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

Posts Tagged ‘sketch’

Friday May 10, 2013, 2:00am - by WillyAppelman

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Shacottha Fields is a bartender and performer at The Magnet Theater. Her one woman show, 1 Deep, was a Critics’ Pick in Time Out Chicago. Shacottha performs weekly with her newly minted Megawatt Team, Call Tokyo and monthly with the all-female improv group, We Might Just Kiss. If you don’t know and love Shacottha yet, read on…

*Questions: So Shacottha, what’s your story?

I’m from Nacogdoches, Texas. A small place where everybody knows everybody, I graduated with 18 other people. I went to college for Business and right after I graduated I moved to New York City to pursue acting. I realize that my personality was not fit for a 9 to 5. I figured utilizing my gifts of listening and making people laugh was a better way for me to live.

*Question: When you got to New York, how did you get started?

I was taking an acting class from an agent that would come to class and yell at us, “If you want to be an actor, you have to take improv!” So I did. I have taken classes at The People’s Improv Theater and Upright Citizens Brigade. I started taking classes at The Magnet Theater two years ago and I’m so happy I did. I loved the foundation of improv that I received, more so the wide variety of improv forms that I learned as well. It was like a whole world of improv that I never knew. Last year, I saw Ben Jones do his one person improv show “Just Ben.” I was so inspired. The experience I had at that show was so amazing I just felt like I wanted to create something of my own to share with the world. Unsure of everything, I started coaching with Rick Andrews. Together we developed my own form for my one woman improv show. Shortly after, I gave birth to my own improv baby, 1 Deep, now traveling to different festivals. I am also proud to say that I am a part of a new house team at The Magnet Theater, “Call Tokyo”.

*Question: If you could have one super power, what would it be?

My super power would be to fly. I’ve always felt birds had the best view of the world and all its beauty. I would fly all over the world and see all the different people, the way they live, the ocean and terrain. I would observe the change in its texture, tone and material. I would just fly all over to experience every nook and cranny of the world.

Fly with Ms. Fields and Call Tokyo every Wednesday at Megawatt!

Thursday April 11, 2013, 9:15am - by WillyAppelman

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“The Sleep Over” is the newest installment of The Director Series, a 4-week series of performances wherein a Director selects a cast and presents a different form. This month Kevin Cragg is directing “The Sleep Over.” We conducted an interview with director Kevin Cragg via email about the show.

1. What is The Sleep Over?
The Sleep Over is largely a mono-character improv form that was developed in the early 2000s by then Harold Team Mother. Over the duration of the current Sleep Over incarnation, Kevin Cobbs, Megan Gray, Will Quinn, Amie Roe, Jamaal Sedayao, Emily Shapiro, Caitlin Steitzer, and Kristy Wesolowski introduce us to eight characters and take us on a journey through the world they inhabit.

2. Why are you directing it?
My interest in the Sleep Over stems from the long history I have had with the form. I was lucky enough to be present to watch Mother workshop the form at a tiny storefront theater and it has been one of my favorite forms ever since. By directing it, I have a reason to gather eight of my favorite improvisers and let them loose on one of my favorite forms.

3. What is your favorite type of improv?
Since I have performed improv for quite some time and I have watched improv even longer, I would have to say the type of improv that is my favorite is that which surprises me. For four Thursdays in April, I will be watching my favorite improv.

4. What is the future of improv?
Another realm for product placement.

The Sleep Over performs every Thursday in April at 10pm at The Magnet Theater. The cast features Kevin Cobbs, Megan Gray, Will Quinn, Amie Roe, Jamaal Sedayao, Emily Shapiro, Caitlin Steitzer, and Kristy Wesolowski.

Monday March 4, 2013, 1:58pm - by WillyAppelman

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A timeless rite of passage into modern adulthood involving flagrant consumption, waffling definitions of sexual propriety, a general disregard for all grown-up responsibility, and occasional learning, college is that magical time when you can have your mind blown by Marx and Engels from the comfort of your lofted-bed. Company 29’s newest sketch show takes a look at all things college, from the dubious founding of Harvard University to that guy who always brings his guitar with him to parties even though nobody asked him to.

Sponsored By: Six Point Brewery

Company 29 is the Magnet Theater’s sketch company in residence, dedicated to producing new and original sketch comedy featuring some of the Magnet’s best sketch writers and performers.

Featuring: Mike Barry, Kevin Cobbs, Tim Eberle, Nick Kanellis, Ruby Marez, Justin Peters, Branson Reese, Jamaal Sedayao, Danielle Tolley, and Rob Williams.

Written By: Tim Eberle, Kevin Cobbs, Jamaal Sedayao, Sarah Pappalardo, and Nick Kanellis.

