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Posts Tagged ‘musical megawatt’

Thursday June 22, 2017, 10:00am - by Promo Team

Welcome to Magnet’s “Getting To Know” series! We’re using our blog to highlight our fabulous performers and writers and we can’t wait for you to meet them. Want to see them all? Click here.

What’s your name?

Billy Soco

Which team or show are you on?

Hot Charles and Kittyhawk

Where are you from?

Florida

How did you get into improv/sketch comedy?

I took a free improv class at Magnet with Hannah Chase. It was magical and saved my life!

How long have you been performing/writing?

Couple years in comedy now though I was in a rap group in college. That counts, right?

Who in all the world would be your ideal scene or writing partner?

Mindy Kaling, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Dick Van Dyke for both. Would love to write with Joss Whedon.

Who would you most like to impersonate or write for? 

Conan O’Brien, Martin Short, Aziz Ansari, and Fall Out Boy.

What makes you laugh the hardest?

A great tag run. Irrational or unreasonable justifications or sentiments spoken from an unflinchingly committed straight face. Teener, Taul, Gehrig and Birdman…UGH, so good. Also farts.

Describe the soundtrack to your life!

A mix of songs from Deja Entendu by Brand New, The Con by Tegan & Sara, Pinkerton by Weezer, Here, My Dear by Marvin Gaye, Buhloone Mind State by De La Soul, Morning View by Incubus, and a crap ton of pop punk, Tom Petty, Prince, Queen and J Dilla.

What’s something you’d ask when meeting someone for the first time?

“What’s your name?”

Where can we find you on a Saturday night?

I’m probably performing or watching a friend perform but you know what? Let me check my calendar and I’ll tell you exactly. If not, let’s hang!

If animals could talk, which one would be the rudest?

Raccoons. 100%. They’re all up in everyone’s business and home and trash and have no sense of boundaries which leads me to believe that if they could talk they would be super vocal about their likely unfair opinions of others and, you know, if you don’t have anything nice to say, finish stealing cat food from those cats with your creepy little raccoon hands and be on your way.

Wednesday June 14, 2017, 6:30am - by Magnet Theater

 

Musical improv maestro, ALI REED, joins host Louis Kornfeld on another episode of the Magnet Theater Podcast. The conversation hits a variety of topics including living in Kentucky, comparing sports to performing improv, and the pleasures of working with musical director Frank Spitznagel. We find out how Ali is able to balance her schedule as one of the busiest people in musical improv and learn about her ambitious plans for the future of the artform! Huzzah!

Catching us up on her life, Ali tells us that she has had a packed schedule for the past nine months and Louis refers to her as the busiest person in musical improv. They discuss momentum and how it can be helpful to have a full schedule.

In the beginning of the episode, Louis asks Ali about growing up in Kentucky. Doing her civic duty, Ali defines what bourbon is – explaining that if it’s not from Kentucky, it’s not bourbon – and we learn about the importance of Louisville basketball and how it was difficult for Ali to be a fan of their rival, University of Kentucky, while she was surrounded by Cardinal fans throughout college.

On the topic of sports, Ali compares being an athlete to being a performer and Louis imagines that playing sports would be similar to performing improv. Ali agrees but thinks that the subjectivity of performing makes it such that she’s harder on herself – adding that it’s easier when there is a win or a loss.

Ali and Louis take a trip down memory lane to talk about how Ali came to be the hardest working woman in musical improv. On the suggestion from an ex-boyfriend, who had had been taking UCB classes in LA, Ali went online to see if any classes were available. She saw that an improv 101 class has just started registering that night and signed up immediately. She and Louis discuss the solidarity of improv classes and Ali says that she is still friends with everyone from her improv 101 class!

Eventually, Ali found her way to musical improv. A friend of hers said that he was going to do a musical improv class at Magnet to which she replied, “Oh, hell yeah.” Since then, she has been bitten by the “Magnet bug.” Sharing her love with us, Ali teaches Louis about different strategies in musical improv. Louis compares it to regular improv and Ali discusses how performing musical improv is similar to putting on that album that you like while you’re in a certain mood – but it’s much more intense.

