindly!

In particular, I enjoy teaching and rehearsing song structure to
performers since it is this type of songwriting that in my opinion
makes musical improv so fantastic. There is no bigger thrill than
nailing both a scene and structure combined – it makes for amazing
entertainment and tons of fun. Especially fun, watching students go
through the process of learning, say a tag-line song and finally
feeling comfortable performing within that structure – not to exclude
the many other structures – they all have their place in the game.

Questions: Can you talk about your song Boston Strong?

I am very proud of Boston Strong and feel somewhat badly about a
terrorist attack being the impetus of a song. My co-writer David
Fagin approached me about writing a song about the attacks, and
being a former 9-11 first responder, I fully understand what it’s like
to experience this frightening environment and was thrilled to
collaborate. So going into the studio and laying down the tracks and
finding the right combination of music to fit words was a cathartic
experience since the emotions surrounding 9-11 surface just about any
time there is terrorist activity. When we heard from police officers
from Watertown and Governor Patrick Duval, we knew many of the victims
were moved by the music – and that was simply our goal. But we soon
realized that selling downloads could raise significant money, so a
deal was set-up for distribution by Ingrooves/Fontana and can be heard
in Nordstroms as well as over 6000 Starbucks in the USA and Canada as
well as downloaded as a single on itunes, spotify, or your favorite
digital music aggregator. The song has gotten lots’ of press and was
featured at a NY Mets game – which was very exciting. All of the
digital downloads go to the onefundboston.org. Here’s the itunes link
to check out: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/boston-strong-single/id642637688

As you will be able to see, it has gained acclaim on itunes. It is
expected to be played at the LiveNation.com benefit concert on May 30
over the system – a concert that will be featuring some of America’s
most successful musicians including Aerosmith, Jimmy Buffet, Carole
King & New Kids on the Block. It would be a thrill if we were invited
to perform live, but that is still to be determined.

Question: If you had one wish Jaime, what would it be?

The other night, I was listening to a lecture about happiness. What
makes someone happy? And the lecturer explained how it is not money –
two people can be going to work, one taking a bus to serve at a blue
collar job, and another in a limo, as a CEO. The key to happiness is
living and playing a role within a close knit community. This,
describes Magnet Theater – an organization I’m very proud to serve.
Despite extreme poverty sucking, I wish for a lifetime of health and
happiness.

Jaime Hazan can be seen performing weekly at The Musical Mixer and Musical Megawatt. If you could find it in your heart to spare $1.29, you’ll be helping people who are in serious need. Download BOSTON STRONG!

Monday October 1, 2012, 10:25am - by WillyAppelman

Ladies and Gentleman, it’s HERE!  The Magnet Theater presents The Fourth Annual New York Musical Improv Festival from October 4-7!  Over 100 performers from as far as Toronto, Los Angeles, Chicago and as close as Broadway, will converge on the Magnet Theater stage to create fully improvised musical performances – ranging from traditional musical theatre fare to adrenaline-pumping rap battles.  All performances take place at The Magnet Theater, the center for musical improv study and performance in the U.S.

Featured performers will include…

Baby Wants Candy (NYC), Jill Bernard’s Drum Machine (HUGE Theatre, Minneapolis, Minn.), Tara Copeland (Los Angeles), Jeff Hiller (Los Angeles), Diamond Lion (UCBeast, NYC), Shakespeare: The Musical (UN-Scripted Theatre Company, San Francisco, CA),  Mansical (Chicago), Trudy Carmichael’s Musical Mixer (Las Vegas/NYC), Choral Rage (Magnet Theater, NYC), and MORE!
On Sunday, October 7, 2012, the Festival will present a special performance to benefit Gilda’s Club of New York City to raise funds and awareness for people living with cancer.  The benefit will feature many of the top musical improv artists in the country.  Learn more about this star studded event here!
Tickets for most shows are $10+ and include performances by two different musical improv acts per show. Tickets are available at www.brownpapertickets.com or by phone at 800-838-3006. See schedule on www.nymif.com for details.  We’ll see you at the shows!
Tuesday May 31, 2011, 1:44pm - by admin

Dates are set for the 3rd Annual New York Musical Improv Festival hosted by the Magnet Theater. Tuesday November 1st through Sunday November 6th, 2011.