Magnet Theater Blog

Friday March 10, 2017, 9:00am - 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?

Russ Feder

Which team or show are you on?

The Commotion 

Where are you from?

Long Island, NY

How did you get into improv/sketch comedy?

I grew up watching SNL, Mr. Show, and Monty Python all the time. In the early days of Comedy Central, the British version of Whose Line Is It Anyway? became my favorite show on television. I wrote some sketch soon after college with my old team, The Evil Audubon Society, and took improv classes over at UCB. Later, I took Musical Improv classes at the Magnet, and here we are!

How long have you been performing/writing?

Well, I’ve done musicals and plays since middle school, and I have a degree in Theater, so I’ve been acting for about 21 years, writing for 10, and improvising for eight.

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

It was my dream to be Dana Carvey as a kid, so it would be incredible to work with him. And Paul F. Tompkins is the Funniest Person Alive, so I’d love to goof around on a stage with him. That dude makes me laugh like no one else.

Who would you most like to impersonate or write for?

I’ve done a pitch perfect George Costanza impression since I was in eighth grade, so I’d love to yell at Jason Alexander and have him yell back at me for a while.

What makes you laugh the hardest?

When I see people I know and love perform. If I like you as a person, I’ll respond to a B-plus joke like it’s the funniest thing I’ve ever heard. And I’m a BIIIIIIG laugher. Sorry, rest of the audience.

Describe the soundtrack to your life!

There’s an embarassing amount of Billy Joel, but that’s what happens when you grow up on Long Island. Plus, there’s a steady diet of Punch Brothers, Bruce Springsteen, and, if I’m doing things right, at least one Queen song a day.

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

“Their name, for I am a gentleman!

I’d then promptly forget their name, for I am a narcissist.”

Where can we find you on a Saturday night?

Either at home, with friends, or at a show. Weird time to decide to flirt with me, Questionaire.

If you could choose one animal to go extinct – which would it be? 

Mosquitos should go extinct! Why do we even have them?

Thursday March 9, 2017, 9:00am - by Magnet Theater

Musical Megawatt - Musical Improv

Announcing Musical Megawatt Auditions

We are excited to announce that Musical Megawatt auditions are coming up! To submit for an audition slot, please fill out THIS FORM! Please note that only people who have completed Musical Improv Level 3 at the Magnet Theater are eligible to submit.

This season, auditions will take place on Saturday, April 1st, from 6:30 to 10:30, with callbacks on Sunday the 2nd at the same time. Both rounds of auditions will be at the Magnet Training Center, located at 22 West 32nd Street on the 10th Floor. We will do our best to accommodate everyone’s schedules, but please understand that we can’t guarantee anyone a particular audition time.

Submissions must be received by Wednesday, March 22nd, and emails with assigned audition times will be sent out on Friday the 24th.

Again: Click here to view the submission form!

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to email Michael Lutton at mjlutton@gmail.com.
 
We look forward to seeing you at auditions! 
Wednesday March 8, 2017, 7:00am - by Magnet Theater
Play

 

Self-made chillionaire, MOLLY KIERNAN, stops by to talk with host Louis Kornfeld about working in television, her experiences with group therapy, and befriending all kinds of different people. From bonding with her sister over comedy podcasts to producing an uplifting and hilarious show inspired by her own recovery from an eating disorder, we hear all about Molly’s career in comedy to date and so many other things in between. Listen to this episode and love yourself for it!

We begin the show by talking with Molly about her day job as a production assistant on Hulu’s “Difficult People”, how she found herself there after working on MTV’s “Broad City”, and what the gig is like day-to-day. Molly comments on the surprisingly friendly nature of a TV writers room and how comparing oneself to others can be both a positive and negative motivator. She also goes into her background working with non-profits and how she ended up in television.

Walking us through her leap into comedy, Molly describes bonding with her sister over podcasts and feeling drawn to comedy as more than just a fan. Louis wonders how many people sign up for their first improv class during some period of depression and they both reckon it’s probably a considerable portion. Molly shares with us the experience of her first improv classes and why she invited so many teens to her 25th birthday party. Though not a teen herself, Molly loves the opportunity to relate to a variety of people both on stage and off, and she and Louis discuss being elastic enough with our own lives to connect with others while improvising.