They talk about Magnet musical director Frank Spitznagel and his incredible knowledge of music, always able to seamlessly integrate various types of musical elements brought up by suggestions of a genre, television shows, specific musicals, etc. Ali talks about how lucky she feels to have had Frank as a teacher and to share the stage with him.

They explore the bravery that goes into musical improv and how Ali often forgets that it IS brave. She is reminded by it when people come up and tell her “Oh, I could never do that.”  They also talk about the benefits of being located in New York, in comparison to LA or Chicago, because of all of the Broadway folks who are willing to coming sing and perform in musical improv.

Diving further into the artform, Ali wants there to be a more authentic, truthful place for musical improv – instead of just songs about butts (which she also loves). When she teaches, she finds that taking the mundane scenes and heightening them can become the funniest and most touching songs. Louis concurs and mentions a musical improv show he saw that capitalized on those tiny “slice of life” scenes and ended up enhancing the characters’ emotions.

As the episode comes to an end, we learn about Ali’s dream for the future of musical improv. She lets us in on her ambitious plans – stating that she will build her own musical improv empire in New York City.

Wednesday June 7, 2017, 7:00am - by Magnet Theater

 

Daughter of the wind, KEILANA DECKER, joins our host Louis Kornfeld in episode #125 of the Magnet Theater Podcast. The two dig deep into the topic of “having fun” and the trouble they both have with it. Both of them share their appreciation for fellow Magnet personality Charlie Nicholson –  including a hilarious story involving Charlie’s toothbrush – and as always, we learn about different improv tricks and strategies from Louis and Keilana alike.

At the beginning of the episode, Keilana reveals that she has prepared for this recording by listening to other episodes of the podcast and fears that she will simply regurgitate dialogue she’s already heard. Keilana tells us about going home to Chico, CA recently and she and Louis chat about going home to see their parents and how belittling it can feel.

Speaking of home, Keilana talks about leaving hers and coming to NYC to do improv. At first, she was so intrigued and confused by how these experienced improvisers were able to have fun while performing and Louis connects with Keilana over the idea of having a hard time “having fun” on stage. Louis draws a line in the sand and says that he doesn’t like fun because “fun is cheap.” Our host and guest digress a bit, admitting that there is a benefit in allowing yourself to being exposed in front of people who are in a position of accepting and supporting you. Keilana talks about the different levels of exposure, giving the example of how she felt like she wasn’t able to tell improv teammates if and when she didn’t feel good about her performance. Tangents aside, Keilana and Louis circle back around to the topic of having fun and Louis provides the following analogy: “I love dancing – except when there are other people around doing it.”

Louis talks about a book he is reading that explores how different people deal with their wounds: people who use their wounds to better themselves and people who give into their wounds – the “born losers.”  Our two heroes realize that they are both people who don’t like the excessive amount of attention improv necessitates, but who love the art form nonetheless. Louis describes improv as airing out your wounds publicly (for about 20 minutes) and they both relate to how scary and empowering that can be.

We hear about Keilana’s newest love: spontaneous one-person applause. She tells us about her appreciation for the recognition in the one person who is willing to clap by themselves, which means more than simply laughing along with everyone else, of which she says, “You can laugh because you don’t understand something.” Of this kind of bold self-expression, Keilana is reminded of her appreciation for Charlie Nicholson (her Bodywork team member). She talks about a fun game he plays by hiding his toothbrush around her apartment when he stays over. Louis describes Charlie as a person who is willing to try out something new, that hasn’t been done, just to see what happens with it.

To round out the episode, Keilana and Louis discuss how a really good scene just requires one “yes, and,” how improv helps us harness the childlike wonder we’ve forgotten about, and why cleverness has a habit of ruining improv scenes. Plus, Louis describes a dream he thinks everyone has had (no one has) and Keilana builds a beautiful metaphorical firework.

 

Thursday June 1, 2017, 10:00am - by Promo Team

Welcome to Magnet’s “Getting To Know” series! We’re using our blog to highlight our fabulous performers and writers and we can’t wait for you to meet them. Want to see them all? Click here.


What’s your name?

Jennette Cronk

Which team or show are you on?

Honeymoon

Where are you from?

Tampa Bay Area of Florida

How did you get into improv/sketch comedy?

