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

Posts Tagged ‘sketch comedy’

Wednesday November 30, 2016, 7:00am - by Magnet Theater

matt-alspaugh-podcast Subscribe with iTunes

Writer, actor, and director, MATT ALSPAUGH, swings by to talk with host Louis Kornfeld about teaching, how he got into the performing arts, and some tasty bits of NYC history. How did this kid who grew up playing baseball in Connecticut fall in love with theater and eventually find himself chasing comedy in New York City? We’ll find out! Matt also provides advice for sketch writers, actors, and show-runners. Plus! We ask Matt to perform a never-before-heard segment called “A Very Kind Scene With A Jar of Pickles.” Huzzah!

We open the episode discussing Matt’s time working at the Drama Book Shop, a local institution for actors, playwrights, and fans of theater alike. His years there allowed Matt to meet many wonderful people, read many great plays, and to be surrounded by theater. It also allowed him to do some couch-crashing, which talks about fondly. While back home after college, Matt was a substitute teacher, and he and Louis find themselves discussing how theater fits into the overall education experience. On the topic of staged pieces, our gents talk about the interplay between the audience and the performer and how performers must allow the audience to fill in some details for themselves. In order to allow yourself to act, you must not worry about convincing the audience of the reality. From all of this, Louis asks Matt about how he got into improv and sketch. Having worn so many different hats within Magnet’s sketch community, Matt provides advice for sketch actors, writers, and show-runners. What’s his favorite role? Find out!

For this episode, we to skip over “Getting To Know Each Other” and instead, Matt tells us about some interesting tidbits of New York City history – after all, he’s a licensed NYC tour guide! Oh baby! And finally, A Very Kind Scene Opposite A Jar Of Pickles, because we all need some kindness after the election.

matt-alspaugh-pickles

Friday November 18, 2016, 3:05pm - by Magnet Theater

MVL

Magnet Video Lab is now accepting applications for season 5. We are a comedy video-making collective powered by the Magnet community. Be sure you thoroughly read the description below before submitting.

There will be an informational Q&A session on Tuesday, December 6 from 6:30-7:00pm in Room A at the Magnet Training Center.

All applications are due no later then 5 pm on December 16, 2016after which you will receive a confirmation that we received your submission. All applicants will be notified by December 28, 2016 and groups will start meeting the first or second week of January, 2017.

Selected applicants will be placed in one of three small groups with an experienced leader. The season will last around 3-4 months, and will culminate with a screening at the Magnet Theater.  The videos will also be featured on the Magnet Video Lab website and Youtube page, and will be promoted through Magnet Theater’s blog, Facebook page, etc. 

Leading up to the show, all members are expected to meet once a week to help each other in the writing room, in pre-production, production, and post-production. During the actual shoot dates, schedules may change. The Video Lab does not own equipment and is not responsible for producing your work, it is a forum of people sharing resources, hardware and experience. During production, you are allowed to work with cinematographers and sound people outside of the Lab if necessary. You are expected to be a pro-active individual that will be hands on with your own creation the whole way through. The Video Lab’s main goal is helping you achieve a high quality product ready for public consumption.

Qualified applicants for the Magnet Video Lab should have at least one of the following skills: video direction, script writing, sound design, video editing, special effects, cinematography, or production.

At least one of two things are required to submit:
1. Minimum of one viewable link to a video you were involved with and an indication of your roll.
2. A script no longer then five pages, in pdf format.

Again all applications are due by 5pm on December 16th.

Submit video links and/or scripts to magnetvideolab@gmail.com. You can access the application at this link: Magnet Video Lab ApplicationAny incomplete submissions will not be considered.

We look forward to reviewing your application!