Directed By: Nick Benaquista

Assistant Director: Amanda Xeller

Reservations HERE: Friday, March 8th at 8:30, Saturday, March 9th at 7:30, Sunday, March 10th at 8pm.

Thursday January 3, 2013, 3:29pm - by WillyAppelman

Saturday, January 5th marks the beginning of The Magnet Theater’s New Sketch Lab!  Sketch Lab is a weekly workshop to encourage sketch development.  One of the Magnet’s top sketch directors will provide feedback on your work and answer any questions you may have about the writing process. Sketch writers of all levels are welcome, whether you’re considering taking a sketch class, in a class currently, or between classes.  So this Saturday, come to the Magnet Training Center (259 w. 30th St.) from 12pm-2pm and bring $5, and get feedback on your freshest work!

No registration required…see you there!

Tuesday December 4, 2012, 4:10pm - by WillyAppelman


“The Narrator” is the tenth installment of The Director Series, a 3-week string of performances wherein a Director selects a cast and presents a different form. This month Michael Martin directs “The Narrator” with musical direction by Frank Spitznagel.

“The Narrator” is a musical improv show wherein a narrator tells a story (aided by the audience’s suggestions) which is then reenacted by the performers on stage.  This is the first Musical Director’s Series we’ve had the pleasure of presenting and we couldn’t be more excited.  Says Director Michael Martin, “rather than doing an improvised musical, we’re doing a musical that is improvised. This means that we’re going for compelling stories with high stakes emotional conflicts to underwrite our funny moments. Audiences should expect a wild ride. Certainly there will be laughter. Possibly there will be tears, and definitely one actor will be in the driver’s seat calling the shots for a completely realized musical narrative.”  Don’t miss opening night, this Thursday at 10pm!

Featuring: Woody Fu, Ross Taylor, Ryan Dunkin, Oscar Montoya, Lorraine Cink, Laura Dlug, Jordan Hirsch, Michael Lutton, Joe Hendel!

More info–>http://www.magnettheater.com/shows/40080-The-Director-Series-The-Narrator

Tuesday November 20, 2012, 3:02pm - by WillyAppelman
The Magnet Theater is excited to announce that we are now accepting applications for the next round of MAGNET SKETCH TEAMS.

Our Sketch Teams are groups of writers and performers who will work with directors to create a run of sketch shows. The groups will write and perform approximately 2 shows every 6 weeks. The run of these teams will last for roughly 4 months beginning in January. Individuals who have completed Level 1 of the Sketch Writing Program and/or Level 5 of the Improv Program are encouraged to apply.  Shows will take place Sunday nights at 9:30 pm.

HOW TO APPLY TO BE ON A MAGNET SKETCH TEAM:
Send an email with the subject line, “MAGNET SKETCH TEAM APPLICATION” and your name to sketchdirector@magnettheater.com.  Include your improv/sketch experience and at least 2 writing samples as attachments (please limit total to 10 – 12 pages).

The deadline for submissions is MONDAY, DECEMBER 3rd.  Apply today!
Monday November 5, 2012, 6:22pm - by WillyAppelman

Hurricane Sandy has caused a lot of damage and made a lot of people homeless. It has been a really difficult time for so many people and I want to do what I can to help out. So I am going to raise money by attempting to coach and teach Improv and Sketch for 24 hours straight. YES THAT IS RIGHT! I’M GOING TO TRY AND TEACH AND COACH FOR 24 HOURS IN A ROW. All money raised from this Marathon will be donated to the Red Cross.

WHEN IS IT?
Saturday, December 1st at noon through Sunday, December 2nd until noon.

HOW DOES IT WORK?
Well, aside from teaching a couple of my regular classes on Saturday, we are offering slots around the clock that you and your improv group can bid on and get coached by me. In those slots we can work on whatever you want. I am at your disposal.

BIDDING
Bidding starts on Tuesday, November 6th at 11 am and will end at Sunday, November 25th at 6pm. Bids will be tallied and winners will be announced on Monday, November 26th after 12 noon. LET THE BIDDING BEGIN!

And on Saturday Dec. 1st AT Midnight there will be a DROP IN CLASS JAM. (Minimum suggested donation is $10 at the door) Groups and individuals welcomed.

And on Sunday, December 2nd from 10 am to 12pm there will be a FREE IMPROV TRIAL CLASS. If you or your friends have been wanting to try improv and don’t mind being taught by someone with a hoarse voice, this is the class to attend.

So if you have always wanted to be coached by me or you just want to see if a man can teach improv non-stop for 24 hours then please join me for The Armando Diaz Hurricane Relief Teaching & Coaching-athon, Sat 12/1 – Sun 12/2. And please help spread the word.

