Posts Tagged ‘musical improv’
John O’Donnell, longtime friend of Magnet Theater and kind onstage powerhouse talks about how he first fell in love with performing, improv, and stumbling upon the early evolution of musical improv.
John has appeared in pilots for Comedy Central, the HBO Aspen Comedy Festival, on Late Night With Conan O’Brien, as well as numerous commercials.
He has also written and performed a trilogy of one-man shows, O’Donnellogues, Son of O’Donnellogues, and Beneath The Planet of The O’Donnellogues. At the Magnet Theater he has made appearances in Thursday Night Out, The Armando Diaz Experience, The Tiny Spectacular, and currently improvises weekly in Magnet’s ‘The Made Up Musical‘.
John has a Masters Degree in Education and has been teaching in New York City for over a decade.
Enjoy Episode #13 on iTunes or below via SoundCloud.
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!
Or listen below on SoundCloud…
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).
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
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!
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.
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
New Team Smooth
Jason Scott Quinn
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!
Emily Schorr Lesnick
COACH – Teddy Shivers
COACH – Michael McLarnon
COACH – Kim Ferguson
COACH – Laura Dlug
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.
(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.”)
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.
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.
BEEES!!! is: Jamie Cummings, Michael Lutton, Desireé Nash, Steve Whyte, Catherine Wing.
1. There will be a Curriculum Change:
That’s the recap! See you at the shows!