Magnet Theater Blog

Monday April 23, 2018, 3:28pm - by Promo Team

Cartoon poster for Sensitive Men Singing at Magnet

Everyone fondly remembers their favorite early 2000s boy band: Sensitive Men Singing. Lucky for you, you have the chance to see them reunite in Sensitive Men Singing: An Improvised Reunion Show at Magnet Friday April 27th at 11:15pm. We sat down with the members of this iconic group to learn more about the show.

Who are the Sensitive Men of Sensitive Men Singing?

We are lovers
We are fighters
We are 5 men having a mid-life crisis, struggling to recapture our youthful vigor.

More specifically, we are Chris S., Chris B., Brian R., Brian H., and James B.

How did this ensemble come together?

The simple answer is we came together to see if we could harmonize and dance at the same time, and it turns out we can and we want you to see that and maybe laugh with us, or fall in love -or both.

The longer answer is that the premise for the show came from a shared love we all have of the 90’s, R&B music, and the gender constructs that are challenged within that genre and era. We really wanted to play with the tropes and characters we typically see in boy bands, comment on celebrity fanaticism, and then also just get a chance to do that lip-biting/lip-licking thing that LL Cool J does sometimes.

There’s just a lot of fun to be had when you embrace that balance of strong masculinity with the tender vulnerability that you find with this style of music. Add to that, the sometimes very silly lyrics that are sung with a very serious level of vocal mastery -you can’t help but fall for that combination. Just listen to the song “Too Close” by Next. That’s a song about getting a literal boner while dancing with your girl, and it easily topped billboard charts. They were playing that song on the radio -with kids in the car! I guarantee if you play that song anywhere right now, people are going to feel great -and we want to pay homage to that. We want you to have a great time at an improv theater for 7 bucks. (Is that what you guys are charging?)

Sensitive Men Singing has been on hiatus for fifteen years… what have they been up to for all that time?

The men of SMS have had a long and complicated history of being mad at each other, but also secretly missing each other, over the course of the hiatus. They’ve all had full and varied lives; some have had families; some have had unsuccessful attempts at launching energy drink brands. They’ve all had full and varied lives, and now they all need this paycheck.

Who had the best solo career?

Our manager has advised us against answering this question.

What special guests can we expect at the SMS reunion show?

We have the amazing Dan Reitz and Miles Lindahl accompanying us and setting the mood for roMANce and FUNk.

We’ll also have an amazing opening act performance from the legendary SPICE RACK GIRLS:
Ali Reed
Kiki Mikkelson
Lane Kwederis
Kathleen Armenti
Natalie Sullivan

(SMS would like to respectfully ask audience members NOT to ask for autographs. All requests WILL be denied.)


Sensitive Men Singing reclaims the stage with their special guests Friday, April 27th at 11:15pm!

Friday April 13, 2018, 3:00pm - by Magnet Theater

We’re looking for eager improvisers (prerequisite: completion of Level 1) to participate in warm-ups and exercises run by the students in Armando Diaz’s coaching class. All the details are below—but keep in mind that space is limited.  Hope to see you there!

When to be available: Saturdays, April 21st through May 19th from 1-3 pm. Volunteers must be able to attend all sessions!

How to sign up: Simply send an email to schooldirector@magnettheater.com with the subject line: “COACHING CLASS VOLUNTEER APRIL 2018” Please include your full name and verify that you can attend all sessions.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at (212) 244-2400.

Friday April 13, 2018, 11:02am - by Promo Team

As we prepare for summer blockbuster season, The Multiplex returns to Magnet on Monday, April 16th, at 9:00 PM to bring you inside the world of film. We bring you inside the world of The Multiplex by sitting down with director Michael Stevens!

You’re a veteran of many Director Series shows (AIM Big, Moonlight, Hero, and others). How does it feel to take on the role of director?

It feels pretty great! The hard part is solidifying, articulating, and being confident with a vision. The easy part is working with other improvisors. When I’m not playing I can see more, and it makes it easier to play with the form and provide structural elements that play towards respective improvisors strengths.

Everything I need to know about directing improv I learned from Professor X. I think to be good at directing, you gotta love watching, and you gotta know how to encourage people with their own creative sensibilities to use their powers more. Its very much about trust and collaboration and compromise (to a point).

What inspired you to develop this show?

1. I famously hate the movie La La Land, and wanted to see why people let that shitburger into the world. Just kidding. It’s a cute film.

2. My brother had a team out in LIC (Priest and the Beekeeper) that used to use this form many moons ago. They retired it, and I basically asked him if I could use it and riff on it a bit. I’m a big movie guy, and I come from a movie family. It’s essentially my love language. If I had a dollar for every fake movie I talked into my Dad’s face, I could remake the whole Rocky series 4 times, and do a crossover where he fights The Predator.