Tuesday October 11, 2016, 5:10am - by Magnet Theater

Ringers Newsletter

This October edition of Ringers has been announced! Ringers a bi-monthly sketch show produced by Armando Diaz and Amanda Xeller. Ringers features sketches written by new and seasoned writers, fresh acting from improvisers, and direction by eager and practiced sketch voices. The show as a whole showcases both recognizable and up-and-coming talents of the Magnet Theater. The next Ringers show will be Monday, October 24th, at 9PM.
 

Featuring sketches by: Billy Soco, Everett Cox, Jennifer Anderson, Justice Hehir, Levi Friedman, Shelley Little, Will Pinke

Directed by: Ben Koch, Bryan Berlin, Michael McLarnon, Molly Kiernan, Nat Silverman, and Tom Kim

Starring: Amanda Rothman, Andrew Joelson, Annie Howard, Bill Greenlee, Chris Erlendson, Christopher De La Cruz, Dan Lisle, Francis Fuster, Lisa Yapp, Matthew Aromando, Nicole Orisich, Peter Getz, Randy McKay, Tori Smith

MAKE RESERVATIONS HERE

Wednesday September 21, 2016, 7:00am - by Magnet Theater

christopher-hastings-podcast Subscribe with iTunes

Welcome back to the Magnet Theater Podcast! Louis took the summer off to backpack across Europe, rub elbows in the Hamptons, and finish planting his rooftop garden (his tan is looking GREAT). Now he’s back in the saddle with the prolific and charming Christopher Hastings, a writer/performer on the Magnet sketch team Student Council and the creator/writer/artist of many comic books such as Deadpool, Adventure Time, and The Adventures of Dr. McNinja. They discuss Chris’s origin story as a comic book writer and illustrator, how he found himself simultaneously in the world of comedy, and interestingly, why he eventually stopped improvising. PLUS! We debut two new segments: a two-person hotspot explosion and an improvised scene with a jar of pickles. Huzzah!!

Our heroes begin this episode talking about how Chris became the much-beloved comic book writer and illustrator he is today. He tells of attending the School of Visual Arts and his transition from being primarily an artist to being mostly a writer. Since creating his own, online, indie title (The Adventures of Dr. McNinja), Chris has worked his way to writing for Marvel, where he now authors titles such as the Unbelievable Gwenpool and Vote Loki. He discusses the differences between working for yourself versus at a major publisher and how to collaborate with artists as a writer. He also walks us through process of writing an issue of a comic and what’s demanded of a writer by both the form of comics books and their publishers. With so many projects orbiting his brain-box, Louis can’t help but ask what Chris’s busy schedule looks like and why the heck, on top of it all, does he also do comedy. Chris answers all of Louis’s inquiries and talks about how he got into (specifically) improv and why he later stepped away from it.

PLUS – Louis debuts his new hotspot segment “Getting to Know Each Other!” which features hockey, UCB, wizard beards, and corrective lenses.

DOUBLE PLUS – Louis debuts our new improvised segment! It involves a jar of pickles and you’re just going to love it.

IT’S GREAT TO BE BACK!!!

louis-chris-pickles

Monday September 19, 2016, 8:40am - by Magnet Theater

blog_diversity-and-inclusion

The Magnet Theater is pleased to announce — for the first time ever — The Diversity & Inclusion Sketch Lab! All those with voices that are underrepresented in comedy may attend (race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, and age).

Here’s how it’ll work:

We’ll be meeting on Saturdays 12-3pm at the Magnet Training Center (22 West 32nd Street, 10th floor) for six weeks starting October 1st.

You’ll bring in a mix of new and rewritten sketches each week (1 or 2). We’ll give each other feedback for rewrites. The best sketches will be put into the final shows (November 14th, 21st, 28th at 9pm).

For the first meeting all we ask is that you bring is:

1. An example of a sketch that you saw on TV or stage and why you love it.
2. An example of something that happened in your day/week/month/life that you thought was really funny. Anything.

THAT’S IT! You don’t even have to write anything just yet. Give it a try.

YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED:

But I’ve never written sketch or taken a sketch class.

