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

Posts Tagged ‘musical improv’

Tuesday July 8, 2014, 1:21pm - by Magnet Theater

Frank SpitznagelSubscribe with iTunes!

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!

Subscribe and Listen with iTunes!

Or listen below on SoundCloud…

Sunday March 30, 2014, 9:30pm - by Magnet Theater
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We’re excited to announce our new additions to Musical Megawatt, New Team Hall and New Team Oates!  Both teams will be debuting Tuesday, April 1st at Musical Megawatt, where there will be Magnet drink specials and an after party at Walter’s (389 8th Ave).

New Team Hall
Brad Benson
John de Guzman
Damon Ketron
Miles Lindahl
Amanda Mayer
Ariana Murphy
Steve Whyte 
Wednesday March 26, 2014, 12:37am - by Amanda Ariel Peggy Xeller

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Mint Condition is one of the two longest running teams a part of Musical Megawatt at the Magnet Theater. Their full roster is filled with incredible musical improv strength, passion, and a very strong bond making them a Giant of Tuesday night. I (Amanda Ariel Peggy Xeller!) got a chance to sit down with the whole team in an attempt to capture their relationship not only with their comedic art, but with each other. Mint Condition is Angela DeManti, Ryan Dunkin, Woody Fu, Melissa Gordon, Sarah Puls, Chris Simpson, and Douglas Widick.

 

What attracted you to the Magnet to begin with?

Sarah Puls (SP): I wanted to do musical improv and this was the only place that was offering classes and also being on house team.

Melissa Gordon (MG): Same. This was the only theater that had a specific Musical Improv Program.

Angela DeManti (AD): I think that the Magnet’s teaching style was something I could relate to and latch onto.

Ryan Dunkin (RD): I came here for musical improv. I also knew about Armando. I used to live in Chicago so I would go to see those shows and heard about him. That’s how I got interested.

Douglas Widick (DW): Musical improv. more

Monday December 30, 2013, 11:00am - by WillyAppelman

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The Director Series is a monthly improv installation wherein a director picks a new form and sets it on a new cast. This month, Michael Lutton is directing “One Hit Wonder”. We chatted with Michael via email to discuss the form.

1. What is ‘One Hit Wonder’?
One-Hit Wonder is a new form that Jon Bander and I came up with. It’s a narrative that follows the story of a band: how it was created, how the group became famous with their number-one hit, the band’s downfall and where the band members are now. I wanted to direct it because I think it has a lot of fun possibilities. Everyone is familiar with “Behind the Music” and biopics about recording artists, so there is a lot to play with, and with that simple story arc the improvisers will have a lot of room to find patterns and develop characters.

2. How does this differ from normal Musical Improv?
This form uses documentary-style interviews to bookend scenes, and since the story arc is one that is already familiar, the cast members are free to focus more on character dynamics.

3. What is your favorite one hit wonder?
The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia by Vicki Lawrence is one of the best story songs of all time, and I will fight anyone who says different. Physically fight them.

4. What is the future of musical improv?
Musical improv is usually narrative, which is a lot of fun but also very challenging. Moving ahead, I think groups will find new ways to tell stories. Our musical program is relatively new and still growing, but we a have a few veteran groups that are doing interesting things with form and genre, and starting to test the limits of what you can do with a musical. I’m very excited to see what happens next!

‘One Hit Wonder’ premiers Thursday, January 2nd at 9pm and continues Thursdays at 9pm in January!

Tuesday November 5, 2013, 5:46pm - by WillyAppelman

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1. The Director’s Series Presents The Wake (improv)- Thursdays at 9pm: Alex Marino directs “The Wake”, an improv show inspired by the name of a recently deceased person.

2. Croft & Pearce (sketch)- Monday, Nov. 11th at 7pm: For one night only, top-rated British sketch comedians Croft & Pearce will be exploring some of life’s enduring mysteries, such as: is it ever too late? (yes), am I worth more than this? (no), should I tweet about this experience? (obviously).

3. Weekend of Regret & Pepita (improv & solo improv)- Monday, Nov. 11th at 8:30pm: 5 of New York’s top improvisers are paired with Pepita, the fictional alter-ego of Magnet Theater performer and instructor, Elana Fishbein.

4. Magnet Sketch Teams (sketch)- Sundays at 7:30pm: Homegrown sketch groups craft some of the most intelligent and hilarious sketch comedy New York, nay The World, has ever seen.

5. Jamaal Sedayao: Born To Karaoke (solo sketch)- Sunday, Nov. 17th at 9pm: In Japanese, “karaoke” means “empty orchestra.” And in Swahili “karaoke” means “having a good time”. Jamaal hopes you have the latter at this show.

6. Legend (musical improv)- Tuesday, Nov. 26th at 9pm: Seasoned Magnet Musical Improv Team, Legend, will blow you away with a completely improvised musical.