What interests me about movies now is the culture that surrounds them. Before a movie is viewed, we’re talking about it being greenlit. We review films before they come out, before we see them. We continue to experience films long after we’ve seen them. Our conversations online and in the world affect how the next movies are being made… it’s a whole crazy cycle. I don’t know whether it’s something that should be celebrated or mourned.

As a person who has nothing to do with the professional film industry sometimes I feel like movies have a greater power to unite people and the brighter shared values of a culture. Other times I feel like films highlight our excess. As a film goer and I GUESS as an artist I waver between optimism and ABJECT HOPELESSNESS.

This form is kind of playing with all of that shit.

How does The Multiplex differ from the classic “movie” improv form?

The goal of a movie form is to use improv to show you a movie. The goal of The Multiplex is to show you the entire “culture and creative process of a film.” You see a bit of the movie, but you’re seeing production conversations, writer’s meetings, test screening feedback, reshoots, remakes, reboots, sequels, podcasts about the film, conversations in film classes about the made up film ten years into the future, Oscar wins, conversations where regular people quote the film…. It’s friggin’ nuts as a form honestly.

It’s got a nice mix of the fast and loose play with a bit of grounded scene work. None of it should work, but it does.

I think the thing that I love about it is that as a director, the form is continuing to expand into this kaleidoscopic mess that I have no control over. That’s why I love my cast.

At the end of the show we usually end with a grounded podcast about the film. It’s everyone as a version of themselves kind of just riffing like comics do… It’s tonally the most inappropriate way to end a whole show of crazytown, but I love the weird sense from the audience that they are in on the joke of this made up film… By the end of the show you should feel not only like you’ve seen the film, but also like you’ve fought with your aunt about it online.

What’s your favorite movie that takes place behind the scenes of a movie?

Hahaha. I honestly don’t know… I loved Birdman, because that was closer to Multiplex in terms of showing the “culture around a film”.

But that one was more about a play, so I will pick Maps to the Stars. I thought it was alright.


See all the stars on stage at Magnet, April 16th at 9:oo PM!

Thursday April 12, 2018, 4:07pm - 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.

Lida Darmian of Mama's BoyWhat’s your name?

Lida Darmian.

Which team or show are you on?

Mama’s Boy (Sketch Team) & Fly Gurlz.

Where are you from?

Born in Dallas Texas, raised in Agoura Hills, CA.

How did you get into improv/sketch comedy?

I used to watch the SNL reruns that they would play on E! when I was in elementary school, and I would watch the show as it aired in the mid-90s (I had a cool mom). Was introduced to improv with Whose Line Is It Anyway like everyone else, and my high school had a ComedySportz team (I was not on it). I I went to an improv camp when I was 16, and that was my first taste of it.

How long have you been performing/writing?

I was in a play called “The Elephant Child” in 2nd grade. It was the story of how elephants got such long noses(I played one of SEVERAL elephants). The big Ru-veal was when we pulled off the paperclip that was holding back our accordion construction paper noses, and suddenly we our transformation was complete. Ya gotta love the drama of a mid-show make over.

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

I would love to work with both Phoebe Robinson and Jordan Peele. I love that their work doesn’t shy away from pushing the boundaries of race/what it means to be a minority, and they add humor to it too. I strive to do work that celebrates individuality and doesn’t ignore our differences as people.

Who would you most like to impersonate or write for?

I would most like to write for my friends because I would love to pimp them out in a good way, and I know their voices, so it would be easy. I want to impersonate any diva, complete with full dance numbers.

What makes you laugh the hardest?

I love when anyone is earnestly dumb but still comes from a hopeful place. Also, mispronouncing words can really get me good.

Describe the soundtrack to your life!

There would be some songs you could definitely dance to, something with a great build or drop, some musicals thrown in, and a few songs to cry to.

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

“What’s your favorite and least favorite food?”

Where can we find you on a Saturday night?

Ideally: eating at a really delicious hip restaurant and seeing a movie or show. Reality: probably babysitting or lying in bed.

Are you still upset about Pluto not being a planet?
I wouldn’t say I’m upset, I just don’t want Pluto to feel that it’s experience has been invalidated.
Wednesday April 11, 2018, 1:23pm - by Promo Team

We are excited to announce the next round of the Musical Circuit! 
 
Please fill out THIS FORM to apply to be entered into the lottery for the Spring 2018 run of The Musical Circuit. The deadline to apply will be 12:00PM, Friday, April 20, 2018. Teams will be announced April 23
 
To qualify to be on a Circuit team, you must have completed Musical Level 3 at the Magnet and not currently be performing on a house team. 
 
Circuit teams are created by lottery. Each team will have six members and receive a five-week run of shows at the Training Center. Teams are assigned a coach and expected to rehearse once a week during their run. 
 