That’s totally fine. We still want you.

But I really can’t write. Can I just perform?
You can get involved as a performer only. Come to the meeting anyway. You might find yourself accidentally writing something amazing.

But I can’t perform/memorize lines.
You can just write then.

I write better with a partner. I can’t do this on my own.
You and your writing partner can present co-written material at meetings. Alternatively, if you realize you really like working with someone at the meetings, you can go off and write together.

I can’t make all the meetings.
If you want to be in the final show or have your sketch considered, you must attend at least 4 of the 6 sessions.

How much does it cost?
It’s FREE.

Do I have to pre-register?
Nope. Just show up!

But I’m still uncertain.
Follow your fear. Remember how hard improv used to seem before you actually tried it?

More questions?
Email: diversitysketchlab@gmail.com

See you there,
Lauren Ashley Smith, Rich Rosario, John Ross, James Kuo, Natalie Silverman, Charlie Nicholson, Jordan RandolphDiversity Sketch Lab collage

Wednesday August 31, 2016, 7:00am - by Magnet Theater

Ringers Newsletter

Applications are now open for Ringers’ October Show. Ringers is a sketch show for aspiring, eager, and ambitious writers, actors, and directors of the Magnet community – and we want you to be a part of it!

The show will be Monday, October 24th at 9:00 P.M.

Below please see the details to apply:

WRITERS:

Ringers is seeking sketches for the stage to showcase in its October show. To have your sketch considered, prior or current participation in Magnet’s Sketch Writing program, Lady Sketch Lab, or Magnet Video Lab is required. You will be required to attend the Table Read on Friday, October 7th from 6:30 P.M. – 8:30 P.M. as well as the show. Attendance of rehearsals is encouraged, but is not mandatory. We encourage directors and writers to meet up after the table read to go over notes and any revisions prior to the first rehearsal.

*Please note that rehearsals will be held before/after class hours during the week and weekend.*

To apply, please fill out the following form: https://goo.gl/forms/sm6oEjaz9h0e1w1A2 as well as email ringers@magnettheater.com a finished, polished sketch formatted correctly and no longer than 5 pages in length. This sketch should also contain little to no tech.

ACTORS:

Ringers is seeking actors to star in its sketches. To be considered as an actor, you must have completed at least Level 4 of Magnet’s Improv Curriculum or Level 2 of the Musical Program. You will be required to attend the Table Read on Friday, October 7th from 6:30 P.M. – 8:30 P.M., the rehearsals for the sketch(es) you are cast in, and the show.

*Please note that rehearsals will be held before/after class hours during the week and weekend.*

Actors will typically be given at least 2 roles.

To apply to be an actor for an upcoming show, please fill out the following form: https://goo.gl/forms/QUBtW2ZNOV3h5GtQ2

DIRECTORS:

Ringers is seeking directors for its October show. To be considered as a director, you must have Big Sib’ed a Sketch Level 2 class or have been on a Magnet Sketch Team. You will be required to attend the Table Read on Friday, October 7th from 6:30 P.M. – 8:30 P.M., the rehearsals for the sketch(es) you are directing, and the show. We encourage directors and writers to meet up after the table read to go over notes and any revisions prior to the first rehearsal.

*Please note that rehearsals will be held before/after class hours during the week and weekend.*

To apply to be a director for a sketch in an upcoming show, please fill out the following form: https://goo.gl/forms/zmvGVAb3Xfexr47u1

**The deadline to be considered for Ringers’ October show is Wednesday, September 14th. Announcements will go out Wednesday, September 21st**

For all questions please e-mail Armando Diaz and Amanda Xeller at ringers@magnettheater.com. We look forward to working with you!

Tuesday August 23, 2016, 10:49am - by Magnet Theater

sketch teams logo

Congratulations to the newest Magnet Sketch Teams and the newest additions to The Executives, Dinosaur Jones, Student Council, and Stockton! Thanks to everyone who submitted and auditioned this round.