Sincerely,

Armando Diaz
Founder
Magnet Theater, New York

Wednesday September 19, 2012, 1:52pm - by WillyAppelman

Company 29′s newest sketch show takes a good hard look at all things that ROCK.  Not just music ladies and gentleman, we’re talking love, freedom, and some good old fashioned Hall & Oates!  Featuring the Magnet’s best sketch writers and performers, this promises to be one of Company 29′s funniest shows yet.  Rock and Roll is a character driven sketch show entirely based around a beautiful traditional “American” art form – Rock & Roll.

Company 29 is the Magnet Theater’s sketch company in residence, dedicated to producing new and original sketch comedy featuring the Magnet’s best sketch writers and performers.  Featuring:  Mike Barry, Kevin Cobbs, Nick Kannellis, Ruby Marez, Justin Peters, Lauren Olson, Rachel Rauch, Jamaal Sedayao, Jason Scott Quinn, and Rob Williams.  Written By: Kevin Cobbs, Mike Barry, Tim Eberle, Sarah Pappalardo and Jed Teres.  Directed By: Nick Benaquista and Assistant Directed By:  Amanda Ariel Peggy Xeller.

RESERVATIONS:

Friday, September 21st at 7:00 P.M.

Saturday, September 22nd at 7:30 P.M.

Sunday, September 23rd at 8:00 P.M.

Sponsored by SixPoint Brewery.

Wednesday July 25, 2012, 2:19pm - by WillyAppelman

SAT. JULY 28TH- $10 FOR THE NIGHT!

This Saturday, July 28th is a night you don’t want to miss!  All star casts of lady comedienne’s take the Magnet stage to bring you breathtaking sketch, improv and poetry!  For the incredibly cheap price of $10, you’re in for the whole night!  But who and what is it?  Read on Noble woman….

7pm- Lady Liberty Improv:  Phoebe Tyers, Alexis Lambright, Rachel Werbel, Caitlin Steitzer, Abby Holland, Chrissie Gruebel, Ingrid Ostby, Maggie Morris, Melissa Gordon, Lauren Olson, Christina Dabney, Jen Curran.

8pm- Lady Godiva Improv: Christina Gausas, Keisha Zollar, Kelly Buttermore, Ruby Marez, Emily Shapiro, Jen Sanders, Maddy Mako, Amber Nelson, Shannon Coffey, Danielia Donohue, Angela DeManti.

9pm- Kiss Punch Poem: Megan Gray, Kim Ferguson, Bianca Casusol, Sandra Struthers, Angela DeManti, Lisa Flanaghan, Alexis Lambright, Meghann Plunkett.  (W/ All Female Poets).

10:30 pm- Lady Sketch Show!!! Directed by Beth Newell 

Written by: Heather Seltzer, Gwen Mesco, Kate Chamuris, Kelly Donahue, Ali Fisher, Megan Meadows, Stephanie Streisand, Kaitlin Fontana.

Featuring:  Heather Seltzer, Gretchen Poole, Ruby Marez, Robin Rothman, Gwen Mesco, Steph Garcia, Tamara Young, Megan Meadows, Jaclynn Larington, Hannah Chase, Kate Chamuris, Kristy Wesolowski, Ali Fisher, Stephanie Streisand, Jennifer Stokes, Danielle Tolley, Emily Shapiro, Beth Newell, Kaitlin Fontana, Phoebe Tyers.

Hosted by Megan Gray & Kim Ferguson!  Don’t miss this incredibly cheap and hilarious night!  Get there at 7pm and stay til the afterparty!

Reservations Here

Facebook Event

Join us afterwards at Smithfield for an afterparty with special Lady Drinks!

Thursday May 17, 2012, 12:33pm - by catherinewing

The second show of the Magnet Theater’s sketch company-in-residence, “America!” will introduce you to characters that will take you on a journey through our national psyche, and explore the people and things that define and inform our American-ness.  Like baseball.  And Ira Glass.  And immigrants.

So unfurl your flags and crack open a cold Sixpoint beer: opening night of “Company 29: America!” is coming your way this Friday, May 18th, at 7pm at the Magnet Theater.

Dedicated to producing new and original sketch comedy shows on a continual basis, Company 29 consists of the Magnet’s strongest writers, performers and directors. The goal of Company 29 is to create character-driven, thematically cohesive sketch shows with a unique voice.

Sponsored by: Sixpoint Brewery

These are the writers and performers of America!:

Written By: Paul Barker (Horses, Dumbkowsky), Kevin Cobbs (Listen, Kid!), Tim Eberle (Brick, Alchemy), Amanda Hirsch (Think Improv), Beth Newell (Kiss*Punch*Poem, Dumbkowsky), and Jamaal Sedayao (Brick, Turboner Bigote).