The Musical Circuit will run at the Studio Theater at the Training Center for five weeks, on these dates and at these times:
 
Saturday, May 5th, at 10:30pm
Saturday, May 12th, at 10:30pm
Saturday, May 19th, at 10:30pm
Saturday, June 2nd, at 10:30pm
Saturday, June 9th, at 10:30pm
 
If you have any questions, please email Michael Lutton at mjlutton@gmail.com
 
***Please read the following:***
– To apply, you must have completed Musical Level 3 at the Magnet.
– Do not call or email registrar regarding application status.
– Performers are expected to rehearse with their assigned team and coach on a weekly basis.
– Performers are responsible for the cost of coach and space rentals.
Friday April 6, 2018, 11:00am - by Promo Team

Magnet’s newest show, Will They Or Won’t They, takes the stage Monday April 9th at 9:00pm. We caught up with the show’s director Amanda Rothman (Megawatt’s Drama) for some hot gossip about the show!

What’s the format of Will They Or Won’t They?

An expansion! So we start with three source scenes up top, followed by second beats with at least one NEW character, followed by a free for all. The catch? Those first three scenes are all THREE PERSON SCENES. Why, you ask? The inspiration for this show came from the improv game, “Love/Hate Cafe”- a three person scenic game that has you loving one character and disliking the other. So we are starting with that in mind, and blowing it up from there!

How did you select the cast for this show?

I thought about who I wanted to watch fall in love. I thought about who I wanted to watch get rejected. And then I got to askin’!

What’s your favorite “will they or won’t they” couple from sitcoms or other media?

Easy. I like any couple that seems like they actually like each other. For the record, we aren’t going for the Rom-Com genre in our show. We about those relationships with strong emotional connections, be it positive or negative.

What’s your LEAST favorite “will they or won’t they” couple from sitcoms or other media?

Easy. I don’t like any couple that seems like they don’t actually like each other. But for the record, if something Rom-Comy were to happen, well that would be just delightful.

“Showmance” is another classic romance trope. Have you ever fallen for someone you performed with?

Is it impossible for me to NOT fall in love with people I’ve performed with??? That’s one of the best parts of improv- the intimacy of being funny together! I will now list my current comedy crushes in no particular order:
Kristina Grosspietch
Michael Blech
Alex Braslavsky
Fu Goto
Kaley McMahon
Parmita Samanta
Tom Sanchez
Michael Stevens
Paul Ton


See all these crush-able improvisers in action in Will They Or Won’t They at Magnet, April 9th at 9:oo pm

Thursday April 5, 2018, 4:33pm - 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?

Frankie Johnson.

Which team or show are you on?

Milwaukee! (the *new* Magnet Sketch Team).

Where are you from?

Mostly Tennessee (I moved around a lot).

How did you get into improv/sketch comedy?

I was living in Charleston, SC and a friend recommended I try an improv class at Theatre 99 (shoutout!). It was super fun, and I continued studying improv (and later sketch) after I moved to NYC. Three comedy schools and a billion classes later, here I am!

How long have you been performing/writing?

A little in college, but fairly regularly for about 9 years.

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

Babs Bunny from Tiny Toons.

Who would you most like to impersonate or write for?

Impersonate: Bette Davis. Write for: Maya Rudolph.

What makes you laugh the hardest?

Really, really dumb stuff–like people dancing on stilts.

Describe the soundtrack to your life!

A lot of Beatles, some musical theatre, with a dash of ~2000 top 40.

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

“What are you drinking? Is it good?” Cool stuff like that.

Where can we find you on a Saturday night?

Probably at home complaining about the lack of options on Netflix.

If you could Freaky Friday body-swap with any other Frank(ie) or Johnson, who would it be and why?

I would swap bodies with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. I’d really like to know what it’s like to lift someone over my head. Also, he’s a national treasure.

Tuesday April 3, 2018, 12:49pm - by Promo Team

Object Work returns to the Magnet stage as this month’s Director Series show, starting Thursday, April 5th at 10:15 pm. We spoke with director Charlie Nicholson about the power and meaning of object-based improv.

How did you come up with the idea for an object-driven show?

Object Work came together at a moment in my life when I wanted to see the world differently. I was sad and lonely, looking to reconnect with comedy and theater in a meaningful way. I gathered together nine of the most wonderful, inspired people I knew, improvisors who made me feel excited about the possibilities of life and performance and art. We experimented together, developing an approach to playing that honored the many facets of an inanimate object and allowed us to turn anything that was thrown at us into a toy.