7. Kornfeld & Andrews (improv)- Saturday, Nov. 30th at 10:30pm: Magnet Instructors and performers and super cool dudes Louis Kornfeld and Rick Andrews pair together for one night of magical improvisation.

Sunday September 29, 2013, 10:01pm - by WillyAppelman

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The Magnet is thrilled to announce our new Musical Megawatt lineup! Come by this Tuesday when all six teams will perform to kick off the new season!

New Team Chunky
Jen Connor
Stephanie Griffith
Kathleen Armenti
Nikita Burdein
Alex Tracy
Tom Dunlap
Ben Furnas

New Team Smooth
Gretchen Poole
Ariana Murphy
Maggie Morris
Justin Torres
Brad Benson
Andrew Cornelius
Steve Whyte

The Jezebelles
Annie Moor
Kiki Mikkelson
Lauren Friedman
Ali Reed
Mallory Schlossberg
Rachel Norman
Liz Lasky

Legend
Roman Pietrs
Lorraine Cink
Leslie Collins
Jordan Hirsch
Olivia Petzy
Jason Scott Quinn
Ren McDermott

Mint Condition
Woody Fu
Sarah Puls
Melissa Gordon
Angela Demanti
Ryan Dunkin
Doug Widick
Chris Simpson

Aquarius
Ross Taylor
Joe Hendel
Michael Murnane
Laura Dlug
Jon Bander
Oscar Montoya
Abby Holland
Mike Kuplic

Thursday May 23, 2013, 3:20pm - by WillyAppelman

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The Circuit is made up of improv ensembles consisting of veteran Magnet performers and students. Performances are every Friday night at 10pm at The Magnet Studio Theater. Congratulations to the following teams!

TEAM DOROTHY
Bob Kern
Emily Schorr Lesnick
Evelyn Peppas
Tim Lewis
Henry Bergstein
Nicole Lee
Tamar Gressel
Alex Ford
COACH – Teddy Shivers

TEAM ROSE
Jess Wyant
Nolan Constantino
Ari Miller
Bevin Campbell
Carolyn Bucas
Erica Wiederlight
Adam Pasulka
Sulaimon Beg
COACH – Michael McLarnon

TEAM BLANCHE
Chris Simpson
Joe Lepore
Katy Berry
Kerry Kastin
Jon Demuth
Daniel Atwood
Stephanie Leke
Chris Hastings
COACH – Kim Ferguson

TEAM SOPHIA
Jenn Stone
Kate Weinberg
Scott Morwitz
Melissa Caminneci
Sacha Nandal
Philipp Goedicke
Marc Davila
COACH – Laura Dlug

Wednesday March 27, 2013, 12:51pm - by catherinewing

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BEEES!!! turned 2 earlier this year! They are celebrating with a Two-Year Anniversary Show this Friday, March 29th, at 7pm, and you are all invited!

Formed in late December 2010, BEEES!!! gathered for the first time as a team at Mooncake, a few doors down from the Magnet Training Center.  Over dinner and cheap Sapporo beers, they got better acquainted with one another.  Some had taken the Magnet musical improv classes together, and were nervous and excited to be placed on their very first house team; others were seasoned performers, with years of improv and stage experience under their belts.  What they all had in common, was their musical improv training under the brilliant Tara Copeland and Frank Spitznagel.  BEEES!!! hit the Magnet stage for their first show on Tuesday, January 4th, 2011.

The meta show, November 2011.  Photo by Keith Huang.

The meta show, November 2011. Photo by Keith Huang.

(Team Trivia: Michael Lutton came up with the team name, which won the majority of the votes, over gems such as “7 O’Clock,” “The Richard Cheddar Show,” and “Employee of the Month.”)

Inspirado winners!  Dumb challenge ("Beethoven"), February 2012

Inspirado winners! Dumb challenge (“Beethoven”), February 2012

Since then, BEEES!!! has performed regularly on Magnet Musical Tuesdays, survived two hurricanes (Irene and Sandy), won five Inspirado challenges, and performed in theaters and improv festivals throughout NYC and along the East Coast, including The Depot Theatre, Boston Comedy Arts Festival, North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival, NYC Improv Festival, and the New York Musical Improv Festival.

Harold Night at ImprovBoston, March 2012

Harold Night at ImprovBoston, March 2012

The Depot Theatre in Westport, NY, July 2012.

The Depot Theatre in Westport, NY, July 2012.

BEEES!!! is happy and proud to call the Magnet Theater home. Come this Friday, March 29th, at 7pm and join them in celebrating 2 years of making beautiful musical improv together.

The BEEES!!! opening, artistically rendered by Desireé Nash

The BEEES!!! opening, artistically rendered by Desireé Nash

BEEES!!! is: Jamie Cummings, Michael Lutton, Desireé Nash, Steve Whyte, Catherine Wing.

Sleepytime at Chateau Whyte, North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival, February 2013.

