Posts Tagged ‘Ali Reed’

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!

Monday January 15, 2018, 3:49pm - by Promo Team

If you love a good musical number, you will be OVERWHELMED WITH JOY seeing The Magnet Musical Sketch Show on January 19th! For a behind the scenes look, we spoke with Lane Kwederis, a superstar performer for Public Pool and The Executives, and the director of this awesome new show.

What comes first, the sketches or the music?

Pretty much all of the sketches in this show are song parodies. That means that they all use music that already exists but with new lyrics. The music definitely came first (since it was written by another human ahead of time) but the writers came up with their ideas for the sketch and either selected a song that would be perfect for their idea or the song itself inspired them.

Are the sketches for this show written first, or devised through musical improv?

All of the sketches were written first by Liz Haag, Sara Kalkstein, Michael Delisle, Michael McLarnon, and Matt Alspaugh. Though we do have many amazing musical improvisers in the cast (Ali Reed, Amy Charowsky, Alexis Field, Gina Cucci, Brian Hansbury, Brian Rodriguez, Brendan Goggins, and Michael Delisle) there weren’t really any musical improv elements involved with the writing of the sketch. The cast’s skills came in especially handy though when putting the sketches on their feet. The great thing about musical improvisers is that they can create awesome harmonies, funny bits, and even killer choreography right there on the spot. It was really great getting to blend the sketch world with the musical improv world. They go together really really well.

What is your all time favorite musical sketch?

Oh man. There are so many good ones to choose from! I would say one of my favorites was one I got to perform with The Executives. It’s called “Dolores and the Secrettes” and it was written by Elena Skopetos. You can watch it here.

If you could cast any famous musician in this show, who would it be and what would you make them do?

I think it’s time for Beyoncé to get on the Magnet stage and use her glorious voice to sing about her farty butt.

How can fans get involved in musical sketch comedy?

Write more musical sketches! They’re so fun! Take a musical improv class! They’re also so fun! The Magnet Musical Sketch Show will actually be paired with another musical sketch show too! The Executives will be performing a musical that will take place entirely in a Panera Bread so it will be a two for one deal on musical sketch shows!


Raise your voice for the Magnet Musical Sketch Show this Friday, January 19th at Magnet!

Wednesday June 14, 2017, 6:30am - by Magnet Theater
Play

 

Musical improv maestro, ALI REED, joins host Louis Kornfeld on another episode of the Magnet Theater Podcast. The conversation hits a variety of topics including living in Kentucky, comparing sports to performing improv, and the pleasures of working with musical director Frank Spitznagel. We find out how Ali is able to balance her schedule as one of the busiest people in musical improv and learn about her ambitious plans for the future of the artform! Huzzah!

Catching us up on her life, Ali tells us that she has had a packed schedule for the past nine months and Louis refers to her as the busiest person in musical improv. They discuss momentum and how it can be helpful to have a full schedule.

In the beginning of the episode, Louis asks Ali about growing up in Kentucky. Doing her civic duty, Ali defines what bourbon is – explaining that if it’s not from Kentucky, it’s not bourbon – and we learn about the importance of Louisville basketball and how it was difficult for Ali to be a fan of their rival, University of Kentucky, while she was surrounded by Cardinal fans throughout college.

On the topic of sports, Ali compares being an athlete to being a performer and Louis imagines that playing sports would be similar to performing improv. Ali agrees but thinks that the subjectivity of performing makes it such that she’s harder on herself – adding that it’s easier when there is a win or a loss.

Ali and Louis take a trip down memory lane to talk about how Ali came to be the hardest working woman in musical improv. On the suggestion from an ex-boyfriend, who had had been taking UCB classes in LA, Ali went online to see if any classes were available. She saw that an improv 101 class has just started registering that night and signed up immediately. She and Louis discuss the solidarity of improv classes and Ali says that she is still friends with everyone from her improv 101 class!

Eventually, Ali found her way to musical improv. A friend of hers said that he was going to do a musical improv class at Magnet to which she replied, “Oh, hell yeah.” Since then, she has been bitten by the “Magnet bug.” Sharing her love with us, Ali teaches Louis about different strategies in musical improv. Louis compares it to regular improv and Ali discusses how performing musical improv is similar to putting on that album that you like while you’re in a certain mood – but it’s much more intense.

They talk about Magnet musical director Frank Spitznagel and his incredible knowledge of music, always able to seamlessly integrate various types of musical elements brought up by suggestions of a genre, television shows, specific musicals, etc. Ali talks about how lucky she feels to have had Frank as a teacher and to share the stage with him.

They explore the bravery that goes into musical improv and how Ali often forgets that it IS brave. She is reminded by it when people come up and tell her “Oh, I could never do that.”  They also talk about the benefits of being located in New York, in comparison to LA or Chicago, because of all of the Broadway folks who are willing to coming sing and perform in musical improv.

Diving further into the artform, Ali wants there to be a more authentic, truthful place for musical improv – instead of just songs about butts (which she also loves). When she teaches, she finds that taking the mundane scenes and heightening them can become the funniest and most touching songs. Louis concurs and mentions a musical improv show he saw that capitalized on those tiny “slice of life” scenes and ended up enhancing the characters’ emotions.

As the episode comes to an end, we learn about Ali’s dream for the future of musical improv. She lets us in on her ambitious plans – stating that she will build her own musical improv empire in New York City.