Magnet Theater Blog

Wednesday April 25, 2018, 1:42pm - by Magnet Theater

 

Say hello to all of our new Conservatory Circuit teams! Come see one of their shows, Fridays at 10 pm, starting May 4th at the Magnet Training Center, 22 W 32nd St., 10th Floor. YES! Shows run through June 8th.

The Conservatory Circuit features improv ensembles made-up of both Magnet students and veteran Magnet performers. Every week, three teams take the stage and perform the classic long form improv structure, The Harold.

Team Rizzo:
Jennifer Aaron
Pete Morris
Elaine Bledsoe
Valentino Salza
Simon Shannon
Nathan Tillis
Anna Vesely
Mary Regan
Coach: Xavier Padin

Team Cha-Cha:
Maxim Ross
Susan Lerner
Craig Lehner
David Freshwater
Marshall Finch
Jana Heaton
Mari Stein
Christine Lawless
Coach: Pat May

Team Frenchie:
Amanda Melhuish
Joe Diliberti
Greg Iacurci
Aaron Riesebeck
Gillian Kushner
Henry Seifter
Christine Magee
Simon Johnston
Coach: Tom Sanchez

Congrats to the new teams, and be sure to come and check them out!

Tuesday April 24, 2018, 3:41pm - by Magnet Theater

 

We are thrilled to announce the next edition of Musical Circuit! These three teams (Kander, Ebb, and Prince) will perform on Saturday nights, starting May 5th at 10:30 pm, at Magnet Training Center, 22 W 32nd St., 10th Floor. We hope to see you there!

The Musical Circuit features musical improv ensembles made-up of both Magnet students and veteran Magnet performers. Every week, three teams take the stage and perform completely improvised pieces of musical theatre made just for you!

Team Kander
Beth Bowman
Caitlin Doherty
Ankit Singh
Steve Tardio
Nathan Tillis
Stacey Weingarten
Coach: Christine Chan

 

Team Ebb
Jonathan Morales
Dylan O’Keefe
Brian Rosenblatt
Emily Swindahl
Shalini Tripathi
Eva Tsang
Coach: Chris Bell

 

Team Prince
Tara Harte
Adam Keller
Erin Richardson
Denis Sazhin
Elie Stav
Lisa Yapp
Coach: Natasha Gleichmann

 
Come out and watch these great shows!

Tuesday April 24, 2018, 10:00am - by Promo Team

Chris Bell and Jessica Coyle dressed up

Have you ever found inspiration in a Deadline? Magnet’s Chris Bell and Jessica Coyle have, by teaming up with BMI’s Dave Christensen to create Deadlines: a completely original musical show raising money for St. Jude’s Hospital by 6pm on Sunday, April 29th ! No need to for you to rush– we’ve got the details right here before you catch the show this weekend.

What’s a time when a deadline inspired you to make something amazing?

Jessica: When I was living in Korea, I was highly involved in the arts scene there. I acted, did stand up, and ran an improv troupe. While I was touring the fringe circuit doing short form improv in Canada, I became friends with Chase Padgett, an amazing performer whose one man show consistently sold out enormous performances. I had the crazy idea that I would fly him back to Korea, have him do a couple of shows, and book him to him teach musical improv workshops to the expat community. At the time, it didn’t occur to me how crazy it was to take on the upfront costs of figuring out housing, a transcontinental flight, and reserving a 200-seat theater for an international artist. I just decided to do it, and I did it. For some reason, maybe just because I gave myself the deadline and went ahead and did it, it went amazingly well. Failure wasn’t an option, so I didn’t fail. That’s the power of an arbitrary deadline.

Dave: When I was in college for Musical Theater performance, we had to pick a ‘concentration’ for our senior year; basically this meant choose one aspect of musical theater performance to focus on and take more classes in that field your final year. I had realized that performance wasn’t my passion, but I didn’t know what was, I just knew I like musical theater in general. I decided to try something different and make my own ‘concentration’ which would consist of me putting up a show of my own songs at the end of the year. I had a teacher work with me all year, and because the show was required as part of my grade, and had been advertised, I had to make it happen! I did, and found that what I really loved was writing, and to make sure I give myself deadlines ever since.

Chris: Deadlines have helped me produce shows! They help me get my art out there, to try to see if the ideas I have work, if they’re as fun as I think, and to get the work done.

Which Magnet performers are featured in this show?

It’s a huge cast list! Including us (Jessica and Chris,) we’ve got Lane Kwederis, Tori Smith, Maryann Menzies Alspaugh, Ali Reed, Beth Slack, Robin Rothman Taylor, Brian Rodriguez, and Amy Charowsky. We’ve also got Magneteers  Michelle Foor, Robin Rothman Taylor, Frank Spitznagel, and Dan Reitz writing music for the show.

dave christensen in a hoodieWhat was the process of developing the songs featured in Deadlines?

This was an opportunity to get Magnet performers involved with professional composers and lyricists from the BMI Writers Workshop, writers and composes who are professionally producing work for the stage. We wanted the two communities to connect, and we also wanted to give these writers an opportunity to experiment with work they wouldn’t normally put in a show. They wrote these songs and they want to see how they play before an audience.

The process was a three-month labor of love. First, we reached out to songwriters from the BMI Writers Workshop and within the Magnet community. We then gave those songwriters three deadlines: the first, to submit a basic description of their songs along with singer requirements, the second, to send a rough draft of lyrics, and the third to submit the annotated music for our pianist. After that, it was up to the singer and songwriter to figure out staging and rehearsals, building up to our final dress rehearsal on April 29th.

This show will raise money for St. Jude Hospital. What inspired you to get involved with this cause?

Dave: I have been teaching music and dance for 8 years this year, and over that time I have had multiple students diagnosed with cancer. Most of them were between 8 and 15. I saw the difference that St. Jude made in the lives of some of those families, especially in the children with more rare forms of blood cancer that are more difficult to treat. It’s an incredibly large amount of information for a family to intake, and having that expert team of doctors help to sort through it all and find the right treatment was essential for these families and their children. I’m happy to say I saw many full recoveries, which is why I choose support St. Jude and all the amazing work that they do.


Don’t miss Deadlines, Sunday April 29th at 6:00pm!

cartoon poster for Deadlines at Magnet Theater

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.