Featuring: Mike Barry (Lead McEnroe), Kevin Cobbs (Listen, Kid!), Ruby Marez (Aquarius), Lauren Olson (Chet Watkins), Christian Paluck (Chet Watkins), Justin Peters (Chet Watkins), Rachel Rauch (Leviathan), Jamaal Sedayao (Brick), Jason Scott Quinn (Silver Fox), and Ross Taylor (Aquarius, The Wrath).

Directed By: Nick Benaquista (Lead McEnroe)

Showtimes:
Fri May 18th, 2012, 7:00pm
Sat May 19th, 2012, 9:00pm
Sun May 20th, 2012, 8:00pm

The Magnet Blog interviewed Company 29 Head Writer, Tim Eberle, to get the inside scoop on Company 29 and how the group prepares for their shows.

Head Writer Tim Eberle with the cast of Company 29

Magnet Blog:  How is Company 29 structured differently from how sketch groups are usually structured?

Tim Eberle:  Company 29 is really structured more like a resident theater company than a sketch group; we’re made up of a writing team, performance, troupe, lighting/sound designer, and directing team. The idea behind the group has always been to bring all of these different aspects together to create full, unique, and cohesive sketch shows, based around a single idea or theme. The scripts are generally character-based and written for specific performers, who work with our director and tech team throughout the rehearsal process to bring the scenes to life in the most engaging way possible. It leads to a “the whole is greater than the total sum of its parts” situation, and really showcases the different talents floating around the Magnet.

MB:  Do the actors write, or the writers act?  Are directors part of the group, or do they rotate/change for each show?

TE:  We definitely have a couple of writer/performers in the group, especially Jamaal Sedayao and Kevin Cobbs. They’re great because they know how to write so well for themselves as well as the other actors in the group. And Jamaal can pull from his Brazilian (I think?) background to give the show some diversity. We have one director (Nick Benaquista) who directs all the Company 29 shows. It’s a big asset having Nick direct multiple shows because he’s developed a great sense for the different writing and performance styles we have, and he can use that when he’s working to build beats and work on characters in rehearsals.

MB:  What is the writing process?

TE:  When we first start working on a new show, the writers will get together to pitch ideas for a theme or structure to the show (like setting the whole show in the world of a public school, as we did with PS2012). Once we’ve settled on the theme, we’ll starting pitching sketch ideas or looking at sketches that people have that could potentially work for the show, and discuss which actors would be the best to play which parts. Over the next few we’ll work as a group pitching jokes, editing the sketches, and tweaking the material to make it work for the actors. So it’s collaborative in that sense, but the onus is really on the individual writers to own their material. We don’t write too many sketches together as a group, but we all work together to make sure the sketches work for the show we want to put on. Once we have enough material, we’ll choose the sketches we want to use in the show, put together the running order, and all that good stuff.

MB:  What’s the timeline of putting a show together, from conception to show time?

TE:  Usually about 2 months. We like to have about three weeks to write and edit and then a little over a month for rehearsals, since scheduling rehearsals for a cast this big and this busy is obviously difficult, and we want to have enough rehearsals for each sketch.

MB:  Was there anything you learned In the process of putting together the first Company 29 show, that you decided to do differently for this upcoming show?

TE:  We’re not going to do the character bits that we did with PS2012 this time around.  They were funny as character pieces in the last show, but they disrupted the flow of the whole piece.  This time, we’re following a more standard sketch revue structure.

MB:  Will there be rolling auditions/submission invitations for folks who are interested in joining Company 29?

TE:  We’ve had the same cast for the last two shows, and they’re fantastic.  We don’t have any plans to hold big auditions in the near future, but we’re always looking to add people here and there. We brought Justin Peters on for this show because we needed someone to play a racist ex-minor-league baseball player, which seemed right in his wheelhouse. We’re bringing on a couple of new writers for the next show as well, and are always looking for more sketch-writers who like the style of sketch that we do.

MB:  Why “America!”?

TE:  The idea really came from the fact that for a little while we thought about doing a political theme for the next show. The more we batted the idea around, the more sketch ideas came up that centered on general Americana, beyond just politics. It seemed like a really fun and relatable theme to play with, so that’s where we went. We ended up with sketches about Ellis Island, Johnny Appleseed, Ira Glass, Kenyan marathon runners, and, interestingly enough, nothing about politics. Which is probably for the best. I don’t think anyone really likes political sketch comedy. Not enough silly voices.

Thanks, Tim!

The audience enjoying the show and the Sixpoint brews.

Company 29 is proud to be sponsored by Sixpoint Craft Ales. Based in Brooklyn, Sixpoint is an innovative craft brewery that makes bold and delicious beers. It is also committed to supporting local creative endeavors, and Company 29 is thrilled to have them as a sponsor. For all you craft beer lovers, Sixpoint is having beer specials at the Magnet for opening night on Friday. Drink up and enjoy the show!

Photos: M.Woody Fu