Molly’s ability to relate to many different people has been strengthened by her experience with group therapy, which she discusses at length. Of course, Louis has to ask if there is a connection between improv and group therapy and indeed, there may be. Both guest and host discuss the faulty logic in being drawn to external signifiers in others when it’s typically the internal aspects of our character that bond us most strongly. Molly and Louis also get to talking about “Molly’s Guilt Free Comedy & Ice Cream Social,” a show born out of her experience recovering from an eating disorder. They explore where the fear of being “bad” with food comes from and how to listen to your own body rather than the outside world’s judgments of it. Plus, they consider the imbalance between how much other people think about us versus how much *we think* they think about us. There’s a gap between what one puts out into the world and what other people truly perceive and both Molly and Louis dig into that as well. Lest you worry too much about the judgment of others, everyone is a great dancer, says Louis. And finally, the return of A Serious Scene Opposite A Jar Of Pickles!

Friday March 3, 2017, 11:22am - by Magnet Theater

large_megawatt

Magnet Theater is now accepting applications for the 2017 spring season of Megawatt. Please fill out THIS FORM no later than WEDNESDAY, MARCH 8th to apply for an audition slot. Auditions will take place on Friday, March 10th, Saturday, March 11th, and Thursday, March 16th, with callbacks being Friday, March 17th.

Anyone who has completed Magnet Level 6 is eligible to apply, though please note that a completed form does not guarantee an audition slot. Due to the high volume of eligible improvisers and a limited number of slots, priority will be given to students and performers who have finished the class or performed on a Megawatt team within the last year.

Audition confirmations will be sent out by THURSDAY, MARCH 9th.

CLICK HERE to apply.

Friday March 3, 2017, 10:00am - 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?

It’s Alexis!

Which team or show are you on?

Trouble Town (two words)

Where are you from?

Los Angeles & Boca Raton

How did you get into improv/sketch comedy?

Lane Kwederis is one of my best friends from high school; she’s super funny and strange and she was doing it and I always do what Lane does

How long have you been performing/writing?

I’ve been entertaining the masses since the age of four but I’m hoping to learn some other more practical skills soon…

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

Gilda Radner. Well… Gilda and Ethel Merman

Who would you most like to impersonate or write for?

Chuck Norris or Louis Armstrong

What makes you laugh the hardest?

Fart jokes, cliché, I know, but they still get me every time. Booger jokes are a close 2nd

Describe the soundtrack to your life!

“Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba” which translates to “here comes a lion, Father” ?

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

I’d ask them, “how do you feel about physical contact? And, can I hug you?”

Where can we find you on a Saturday night?

With Knuckles, my fish. I’ll send you guys a picture of him. He’s the best (we’re in our honeymoon phase, still)

Wednesday March 1, 2017, 2:22am - by Magnet Theater
Play

 

Executives bad boy and newly-minted Director of Magnet Sketch Teams, ARI MILLER, joins us to talk all about the sketch program and to share mad wisdom (tight). This episode is chock full of great advice for sketch newbies and veterans alike, as well as Ari’s insight on what makes a team great. Get to know your new Director of Magnet Sketch Teams right here, right now!

Ari and Louis begin the episode talking about Ari’s sketch team, The Executives, their big move to the weekend, and writing theme shows. Beyond Ari’s own team, they start talking about the program as a whole and Ari lays out his ideas for building the program to even greater heights. They discuss how going through the program as an individual is a poor plan and Ari advises on how to be a good teammate while making it worth your while personally. Louis then asks Ari to break down the expectations of different writers and performers and to give them guidance for these varied experience levels.

Hear Ari’s advice on submitting packets, which center around clarity and boldness. Learn how to deftly hit pattern and game over and over again. Louis answers the question, “Why was Phil Hartman so incredible?” Ari also provides advice on balancing when to follow your own ideas versus taking in other people’s opinions. Want some team advice? Respect each idea and respect each other in the space. Be polite, folks! For people who have been working on sketch comedy for years now, Ari offers up suggestions and standards that will help you achieve the next level. To wrap up their sketch comedy discussion, Louis asks Arti what imprint he hopes to make on the program and Ari answers. He’s a polite guest.

Finally, they wrap up the episode by shouting out the March edition of Character Bash which will feature many of Magnet’s great teachers and raise money for East Side House Settlement.

Thursday February 23, 2017, 4:23pm - 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?

Henry Russell Bergstein

Which team or show are you on?

Avalanche

Where are you from?

Long Island

 

How did you get into improv/sketch comedy?

I had gone to film school, but hadn’t been creating much poundsigncontent since I graduated.  I wanted to exercise some of those muscles that I hadn’t been using in a while, and I found improv and sketch!   And I never looked back.  And my wallet hurts…

How long have you been performing/writing?

