Posts Tagged ‘Improv’

Tuesday November 28, 2017, 2:52pm - by Magnet Theater

A new Megawatt season began last month and, with it, a new Megawatt Director in Hannah Chase! Hannah has been an instructor and performer at Magnet for years now and, in addition to directing The Cast, performs every Thursday with The Music Industry.  We sat down with her to talk about her vision for Megawatt and to shed some light on the woman behind the curtain!

What are a few things you’re excited about for this upcoming Megawatt season?

I think Megawatt is in a really exciting place right now. We’ve got three new awesome teams and three existing teams that got new members. Even for the two teams without anyone new, the excitement of having fresh teams and players as part of the night definitely brings new energy to everyone on Megawatt.

What have you learned from the past Directors that you plan to carry with you to the future of Megawatt?

Oh man, I can’t say enough good things about Louis and Nick (the two previous Megawatt Directors I’ve had the pleasure of working with). Both of them brought such commitment, creativity, and warmth to the job (and to the night in general) that I can only hope to continue. To get specific, I am in constant awe of Louis’s thematic and philosophical eye when it comes to improv, and I deeply admire how much he pushed teams to be thoughtful about the overall presentation of their shows. Under Louis’s guidance, it didn’t just feel like we were doing improv, it felt like we were creating art that actually meant something. As for Nick, I continually marvel at his ability to inspire improvisors to genuinely play with each other. Megawatt can be a stressful place sometimes (unfortunately) and Nick did an A+ job at getting teams to gel, to support each other, and to truly play. These are some big shoes to fill, but I’m trying my best and will continue to!

Is there anything new that you’re hoping to bring to Megawatt?

I don’t think I can really claim this as “new,” but one thing I felt (and continue to feel) excited about is the idea of creating teams with a very specific style/vibe (or even a specific form) in mind. I’ve seen and been on lots of teams that felt like a perfect balancing act of improv styles and skills: a few big aggressive silly players, a few grounding and “actorly” players, a few folks with a sharp eye for pattern, and one or two improvisors who consistently use a wider lens to look at the whole piece in order to tie things together or enter toward the end with a walk on that is so perfect it feels scripted. The right balance of players on a team can create something truly great, and we’ve seen time and again that this works.

I’d heard it said before that it was inadvisable to create a team of players who all played similarly, and this always confused me. I can see that you wouldn’t necessarily want to make a team with eight players who all have the same limitations, but I think a team of eight like-minded (or like-styled) talented improvisors sounds genuinely thrilling. After all, the way we describe Megawatt to current and prospective students is a night in which you can spend four hours seeing eight completely different teams that represent a wide variety of improv and comedy styles. So…I wanted to double down on that! Long story [not so] short, each new team is made up of players with similar skillsets and the ability to play and [hopefully] have fun in a very specific style. Not to say that each team doesn’t have stylistic differences among the players, but we tried to match people who we thought would bring similar strengths, gel stylistically, and challenge each other to further hone those skills!

Who are the new Megawatt ensembles and what can we expect from them?

If you haven’t had a chance to see the three new Megawatt teams, You Are Missing Out. Here’s a little info about each one:

She Wolf was created to do organic improv, and they have taken to it like gangbusters. This is an exceptionally collaborative, playful, attentive team of improvisers. And they’ve been adding one organic skill/muscle/device each week, so the team is constantly evolving. If you saw them a few weeks ago, seeing them again will be a totally different experience. They’re doing weird stuff, in the absolute best sense of that word. Highly recommend!

Drama is the first Megawatt team in a long while to do an expansion. These eight improvisors are top notch actors who all excel at creating complicated, honest, unique characters that will somehow make you both laugh and care! In each show, they weave a web of lovable weirdos (in the absolute best sense of that word) and you’ll walk away feeling like you just saw an excellent, hilarious play. Highly recommend!

Scout is a fast, spunky, sharp-as-tacks group of improvisers doing a Harold. With a flare for the weird (in the best sense of that word), this is a group of truly unafraid and delightfully silly players who will jump on board anything and everything without hesitation. This is an ensemble that knows how to set each other up for success and laughs, and they do so effortlessly and with just the tiniest bit of snark. Highly recommend!

Can you tell us about a fond memory you have from your past as a Megawatt player?

When I first got onto Megawatt, I was horribly insecure and totally terrified (I cried a lot those first few months). That isn’t a fond memory, I know, but it’s true! But here’s the fond part: when I first got onto a team, I had so many people (lots of whom were veterans I’d admired from afar for years) reach out to both congratulate me and also offer up their ear(s) if ever I wanted to chat. I ended up taking a bunch of them up on that offer and was really grateful to connect with so many interesting people, many of whom had gone through similarly fraught adjustment periods when they first got on house teams. This shit is hard, man! And connecting with people who had been through similar experiences and had come out a-o-k was really helpful and meaningful for me. Megawatt isn’t just a collection of teams, it’s a community, and the generosity and support I received in those first few weeks has continued to this day. Sorry, I go sentimental real easy…did you want a funny memory? Once my team, TMI, did a super long tag run in which I got to actually slap each one of them in the face (!) over and over. It was totally bonkers but also felt ok because people were literally tagging in just to be slapped by me, which demonstrated the particularly high level of trust that’s always been present on that team. See, I made it sentimental again. Ugh I’m the worst.

