Magnet Theater Blog
To celebrate our 11th Anniversary, guest-host Rebecca Robles interviews Magnet founder Armando Diaz about his first dance, marching band, and the power of “no.” Some of you might remember from Rebecca’s first appearance on the podcast, Episode#40, that she’s Armando’s #1 fan, so we thought it would be just so fun to have her interview Armando herself! Here’s to another year of the Magnet Theater and t0 wonderful people engaging in delightful conversation!
Rebecca begins the episode with a special gift for Armando that she found on the train platform. This of course leads Rebecca to ask Armando if he sides with God or the Devil. It’s so profound, you might think that Branson Reese is conducting the interview. Will Rebecca and Armando provide any answers as to whom we should follow?
Truth be told, we don’t really want to provide any answers to any questions you’ll just have to listen. But let us assure you that the following things happen in this episode:
- Armando talks about his birthday being Halloween
- Rebecca asks about first dances and first kisses
- We find out which instrument Armando played in marching band!
- Rebecca makes a very special phone call on air!
- A super important lesson is learned
Truly, this is an episode 11 years in the making. Please listen and please enjoy!
Student Council member and a big wig in The Music Industry, ADAM TWITCHELL, sits down with host Louis Kornfeld to discuss production value, physical comedy, and his indie team EagleFox. Adam compares his two most recent sketch teams, comments on the evolution of the sketch program at Magnet, and even shares some ideas for sketches taken straight from his notes. Finally, he talks about being jobless. This episode with lift you up!
We pick up in the middle of a conversation between Adam and Louis regarding the sketch “Lost at Sea,” which Adam wrote and performed with sketch team, Wendigo.(You can watch it below.) He and Louis discuss writing sketches that have a bit of production value and he walks us through the creation of “Lost At Sea.” Jumping off of on the themes of physicality and stage pictures, Louis asks Adam about his silent movie show and and he talks about how hes a big fan of not only that category of films, but playing with genres in general.
Speaking on tropes and old films, Louis and Adam ponder how to go about writing something original in an era where everything has been done. Adam is now a member of sketch team Student Council and he relates how it is working with them versus his previous team, Wendigo. He also tells Louis how much he enjoys sketches that require a decent amount of research, even if he’s writing about the business of something like the Wonka corporation.
Adam reads some real ideas for sketches from his phone and tells us what he gets from the room during the creative process. He and Louis talk about traveling to sketch festivals and how shows should flow. Having been a part of it since the very beginning, Adam answers questions about how the sketch program at Magnet has progressed since its inception. Louis shares some of Armandos best advice for sketch and asks Adam what wisdom he would impart upon someone who is greener in the scene.
Getting controversial, Louis asks Adam whether he prefers improv or sketch, OR if he loves them both equally, like children. Without giving anything away, we’ll just tell you that Adam recently joined Megawatt veterans The Music Industry and still finds time to play with his indie team EagleFox from time to time. He notes that camaraderie is the #1 best taste to making an indie team great and keeping spirits high. At Louis’ behest, he details the legend of EagleFox’s “Hair Mona Lisa,” which is a part of INSPIRADO folklore.
We conclude this episode with Adam discussing his “quarter-life rediscovery,” his current jobless state, and by finding out our guest’s top five desert island comedy picks.
SUNDAY (4/10, 9pm) Magnet Theater is thrilled to announce a special edition of its weekly show, ‘Kornfeld and Andrews,’ featuring IRA GLASS (This American Life). This Sunday, Glass will sit in with the distinguished improv duo to help kick off a week-long celebration of the Magnet’s 11th Anniversary. This special show will take place at the Magnet Theater Mainstage 254 W 29th St, New York, NY.
American radio personality Ira Glass is the creator, host and executive producer of the award-winning public radio show ‘This American Life’ as well as the editorial advisor of the chart-smashing podcast ‘Serial.’ With numerous other projects to his name, this is not Glass’ first foray into comedy he previously worked alongside comedian Mike Birbiglia on his 2012 film ‘Sleepwalk With Me,’ which Glass co-wrote and produced.
Stand-out improv duo ‘Kornfeld and Andrews’ has been a critics pick in the New York Times and one of the most consistently hilarious shows in NYC. Rick Andrews and Louis Kornfeld have performed and taught improv all over the continent at The Chicago Improv Festival, Vancouver International Improv Festival, North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival and dozens more. Louis and Rick have performed in a litany of highly respected and heralded shows at the Magnet, including Kiss Punch Poem (a rare find… uproarious and heartfelt. Time Out) and The Weave (Weekly Best Of Splitsider). Rick is head of Magnets Education department, while Louis directs multiple shows at the Theater.