Here are your new teams:

*new to Magnet Sketch Teams!

THING #1 directed by Matt Alspaugh
Karina Sahlin* – Writer
Skyler Swezy* – Writer
Dmitry Shein – Writer
Nick Wiener* – Writer
Alyssa Lott* – Actor
Kourtni Beebe* – Actor
Chloe Lewis* – Actor
Keith Rubin* – Actor
Patrick Grizzard* – Writer/Actor
Kyle Levenick – Writer/Actor

THING #2 directed by Ari Miller
Everett Cox* – Writer
Corinne Brinkley* – Writer
Kristen Loe* – Writer
Gina Cucci* – Actor
Alexis Field* – Actor
Dana Moore* – Actor
Rob Webber – Writer/Actor
Joe Lepore – Writer/Actor
Michael McLarnon – Writer/Actor

more

Thursday August 18, 2016, 1:56pm - by Magnet Theater

Ringers Newsletter

This Sunday, August 21st at 7:30 P.M., is Ringers, a bi-monthly sketch show produced by Armando Diaz and Amanda Xeller. Ringers features sketches written by new and seasoned writers, fresh acting from improvisers, and direction by eager and practiced sketch voices. The show as a whole showcases both recognizable and up-and-coming talents of the Magnet Theater. 
 

August’s show will feature: Sketches by Corinne Brinkley, Hannah Berry George, Johnathan Ross, Joseph Kushner, Justice Hehir, Ray Smith, Renee Mariotti, Sara Kalkstein, Sarah Cassell, and Virginia Dickens.

Direction by Andrew Vuilleumier, Chris Hastings, Joe DiBella, Michael Delisle, Nat Silverman, and Tom Kim.

And starring Adam Solomon, Aina Rapoza, Bryan Berlin, Chris Griffin, Cynthia Restrepo, Erin Nebel, Evan Bass Ziesel, Jackie Skinner, Jacob Horn, Jamie Genoa, Jennette Cronk, Jillian Vitko, Joy Weeeng, Kiri Oliver, Mari Stein, Natasha Gleichmann, Nicholas Phillips, Nicole Maxali, Tim Canty, Veronica Lowry, Will Cheng, and Woody Fu.

MAKE RESERVATIONS HERE

Tuesday July 5, 2016, 10:54am - by Magnet Theater

Ringers Newsletter

Applications are now open for Ringers’ August Show. Ringers is a sketch show for aspiring, eager, and ambitious writers, actors, and directors of the Magnet community – and we want you to be a part of it!

The show will be Sunday, August 21st at 7:30pm.

Below please see the details to apply:

WRITERS:

Ringers is seeking sketches for the stage to showcase in its August show. To have your sketch considered, prior or current participation in Magnet’s Sketch Writing program, Lady Sketch Lab, or Magnet Video Lab is required. You will be required to attend the Table Read on Friday, August 5th from 6:30 – 8:30 as well as the show. Attendance of rehearsals is encouraged, but is not mandatory. We encourage directors and writers to meet up after the table read to go over notes and any revisions prior to the first rehearsal.

*Please note that rehearsals will be held before/after class hours during the week and weekend.*

To apply, please fill out the following form: http://goo.gl/forms/KLIixy4RxOTMzDRZ2 as well as email ringers@magnettheater.com a finished, polished sketch formatted correctly no longer than 5 pages in length. This sketch should also contain little to no tech.

ACTORS:

Ringers is seeking actors to star in its sketches. To be considered as an actor, you must have completed at least Level 4 of Magnet’s Improv Curriculum or Level 2 of the Musical Program. You will be required to attend the Table Read on Friday, August 5th from 6:30 – 8:30, the rehearsals for the sketch(es) you are cast in, and the show.