A bunch of years now.

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

I dream that it is Barbra Streisand.

Who would you most like to impersonate or write for?

John Early.

What makes you laugh the hardest?

Gay comedians.  

Describe the soundtrack to your life!

Snippets of songs–a line here–a line there–strung together and sung intermittently throughout the day.  

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

Who are you?

Where can we find you on a Saturday night?

Anywhere that will have me.

If you were a superhero (are you?), what would your superhero name be?

I cannot reveal it to protect my loved ones.

Wednesday February 22, 2017, 10:22am - by Magnet Theater
Play

 

Improviser and cartoonist, SUERYNN LEE, joins host Louis Kornfeld to discuss the mental complexities of artists, her artistic life, and how discovery is more fun than execution. Hear all about Suerynn’s academic life, both as a student and in her career as an academic advising specialist, and how she found herself doing improv. This is a great episode for artistic contemplation with both Suerynn and Louis offering poignant insights. We think you’ll just love it. Huzzah!

There is no time wasted in discussing light topics this episode as Suerynn and Louis immediately wrestle with the concept of intersubjective fictions and whether or now we are all delusional. They suggest that if you can smile at how delusional you are, there’s a lot of pleasure in exploring the funhouse mirror of your ego. On a more concrete note, Suerynn tells us about her job as an academic advising specialist for the art department at City College. She talks about helping students find the next steps in their education and how she found herself in such a role. Louis asks about Suerynn’s one year in spent in Dallas and she opens up about her first and only frat party before going on to describe her high school experience.

Diving further into their formative years, our pair wonders how much emotional weight we absorb from those around us and how does that affect our early emotional life? Suerynn discusses her parents’ artistic lives and how they have influenced her. She and Louis ask, does it benefit artists to be a bit unbalanced or overly-sensitive? This leads them to discuss isolation and loneliness as it relates to art. At this point, one might ponder, “Where does improv fit into all of this?” You will find out, we assure you. Suerynn talks cartooning, the value of following your own impulses and imagination, and why she was initially resistant to producing images. How do Suerynn’s sensibilities when working alone overlap with her sensibilities when working with a group of people? She and Louis also discuss how boring it is to come up with a concept and execute it perfectly versus discovering the end point on the way there. “Wow. Art is cool,” you’re probably thinking.

Lest you think the back end of the episode brings any less heat than the preceding portions, you will be happy to hear about Suerynn’s father running ultra-marathons, how Suerynn manages downtime, and even more talk on improv. Though Suerynn questions her career as a performer, Louis believes that she excels at being incredibly sincere on stage, something not easily done. Our two highly reflective subjects discuss the artificiality of deciding on goals for oneself, internalized authority, and the myth of an unadulterated self, but that’s only before they get into a conversation about routines, roles, and how time continues to rush forward, providing new things to break you open, goals or no. Plus, learn about Louis’ nightly habit and how to criticize art and measure the value of your choices! Don’t be a dummy: follow @suerynns on Instagram!

Friday February 17, 2017, 9:00am - by Magnet Theater

ANNOUNCING: Auditions for Magnet Theater’s 10-Minute Play Festival!

Calling all actors, improvisers, and people who love trying new things! The time has come to audition for Magnet Theater’s 10-Minute Play Festival!

Yes, submissions are still open for original 10-Minute plays (You have until February 19th at 10pm. More info here!), but we wanted to get the word out as soon as possible about auditions because once this festival gets started — there’s no stopping it!

WHEN ARE AUDITIONS?
Sunday, February 26th, 11am — 3pm
Tuesday, February 28th, 2pm — 10 pm

Unfortunately, if you are not available for any of these dates and times, you are not eligible to audition for this year’s festival.

HOW DO I AUDITION?
Fill out this Google Form, no later than Wednesday, February 22nd 11:59pm EST. In the form, you will note your availability and also send a link to your headshot and resume. More instructions inside.

Please note: If you have limited availability, it is possible we will be unable to accommodate you with an audition slot.

WHAT WILL AUDITIONS LOOK LIKE?
If you have been given an audition slot, you will be emailed by the end of the week with your audition time as well as two sides to prepare. You might not perform both in the audition. The sides do not have to be memorized, but you should be comfortable with them — remember, it’s an audition! You might also be asked to cold read additional sides.

THEN WHAT HAPPENS?
Casting notices will go out within a few days of auditions. Each cast will have two exciting weeks to rehearse and get their show performance-ready! You will be expected to find time for at least 3 or 4 rehearsals in that timeframe. All five plays will perform on both festival dates, March 19th and March 26th at 7:30pm.