When I got to NYC, my friend Paddy said, “Let’s go take a free class at Magnet!” He had already gone through UCB. We had a blast in Rick’s class. Then we took Hannah’s class and loved it! Of course, Michael’s musical free class hooked me for all eternity! Once I tried musical improv, I thought, “Yeah, this is what I’ve been looking for my whole life.”

How long have you been performing/writing?

My first big production was Trial By Jury, and we performed it in a historic court house. I was in second or third grade then (and the only kid in the production). I’ve been performing or writing in some capacity for a really long time.

Who in all the world would be your ideal scene or writing partner?

Dawn French! I love everything she does.

Who would you most like to impersonate or write for? 

Can I say Dawn French again? Or Tracy Ullman, she’s a huge role model for me.

What makes you laugh the hardest?

Farts. I wish I could say I was more sophisticated…. Maybe a good slip-and-fall…

Describe the soundtrack to your life!

Kidz Bop covers of Danzig

What’s something you’d ask when meeting someone for the first time?

“Were you followed?”

Where can we find you on a Saturday night?

If I don’t have show, I’m at someone’s show!

What is the worst purchase you have ever made?

I bought a “high-waisted control-top thong” once. It was exactly as awful as it sounds. Thanks, Groupon!

Wednesday May 24, 2017, 7:00am - by Magnet Theater

 

International man of mystery, ROMAN PIETRS, sits down with host Louis Kornfeld to discuss his improv life, his various profession(s), and being a dad who does improv. The Warm Blooded team member explains his proclivity toward using emotion during improv and Louis unearths out some of the reasons why Roman is a person of great intrigue. The topics in this episode range from European walking tours to male-perm quiche parties, so you know it’ll be great.

We begin this episode with a sneaky little cold open in which Roman and Louis delve into their family histories including a generation that seemed to largely reject their given names.

Diving into the episode proper, Roman divulges that he planned ahead by checking emails in order to refresh his Magnet Theater memory. When discussing musical improv, Roman explains that he has “more of a musical mind than a lyrical mind” and gives an example of a song about a box. It’s the kind of improv that Roman refers to as, “speaking in tongues.” Louis also shares his perspective of letting yourself go onstage and opening your mouth without an idea.

The two chat about their experiences with emotion on stage and we find out that Roman’s safe place is going to a highly-inflated emotional state. Louis was uncomfortable with the idea of playing with emotion at first, but now he believes that emotion is everything. Roman discusses his recent struggle with breaking on stage – due to the hilarity of his teammates – and describes his team, Warm Blooded, as an ensemble that creates “passionate musicals that borderline on the obscure.”

Louis begins to figure out some of the reasons why Roman has the reputation of being a “man of mystery.” In addition to working in improv and graphic design, Roman also helps run a European walking tour industry (taking place in Budapest, Prague, etc.). After helping his wife out with a craft idea, they eventually got to be on Shark Tank. “Male-perm quiche party” is a term that Louis had never heard of, however Roman used it as a way to raise money for a good cause and in turn share a cover story with Slash from Guns ‘N’ Roses. Lastly, we hear about an interesting taxi driver whom Roman learned a lot about. And that’s just the stuff we had time for in this podcast recording!

Thursday May 11, 2017, 10:00am - by Promo Team

Welcome to Magnet’s “Getting To Know” series! We’re using our blog to highlight our fabulous performers and writers and we can’t wait for you to meet them. Want to see them all? Click here.

What’s your name?

Adam Payne

Which team or show are you on?

Squash

Where are you from?

Studio City, California

How did you get into improv/sketch comedy?

Back when I was feeling a little sad and lonely after a breakup that could have gone better, I decided that I needed a new hobby. And having seen several episodes of Who’s Line Is It Anyway growing up, I thought improv would be a good option. I signed up for a class, and even I was initially surprised that we we’re doing these things called “scenes” rather than playing Party Quirks again and again, I was hooked.

How long have you been performing/writing?

Although I’ve been a behind-the-camera filmmaker since I was in high school, and I was an avid friend-of-the-theater-kids in college, I didn’t actually start performing myself until my Level 1 Improv class show. I’m trying to make up for lost time now!

Who in all the world would be your ideal scene or writing partner?

Jill Bernard aka the living embodiment of everything good in improv. I met Jill a couple years ago at Camp Improv Utopia and her improv so fun, surprising, and effortless, and her personality was so warm and uplifting. She’s perfect.