Always on my mind were the “performance object” discoveries I made in college, in Paul O’Connor’s stage shop building props for my and others’ plays, and Gabrielle Cody’s classroom, where we once spent an afternoon identifying the formal qualities of a stage full of chairs. I thought of my puppeteer friends Joe and Kali Therrien who welcomed me into their creative world at the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry. They continue their work in the streets and public parks of New York. And I thought of my parents, all four of them, who each demonstrated the strength of holding contradictory perspectives. These people taught me about the power of choosing an approach to the world that is intentionally unusual, to find pride in difference, and to celebrate the coexistence of many possible meanings. I made my best effort to carry this philosophy with me into Object Work rehearsals. I wanted performers to follow their individual instincts, to externalize their thought processes, and contrast with each other in their collaborations on stage. We found it to be very effective to limit our focus to a single object, as the object grounded and centered the group, forcing the group to physically share with each other, even as performances expanded to bizarre, dramatic, and unexpected territory.

By directing this show, I wanted to change the way I saw the world. I wanted to wake myself up, to cultivate a space for magic, to bring my imagination to life, and believe in bigger ideas. I wanted to push forward toward what was possible despite a powerful inclination to reduce my expectations. That was three years ago. Now it is 2018, and the world feels even heavier and harder. I feel more pressure to submit and accept the limitations of a disappointing reality. But every time I rehearse or perform with Object Work, I rediscover an immense sense of potential hiding in plain sight within our unmoving and seemingly inanimate world.

Your show features improv based on an actual (non-pantomimed) object. What sort of objects have been featured in the past? What’s the boldest choice someone has made with an object in previous shows?

In recounting the objects that we have been used for previous Object Work shows, I will also share some of the layered meanings of each object, IE how the object transformed and what it meant to us in the moment. Over the course of a 45 minute show, each object is reinterpreted in multiple ways, sometimes as a character, sometimes as the object that it literally is, sometimes as the physical embodiment of an emotion or idea.

I remember the Christmas lights that became an airport landing strip and the model school bus that changed performers into giants. There was panic when a string of sliver streamers malfunctioned as curtains in a the car wash, a sunflower stalk knocked a grand-slam straight out of the ballpark, and a bride tossed a bouquet of real pizza over her shoulder and into the audience. An abandoned cardboard box became a lonely neighborhood kid’s new house, lipstick was marked on foreheads as repentance ash, and a rain poncho returned from the grave as a ghost. There was even a show in which the performers used my body as the object, lifting me up to the ceiling and at one point using my hands and feet as telephone receivers to call each other.

If you were going to a desert island and could only bring three items you actually own, what would they be and why?

I would bring my deck of Fountain tarot cards so I could tell stories about the future, my favorite pair of magenta spandex shorts, to keep myself grounded in my past ( I have many good memories wearing the shorts), and a coil of rope, because one can accomplish so much with just a little piece of rope, especially on the desert island where I now live. Send help! Or at the very least, check out Object Work this Thursday at 10:15pm at the Magnet Theater!


Catch Object Work at 10:15 every Thursday in April!

Monday April 2, 2018, 3:30pm - by Magnet Theater

We are now accepting applications for The Spring 2018 Conservatory CircuitCircuit Teams are made up of Magnet Theater students, graduates of our training program, and veteran performers. We believe that in order to get better at improv, you need to do it.

 

The deadline to apply is 12:59 AMApril 16th. Teams will be announced April 20th. First rehearsals will be the weekend of the 27th.

 

Circuit shows will begin Friday, May 4th and run for 6 weeks, through June 8th. Shows will be 10PM in the Magnet Studio Theater at the Training Center.

 

To sign up for The Circuit, click this link to fill out the form: https://goo.gl/forms/7jcbIGCDgIFgC6zg1

 

Questions? Just email circuit@magnettheater.com !

 

 

Wednesday March 28, 2018, 11:00am - by Magnet Theater
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 3rd at 7, 8, 9 and 10pm.

Names in bold are new to Musical Megawatt. Names with an asterisk* are returning to Musical Megawatt. Names in italics are joining a preexisting team.

 

**NEW TEAM GRAND**
Maryann Alspaugh
David Barrera
Amy Charowsky
Collin Gossel
Amanda Mayer
Adam Payne
Matt Radlow

 

**NEW TEAM FUNK**
Chris Bell
Natasha Gleichmann
Alejandro La Rosa
Eitan Levine
Amelita Lijek
Blake Rogers
Rachel Zeolla

 

**NEW TEAM RAILROAD**
Matthew Frazier
Ben Fullon*
Audrey Mattaino
Brian Rodriguez
Mel Rubin
Tiffany Springle
Erin Wagner

 

In addition to these teams, Warm Blooded has three new members (in italics):

 

WARM BLOODED
Jon Bander
Woody Fu
Olivia Petzy
Roman Pietrs
Melissa Gordon*
Charlie Nicholson
Ali Reed