Tickets will go on sale Wednesday (4/6) at 12pm EST.
Link to show page: http://www.magnettheater.com/shows/47065-Kornfeld-&-Andrews
New Team Creedence
Laura Yoder Witt
New Team Clearwater
New Team Revival
Von Decarlo Brown
John de Guzman
Check it out! Block Party debuts next Thursday and the fine folks at Broadway World have given it a little write up, which we just love. You’re not gonna want to miss this killer night. Not only is it the debut of Block Party (The Boss, Junior Varsity, The Wrath, Ariana Grande), but it’s also the first night of the April Directors Series: Object Work. Plus, your old friend INSPIRADO caps off the whole Thursday Night Out. WHOA BABY. Make your reservations now!!
Spartan improviser, Executive actor, and director of Object Work, CHARLIE NICHOLSON, sits down to discuss his upcoming Directors Series, harnessing risk on stage, and RuPaul’s Drag Race. Throughout the episode, Charlie and host Louis Kornfeld find a great deal of common ground as they discuss things like ambiguity on stage, forgetting one’s self in a show, and how to approach leading an ensemble. It’s a beautiful episode with beautiful people and how about that pic, right??
To begin, Charlie opens up about his nerves regarding each show and how he channels them into preparation. He tells us why he loves The Medusa and how he seeks to inject something different into each show the performs. Louis latches onto the topic of small moments and they discover their mutual reverence for well-placed ambiguity. Then, Louis offers that works of art may serve as outcrops of ourselves which help us frame ambiguous moments. How philosophical.
Moving from the abstract to the human, Louis asks Charlie about his style as an improviser and they talk about Charlies love for risk-taking on stage. They also touch on Charlie’s favorite thing to experience in a scene partner. Louis makes a puzzle analogy, folks! Charlie talks about forgetting himself amidst a show and the conjuring of magic on stage. What does is mean to play “out of control?” Charlie and Louis offer up two competing definitions and discuss each. Plus, learn how Charlie’s natural curiosity fuels his performance and find out his recommended reading for Louis.
With its upcoming run looming, Charlie passionately shares with us his thoughts on April’s Directors Series, Object Work, which came to him in a dream. He espouses his love for extending ourselves beyond our bodies and bringing life to the lifeless. Additionally, Charlie shares how he approaches directing a group of experienced performers he so adamantly admires and he and Louis go on to discuss different learning and teaching styles. To wrap up the episode, Charlie shares some of his favorite books and media, and of course, he and Louis discuss RuPauls Drag Race.
Please, don’t forget to go see Object Work this April. Thursdays at 10pm.
*Charlie wants us to note that, at time of recording, he goofed on the authors name of Silently and Very Fast. He said “Catherynne Valero” but what he meant was “Catherynne Valente.”
The Magnet is super-psyched to announce that the latest season of Conservatory Circuit is now open for applications! What is Conservatory Circuit, you say? Why, its just like the regular Circuit, except its open only to students who have been accepted into Magnets Conservatory program (Level 5 and above). Its an awesome great way to work weekly with an ensemble and coach as well as get more reps under your belt. We highly recommend it!
Application deadline: Monday, April 4th at noon
Team announcements: Monday, April 11th
Shows: Fridays at 10pm; April 22nd through May 27th
What are you waiting for? Check out the details and apply now!
Questions, thoughts, comments, or concerns can be directed to email@example.com.
Get ready, because heartthrob DEVIN O’NEILL joins us to talk about her lifelong pursuit of comedy, performing for children, and how following your feet is the best! From The Cast to Sketch Teams to Megawatt and INSPIRADO, hear about Devin’s many comedic ventures and how she most prefers to approach scenework. Plus, a cameo from Ed Herbstman and Louis being an old man!
Louis begins this episode pointing out how nervous Devin seems to be. What’s she got to be nervous about? It’s just a podcast! All kidding aside, she quickly masters her fear in time for Louis to ask her about her favorite quote: Dont cry because its over, smile because it happened. On her way to discussing imaginary friends, Devin manages to insult Louis’ age and it’s good fun for all. Laughing off his obviously hurt feelings, Louis wants to talk about Florida, which is where Devin is from originally. She tells us of this odd and, at times, amazing state and then claims that shes wanted to be a performer and comedian since she was three year old! Wow. And the best part? Its true!