Sleepytime at Chateau Whyte, North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival, February 2013.

 

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 July 13, 2012, 10:59am - by woodyfu
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Last night the Magnet expanded its musical improv program by doubling the number of Musical Megawatt teams. We saw the premiere of new teams Atticus, Legend, and the Montels, playing alongside vet teams Aquarius, Mint Condition, and BEEES!

Michael Martin kicks off Musical Megawatt

At the beginning of the night, the director of the musical program Michael Martin talked about how, seven years ago, Tara Copeland and Frank Spitznagel offered a musical improv elective, and how the program has since blossomed into six teams, dozens of performers, and hundreds of students.

New team Atticus took the stage first, telling the tale of Solomon Mann, whose spiritual journey brought him to indigent, indigenous, indignant Native Americans; to Arkansas’s only midnight improv theater; to Penelope the Corn Goddess.

Photo from the Magnet Theater’s Instagram feed

Drew Tarvin’s puns for this show are:

  1. Tickets disappear in a puff of smoke, so be sure to make reservations.
  2. So confident they’ll never Atticus Flinch.
  3. Some of the best meta improv you’ve ever Arkansas.
  4. A harrowing tale about taking on the Mann
  5. If the show is sold out, better try to scalp some tickets.
BOOM!
Next, Mint Condition told the tale of Mr Branson, a My Little Pony-collecting teacher who only wanted to connect with and teach one student in his class. Despite being pregnant, one student study montage’d her way to finishing the S.A.T. and earning Mr Branson his angel wings. He was brutally shot to death at one point.

Photo from the Magnet Theater’s Instagram feed

Drew Tarvin’s puns for this show are:

  1. The perfect conditions for great improv–you’ll go mint-al.
  2. Pony up $7 and saddle up for one heck of a ride.
  3. Around award season, expect this team to win a My Little Tony.
  4. They may talk abut the S.A.T. but you wont be sitting when this one is over.
  5. Get schooled on performing improv with class, Mint Conditon packs some principow!
New team Legend was next in the night, telling the historically accurate facts of the French Revolution, touching on the origin of the guillotine, the terrible English-speaking peasants, owls and knife-like glass nipples.

The worst picture of Lorraine I could find

Drew Tarvin’s puns for this show are:

  1. Caution: funny times a head.
  2. This little piggy went “Oui! Oui! Oui!” all the way home.
  3. What a hoot!
  4. This show will leave you in a body caste.
  5. Get out a map because this is one Legend you want to see.

Musical Director Frank Spitznagel!

Musical Megawatt’s MOST VETERAN TEAM Beees went on next, performing a slice-of-life set taking place in a Rite Aid. From the suggestion of the theme of “jealousy,” we saw the Rite Aid manager who liked passing along his grandfather’s advice in “talksies” with his employees; Karen (the most veteran Rite Aid employee), who was unsure about the mysteries of sex; a gay couple who just broke up after two and half years. Remember: don’t dig a hole if you already have one in the backyard.

The Magnet’s Most Veteran Musical Megawatt Team

Drew Tarvin’s puns for this show are:

  1. This team shows there aint nothin wrong with a little bump and Grindr.
  2. They may be called Beees but I give them an A.
  3. Stop digging for better improv, this team has the hole package.
  4. Is this team from Nevada because they left me green with NV.
  5. Bad improv left you feeling hurt? Beees has the Rite Aid.

New team the Montels were next, and from the suggestion of “candy” took us into Candyland, where tooth fairies worried for their existence, salads and health food were on the rise, people read Candy Gawker, and Colonel Custard waged war against Colonel Kale.

Colonel Custard and Colonel Kale battle for Candyland

Drew Tarvin’s puns for this show are:

  1. Grab some popcorn because these colonels are ready to pop.
  2. All kale the chiefs of great improv!
  3. Funny as health.
  4. With a team this funny, it’s no wonder Mon tells.
  5. Yes We Can-dy.
The final team was Aquarius, who performed the complete works of William Shakespeare at the Apollo Theater. If you were to sum up this show within a show, it would be “I love you, I’m dead.” King Latifah made an appearance, as did Shylock the talent agent, Brian Regan, and Ophelia, who tragically drank a Monster Energy Drink with a cyanide pill in it.

Clean comic Brian Regan and an old couple waiting for a bus

Drew Tarvin’s puns for this show are:

  1. It’s fun for Aquari-you, it’s fun for Aquari-me, it’s fun for Aquari-us.
  2. This comedy equals tragedy + rhyme.
  3. There’s nothing Rocky about this show, it’s out of this world.
  4. The character impersonations will make you stand-up as they get the play-wright.
  5. No need to shake your spears, this show completely works.

Congratulations to all the new teams who debuted last night! Musical Megawatt is now expanded to four shows a night: two shows at 7pm and two shows at 8:30pm. Check the calendar for showtimes!

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