What makes you laugh the hardest?

I love feeling surprised. So really love it when someone says something completely by accident, and the whole team comes together to explore, heighten, and realize the logic in that surprise. Those moments can make me cry a little bit.

Describe the soundtrack to your life!

Half acoustic guitar ballads, half sped up anime intro songs. Sometimes a mix of the two.

What’s something you’d ask when meeting someone for the first time?

“So what brings you to [place we’re both at]?”
If you’re looking for icebreakers for online-only conversations, you’ll need to find that advice somewhere else.

Where can we find you on a Saturday night?

Ideally, at a bar that allows board games. Or someone’s apartment that allows board games. Or we can just hang out at my place and play board games. I have a lot of board games.

What is your favorite Disney movie?

Are we including Pixar? Then The Incredibles.
Are we including Disney-distributed movies? Spirited Away.
Are we not including those other two things? Then The Lion King.

Monday April 3, 2017, 11:38am - by Megan Gray
Musical Megawatt - Musical Improv

We are thrilled to announce the newest additions to our Musical Megawatt lineup! Catch these new teams in action this Tuesday, April 4th at 7, 8, 9 and 10pm.

New Team Crosby
Russ Feder
Brendan Goggins
Margaret Lyons
Adam Payne
Jackie Skinner
Justin Torres
Catherine Wing

New Team Stills
Chris Bell
Jessica Coyle
Amanda Mayer
Garett Press
Melanie Rubin
Cian Smith
Steve Whyte

New Team Nash
Lorraine Cink
Jennette Cronk
Eitan Levine
Maryann Menzies
Charlie Nicholson
Ali Reed
Brian Rodriguez

New Team Young
Samara Breger
Tim Canty
Keilana Decker
Dan Iwrey
Jayme Mattler
Billy Soco
Curry Whitmire

Friday March 10, 2017, 9:00am - by Promo Team

Welcome to Magnet’s “Getting To Know” series! We’re using our blog to highlight our fabulous performers and writers and we can’t wait for you to meet them. Want to see them all? Click here.

What’s your name?

Russ Feder

Which team or show are you on?

The Commotion 

Where are you from?

Long Island, NY

How did you get into improv/sketch comedy?

I grew up watching SNL, Mr. Show, and Monty Python all the time. In the early days of Comedy Central, the British version of Whose Line Is It Anyway? became my favorite show on television. I wrote some sketch soon after college with my old team, The Evil Audubon Society, and took improv classes over at UCB. Later, I took Musical Improv classes at the Magnet, and here we are!

How long have you been performing/writing?

Well, I’ve done musicals and plays since middle school, and I have a degree in Theater, so I’ve been acting for about 21 years, writing for 10, and improvising for eight.

Who in all the world would be your ideal scene or writing partner?

It was my dream to be Dana Carvey as a kid, so it would be incredible to work with him. And Paul F. Tompkins is the Funniest Person Alive, so I’d love to goof around on a stage with him. That dude makes me laugh like no one else.

Who would you most like to impersonate or write for?

I’ve done a pitch perfect George Costanza impression since I was in eighth grade, so I’d love to yell at Jason Alexander and have him yell back at me for a while.

What makes you laugh the hardest?

When I see people I know and love perform. If I like you as a person, I’ll respond to a B-plus joke like it’s the funniest thing I’ve ever heard. And I’m a BIIIIIIG laugher. Sorry, rest of the audience.

Describe the soundtrack to your life!

There’s an embarassing amount of Billy Joel, but that’s what happens when you grow up on Long Island. Plus, there’s a steady diet of Punch Brothers, Bruce Springsteen, and, if I’m doing things right, at least one Queen song a day.

What’s something you’d ask when meeting someone for the first time?

“Their name, for I am a gentleman!

I’d then promptly forget their name, for I am a narcissist.”

Where can we find you on a Saturday night?

Either at home, with friends, or at a show. Weird time to decide to flirt with me, Questionaire.

If you could choose one animal to go extinct – which would it be? 

Mosquitos should go extinct! Why do we even have them?