Devin has been performing for as long as she can remember and, in adulthood, spent time acting in a children’s theater company which toured throughout Florida. All this before she moved to NYC to do improv and create funny characters. She got into improv thanks to her friend and Magnet House Manager, Bimini Lee Wright, after watching a UCB class show and then seeing *Kiss Punch Poem*. Sorry, 101 class, but Devin ended up taking classes at Magnet. Circling back to childrens theater, Devin and Louis discuss why playing for children is both incredibly difficult and totally amazing. They answer the question we ask in retrospect: How does an improv audience compare to a room full of unabashedly honest children? Plus, Louis provides a theory as to why improv is populated by such a bunch of smarties.
Back to the present, yes? Devin came to New York to to pursue comedy, something which stemmed from her work in Commedia dell’Arte. She tells of about all the different shows she does, plus(!), she’s got a full-time job. Needless-to-say, she has a lot to balance day-to-day and being on stage allows her a central focus compared to the scatterbrain nature of daily life. She and Louis ponder advice for enjoying second beats and talk about innovative thinking versus adaptive thinking, or initiating versus responding, if you prefer. She advocates adding a feeling of inclusiveness to how you begin a scene, no matter what kind of initiation you provide, and as promised in the lead, they talk about their feet knowing better than their minds!
To wrap things up, Louis and Devin wax poetic on The Cast, which for the record, Louis thinks is better than 98 Degrees. Devin tells us how crazy fun the show is and gives a lot of well-deserved credit to their director, Hannah Chase. Plus, Ed Herbstman makes a cameo and Devin talks about being friends with the one and only Justin Torres!!
- Bimini Lee Wright
- children's theater
- commedia dell'arte
- Devin O'Neill
- Hannah Chase
- Louis Kornfeld
- magnet sketch teams
- magnet theater
- magnet theater podcast
- magnet training center
- new york
- new york city
- sketch comedy
- Student Council
- Sulaiman Beg
- The Cast
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The Cast member and hilarious human, GERI COLE, joins the show to talk about travel, her utopian hometown, and how to bring more voices to the comedy table. Geri spends her weekdays working on Sesame Street and her weekends creating one-of-a-kind improv shows with The Cast, so we’re thrilled that she’s taken some time to talk to us about true wealth, her time in Barcelona, and what she loves about her sweet, sweet hubby! Listen in, kiddos.
We gave it away in the intro, but the first thing Geri and Louis discuss on this episode is travel _ specifically about how Geri loves to do it despite the fact that it gives her terrible anxiety. Louis cant pick up and go nearly as easily as Geri can, so asks about the psychology behind having a travel bug. One thing that helps Geri overcome her anxiety and see new places is her love of observing people. She talks about being very generous with her attention and the act of people watching. She then tells of her moving to Barcelona for a year and how her naive by nature personality led her to NYC.
Enough about all the cool places Geri has lived, let’s talk about where she’s from! Geri grew up in Columbia, Maryland, which is a planned community designed to be a utopian town prioritizing racial and economic integration. No joke! Hear her talk about this fascinating and truly inspiring place. This leads into an exploration of the idea of true wealth and what makes a person truly rich. Geri makes up some statistics and, spoiler alert, money isn’t the (only) answer! Louis also asks, can you be “good” at having money? Fascinating!!!
These days, Geri works at Sesame Street (along with a number of other Magnet students and performer) and it’s been her street away from home for seven years now! That fun fact aside, Louis transitions to what he deems the heavy and controversial part of our podcast. He wants to know how we can bring more voices to the comedy table. He also asks, how are we contributing to good in the world and not just adding more crap? Geri attempts to answer these absolutely massive questions from Louis and provides us with some insight into how we might do it. They wonder, is there any real science behind what theyre saying? If youre a scientist, let us know!
Then, out of nowhere, Louis pivots to talk about The Cast! Geri claims the show is so good because theyre having a friggin’ blast up there. Color us convinced! Louis tells Geri what his students say about the show and she admits that what she loves most is how they fearlessly cram for shows.
Lastly, and certainly not leastly, Louis makes Geri list three things she loves about her husband, Andy Mills. Tune in!