If you are not available to perform on both dates, March 19th and March 26th, unfortunately, you are ineligible to participate in the festival.

***

Any further questions can be directed to magnet10minuteplayfestival@gmail.com

(And don’t forget to submit your original 10-minute plays by Feb. 19th!)

Wednesday February 15, 2017, 10:00am - by Magnet Theater

sketch teams logo

Say hello to our 2017 Spring/Summer Magnet Sketch Teams! Congratulations to all who made a team and thank you to *everyone* who applied and auditioned – we saw so much incredible talent – it was inspiring. Here’s to a brand new season of killer comedy and some big changes to the Magnet sketch community!!! Read on.

* – Returning to Magnet Sketch Teams
** – New to Magnet Sketch Teams
Bold – New addition to a returning team

NEW TEAM FRYLOCK
Director – Elena Skopetos
Devin O’Neill Performer
Kristina Grosspietsch** Performer
Lorena Russi Serna** Performer
Morgan Pelligrino** Performer
Keith Rubin Performer
Dennis Pacheco* Writer/Performer
David Fried** Writer
Bailey Swiley** Writer
Carly Silverman** Writer
Lauren Faylor** Writer
Elie Stav Writer

 

NEW TEAM MASTER SHAKE
Director – Chris Hastings
Amy Lynne Berger** Performer
Chelsea Frei** Performer
John Ross** Performer
Sam Rogal** Writer/Performer
Jesse Mudrick* Writer/Performer
Joe Lepore Writer/Performer
Alex Braslavsky** Writer
Justin Morgan** Writer
Lanee’ Sanders** Writer

 

NEW TEAM MEATWAD
Director – Michael Delisle
Adam Pasulka** Performer
Kate Shine** Performer
Tanyika Carey** Performer
Duaa Osman** Performer
Kourtni Beebe Performer
Molly Kiernan Writer/Performer
Francis Fuster** Writer
Will Jacobs** Writer
Gregory Cornejo** Writer
Trumane Alston Writer
Skyler Swezy Writer

 

STOCKTON
Director – Jesse Acini
Matt Abedi** Performer
Andrew Vuilleumier Writer/Performer
Diego Martinez Writer/ Performer
Brendan Goggins Performer
Sarah Cassell Writer/Performer
Katie Sicking** Writer/Performer
Emma Rogers Performer
Sara Kalkstein Writer
Matt Wassung Writer

 

KINFOLK
Director – Matt Alspaugh
Alyssa Lott Performer
Chloe Lewis Performer
Jackie Skinner** Performer
Matt Brooks** Performer
Patrick Grizzard Writer/Performer
Kyle Levenick Writer/Performer
Karina Sahlin Writer
Dmitry Shein Writer
Nick Wiener Writer
Virginia Dickens** Writer

 

TROUBLE TOWN
Director – Chrissie Gruebel
Rob Webber Writer/Performer
Michael McLarnon Writer/Performer
Gina Cucci Performer
Alexis Field Performer
Dana Moore Performer
Noel Salter Performer
Kristen Loe Writer
Daniel Sgrizzi** Writer
Joe DiBella Writer
Matt Morea** Writer

 

**WEEKEND TEAMS** – Congratulations to Dinosaur Jones and The Executives – two incredible veteran sketch teams who were promoted to a run of Friday night shows starting in April!

DINOSAUR JONES
Director – Joe Lepore
Anna Neu Performer
Jessica Taylor Performer
Becca Schall Writer/Performer
Rich Rosario Performer
Matt Alspaugh Writer/Performer
Ben Koch Writer/Performer
Hayley Karl Writer
Nat Silverman Writer

 

THE EXECUTIVES
Director – Kevin Cobbs
Ari Miller Writer/Performer
Evan Forde Barden Writer/Performer
Lane Kwederis Performer
Woody Fu Writer/Performer
Meredith Burns Performer
Charlie Nicholson Performer
Bryan Berlin Writer
Christina Cola Writer
Liz Haag Writer

 

Last, but certainly not least, we want to congratulate our *NEW* Magnet Sketch Teams Director ARI MILLER and give a gigantic THANK YOU to our outgoing director CHET SIEGEL, who has put three years of hard work into this program and built it into something that we are so proud of and incredibly excited about going forward! Cheers to Ari and Chet!!!

Thanks/Congrats/Love,

Megan Gray
Artistic Director