*Please note that rehearsals will be held before/after class hours during the week and weekend.*

To apply to be an actor for an upcoming show, please fill out the following form: http://goo.gl/forms/vvLveYjEwSotPUz32

DIRECTORS:

Ringers is seeking directors for its August show. To be considered as a director, you must have Big Sib’ed a Sketch Level 2 class or have been on a Magnet Sketch Team. You will be required to attend the Table Read on Friday, August 5th from 6:30 – 8:30, the rehearsals for the sketch(es) you are directing, and the show. We encourage directors and writers to meet up after the table read to go over notes and any revisions prior to the first rehearsal.

*Please note that rehearsals will be held before/after class hours during the week and weekend.*

To apply to be a director for a sketch in an upcoming show, please fill out the following form: http://goo.gl/forms/sPkS9gIGeAYB3Djx1

**The deadline to be considered for Ringers’ August show is Wednesday, July 20th. Announcements will go out Wednesday, July 27th**

For all questions please e-mail Armando Diaz and Amanda Xeller at ringers@magnettheater.com. We look forward to working with you!

Wednesday June 15, 2016, 5:41pm - by Magnet Theater

SketchTeamSubmissions_1920-1080_Generic_blog

The Magnet Theater is excited to announce that we are now accepting applications for the 2016 Fall/Winter Season of MAGNET SKETCH TEAMS, which will run from September 12th through Jan 30th! Applications are due by Monday, August 1st, at 5pm!

Please read the following application instructions and sketch team participant expectations very carefully – we’ve made some very big changes to the program. Got questions? Come to the Fall 2016 Sketch Team info sessions Wednesday, June 29th at 6pm at the TC.

GENERAL SKETCH SHOW EXPECTATIONS

  • Each team will create one 20-25 minute sketch show every three to four  weeks.

  • All sketch team shows will be on Monday nights at 7:30pm! Two teams will perform in each show.

  • All sketch team shows must contain new, original material written specifically for Magnet Sketch Night that has never been previously performed.

  • Each show will contain the best material created for the team as selected by the director – there is no guarantee that every writer will get a sketch in each show or that every actor will be featured in each show. Funny wins. Them’s the breaks.

  • All sketches will be performed by the team’s ensemble cast of sketch actors. If a particular sketch requires it, the team may use outside casting (writers, other actors) at the director’s discretion.

GENERAL SKETCH TEAM EXPECTATIONS

  • Sketch team members are expected to attend all required meetings and shows and arrive fully prepared. Sketch is time intensive – make sure you can commit 100% and make sketch a priority before applying.

  • Sketch team members must be available 1:30-4:30pm the Sunday before their show for a mandatory tech rehearsal at the theater.

  • Sketch team members may not schedule conflicting appointments (work, rehearsals, shows, etc) during scheduled techs, shows, rehearsals, or meetings.

  • Sketch teams must rehearse with a Magnet approved director. Each individual sketch team member is responsible for paying their director a flat rate of $12/week; team due collection is left to the discretion of the director and team (as it would be for an improv team or practice group).

  • Sketch team members are expected to promote their shows at the theater.

For the Fall/Winter 2016 Sketch Season, you must apply as a writer, performer, or a writer/performer. Expectations, prerequisites, and application instructions for each role are below!

WRITER EXPECTATIONS

  • Writers must attend one 3 hour writing meeting per week, all performance rehearsals of their sketches, and all tech rehearsals.

  • Writers must constantly generate new material and are required to bring in a minimum of one new sketch per week, even during show week.

  • Writers are expected to be respectful and gracious collaborators in writing room. Writers should give and receive feedback to and from their teammates in an open and constructive manner.

  • Writers will be required to rewrite material and meet deadlines as requested by their director.

WRITER  PREREQUISITES

  • Completion of (or current enrollment in) Magnet Sketch Writing Level 2 or previous participation on a Magnet Sketch team (as any role).

  • Equivalent sketch writing experience somewhere else!