Wednesday December 14, 2016, 7:00am - by Magnet Theater

lane-kwederis-podcast Subscribe with iTunes

She’s all over the stage and screen and now LANE KWEDERIS joins us to discuss musical theater, audition wisdom, and her favorite moments from working in TV! From the Boston Conservatory to your cable box, Lane has accumulated a wealth of experience, which she shares on this episode as she and Louis discuss her career and life as an actor and comedian. Like Louis, you have perhaps never met Lane before, but you’ll love her after an hour! Catch Lane every Tuesday on Musical Megawatt with Public Pool and on Mondays with sketch team The Executives!!

This episode begins with Louis admitting that he and Lane just met for the first time! It seems as though they’ve been ships passing in the improv night for years now. In order to get fully acquainted, Louis asks how Lane ended up as a performer. She talks about studying musical theater at Boston Conservatory and working in theater soon thereafter. So, how’s she get into improv? Spoiler: It involves a casting director’s suggestion and a new passion. Lane and Louis discuss the rigid musical theater machine versus the more welcoming world of comedy. Despite her initial interest in live theater, Lane is mostly working in film and TV these days. Louis asks a number of nerdy, technical acting and audition questions and Lane answers, giving particular attention to comedic choices. This is helpful information for those interested in that kind of work!

Jumping back, Louis asks Lane if she always knew that performance was her life’s calling, and while she says that indeed, it was, she also mentions how she once wanted to be a veterinarian. As such, she and Louis discuss cute animals (see cat above), Lane’s playful nature, and the archetypes of children. Lane also talks about the fun of performing in Urinetown as a senior in college and how she really loved the comedic aspects of it.

To bring us fully up to speed with Lane’s acting career, Louis asks her to share a couple quick hits from her television appearances. She tells of what it was like to film on Comedy Central’s “Broad City” and of a parlor trick gone wrong while shooting Netflix’s “The Characters” with Tim Robinson. Finally, Louis asks Lane about the comedy that she writes and creates herself – what makes her laugh? – and they mull over some best-case Disney princess scenarios.

Plus! We bring you new editions of both Getting To Know Each Other and A Very Serious Scene Opposite A Jar Of Pickles!

lane-and-louis-pickles

Wednesday November 2, 2016, 7:00am - by Magnet Theater

dubbs-weinblatt-podcast Subscribe with iTunes

Founder and host of Thank You For Coming Out, DUBBS WEINBLATT, joins us to discuss battling stagefright, coming out stories, and the show TYFCO. Dubbs talks to host Louis Kornfeld about getting started in comedy in Ohio, how great Hawaiian shirts are, and what it feels like to be cut from a team. This episode is filled with the laughs you’d expect and also a lot of honest, touching moments that we think everyone can appreciate. Dubbs FTW! Check out the next Thank You For Coming Out on Monday, 12/12, at 10:30pm.

This episode kicks off with an exploration of why Dubbs been shaken by performance anxiety lately, but before going too deep into it, we back up a bit and Louis asks how Dubbs got started in comedy. We find out that Dubbs was originally pursuing stand-up in Columbus, OH! They both talk about the difference between the fears associated with standup (you’re prepared, but alone) and the fears linked to improv (you’re unprepared, but with people). Eventually, Dubbs moved to NYC and signed up for a UCB intensive improv class, but never even got to take it! Instead, Dubbs found musical improv at Magnet.

Louis talks with Dubbs about coming out as gay and then, later, coming out as genderqueer. As someone who didn’t fit into the gender binary, gaining the language necessary to properly articulate Dubbs’ new identity was perhaps as important as anything else. Dubbs describes the lead-up to top surgery and how the effects of the surgery can be seen in the camouflage and Hawaiian shirts Dubbs wore, respectively, before and after the procedure.

Circling back to where we began, Louis and Dubbs discuss stagefright! Dubbs describes the experience of a recent show where the cast of TYFCO (literally) held Dubbs’ hand leading into a scene and goes on to profess the benefits of community support. Diving further into the background of that moment, Dubbs speaks candidly about being cut from Musical Megawatt and how it hurts more being let go from within the system than not being a part of it at all. The interview ends with a bit more talk about TYFCO.

To close the show, Louis and Dubbs get to know each other with a “coffee and cake” monologue hotspot and Dubbs gives us a Serious Scene Opposite A Jar Of Pickles for the ages!

dubbs-louis-pickles