WRITER APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS:

Send the following materials to sketchdirector@magnettheater.com with the subject line, “2016 FALL/WINTER MAGNET SKETCH TEAM APPLICATION// WRITER // <YOUR NAME>”.

  • A cover letter detailing relevant sketch experience inside and outside the Magnet community.
  • If your comedy experience is mostly outside of the Magnet Theater, you must provide the email address for a reference.
  • A single PDF of a sketch writing sample. Your sample should contain at least two sketches and may not exceed 10 pages.

PERFORMER EXPECTATIONS

  • Performers must be available for a regularly scheduled 2-3 hour performance rehearsal the week leading up to the show (ex: Sketch Team Fart Police has a performance rehearsal every Tuesday before a show, 7-10pm)

  • Performers must be available for techs, table reads, and any additional rehearsals as required by the director.

  • Performers must learn all show material in a timely manner.

  • Performers may collaborate with writers outside of rehearsals to help create characters and sketches, but performers should not be writing material on their own for shows.

  • Performers must perform sketches as they are written – ad libbing is good in a pinch, but be prepared and don’t put yourself in positions where you must resort to improvisation. Be polished and professional in all shows.

PERFORMER PREREQUISITES

  • Completion of or current enrollment in Level 6 team performance workshop, participation in a past or current Megawatt team, or previous participation in a Magnet Sketch Team (as any role).

  • Equivalent sketch performing experience somewhere else! You must also provide a contactable reference who knows your work well.

PERFORMER APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS:

Send the following materials to sketchdirector@magnettheater.com with the subject line,

“2016 FALL/WINTER MAGNET SKETCH TEAM APPLICATION// PERFORMER // <YOUR NAME>”

  • A cover letter detailing relevant performance experience inside and outside the Magnet community.

  • A headshot

  • A PDF of your acting resume

  • A SINGLE link to a 3-5 minute sample of your work as a performer. This can be a reel, a recording of a stage sketch, a video sketch, a monologue directed at a webcam, anything you feel showcases you as a comedic performer. Youtube or Vimeo preferred. The link can be public, private, or unlisted – just be sure to send passwords if necessary and you may only send one link and the link itself may be no longer than 5 minutes.

You will be informed by Monday, September 8th, if you have been selected to audition in person. In-person auditions will be held on Friday, August 12th, and Saturday, August 13th at the Magnet Training Center. Unfortunately, if you are not available for the above callback dates, you cannot be considered as a performer for the 2016 Fall/Winter Sketch Season.

For the in-person audition, you will perform two contrasting sketches that will be assigned to you and another applicant a couple days prior to the audition. You must be completely off-book and you may rehearse before hand with your scene partner, at your discretion. You will also be asked to cold read sketches in the room.

WRITER/ PERFORMER EXPECTATIONS

  • Writer/performers must meet all writer expectations AND performer expectations.

  • Writer/performers are expected to write for other performers as well as for themselves. There is no guarantee that a writer/performer will perform in all of their own work.

WRITER/PERFORMER PREREQUISITES

  • Writer/performers must meet all writer AND performer prerequisites or previous participation on a Magnet Sketch team (as any role) or equivalent experience somewhere else.

WRITER/PERFORMER APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS

Send the following materials to sketchdirector@magnettheater.com with the subject line,

“2016 FALL/WINTER MAGNET SKETCH TEAM APPLICATION// WRITER/PERFORMER // <YOUR NAME>”

  • All materials detailed in writer application instructions.

  • All materials detailed in performer application instructions.

  • Also, please indicate if you are willing to be considered as a writer or actor ONLY if you are not selected for a writer/performer position. Be completely honest – your preferences will not be held against you!

You will be informed by Monday, August 8th, if you have been selected to audition in person. See performer application instructions above for more info about the audition.

Failure to follow application instructions will keep you from being considered for sketch team. Double check your application!

All applications must be received by 5pm on Monday, August 1st!