Catch Megawatt every Wednesday at 7, 8, 9, and 10 pm, which two teams playing each hour. $7 for the whole night!

Wednesday November 22, 2017, 1:57pm - by Magnet Theater

Thanksgiving is upon us, which means food, family, and longform improv. This Sunday at 6 pm, gather around the imaginary dinner table with indie teams FAM and CHUCHO for The Feast. We talk to FAM member Michael Stevens about the show.

How long have you been part of the Magnet Theater community?

About 2 years. It’ll be 3 in May 2018.

How is The Feast different from a typical Magnet improv show?

I’m sure it’s been done before but the most fun thing for me about the show is that it’s essentially a very focused jam between two teams with distinct but complementary styles coming together to do something they don’t do. Chucho and FAM are both Spokane focused indie teams, so I thought it would be funny for us to do a big ole monoscene.

I hope I don’t sound like my head is up me ass, but if Chucho is David Bowie, and FAM is Freddie Mercury, this show is our “Under Pressure.”

What inspired you to create The Feast?

I had the idea for a “family reunion” themed show last year because my favorite scenes tended to be family group scenes. Then I saw the play The Humans and that idea sort of rattled in my brain for a while.

Then Fam & Chucho ended up at a lot of the same shows and we all sort of did some form of improv together in classes and one off shows so I basically pitched the idea to Melissa [Chucho], then Megan [Magnet AD].

The form itself is a Monoscene, so it’s nothing structurally groundbreaking. But I think everyone in the cast is a really strong actor, so I wanted to see what we could do with some of the “math” done.

What food, in your opinion, is the funniest?

Spaghetti or syrup sandwiches.

Do you have a go-to meal or food that your normally eat before performing?

Haymaker fries!

Sit down for The Feast this Sunday, Nov 26th, at 6:00 pm!

Thursday November 16, 2017, 10:46am - 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?

Tom Sanchez

Which team or show are you on?

Avalanche and Just Karen

Where are you from?

I was born in Santa Fe, New Mexico, but I grew up in Gilbert, Arizona.

How did you get into improv/sketch comedy?

I used to watch “Who’s Line Is It Anyway?” with my Dad when I was younger, but I really got into when my high school theater teacher spent a semester teaching us how to do a Harold during my sophomore year. I’ve been doing improv in one form or another since then.

How long have you been performing/writing?

I’ve been performing since I was in high school and writing for the last 4 years

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

I would love to play opposite Amy Poehler. She’s so smart and sincere as a performer, how could improvising with her not be fun? I also secretly want to be in a Christopher Guest movie someday. Can we make that happen? He reads these, right?

Who would you most like to impersonate or write for? 

I kind of wish I had a solid Zach Galifinackis impression under my belt, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I dream of doing a Rosie O’Donnell impression one day.

What makes you laugh the hardest?

Moments of surprise or sudden understanding usually get me to laugh, but in reality, I still have the sense of humor of 12-year old me, and a solid dirty pun or innuendo will really get me laughing!

Describe the soundtrack to your life!

The “All Out 00’s” playlist on Spotify. Honorable mentions to the Dangerous Woman album by Ariana Grande and “Despacito” by Luis Fonzi ft. Justin Bieber.

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

“What do you do in your spare time?” This is always more fun than “What do you do?” because most people hate their day jobs!

Where can we find you on a Saturday night?

If I’m not doing a show or rehearsing, I’m usually in bed re-watching Parks and Rec or falling asleep to a David Attenborough documentary. His voice is really soothing!

What animal would be cutest if it were scaled down to the size of a cat?

An elephant, hands down. Have you seen baby elephants? Now imagine that they are always that size! So cute!

Thursday November 9, 2017, 10:20am - 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?

Lanee’ Sanders

Which team or show are you on?

Nitro Girls

Where are you from?

Quantico, VA (where they pretend to shoot the hit ABC thriller Quantico)

How did you get into improv/sketch comedy?

I dabbled in improv in high school and sketch comedy in college. When I moved to New York a few years ago, I figured I could probably trick strangers into being my friends by attending weekly improv and sketch comedy classes with them.

How long have you been performing/writing?

Performing in any capacity? Since middle school. Writing? I don’t know. Aren’t we always writing? I wrote a novella called “The Bear Figurine” in the 5th grade, and even though it’s essentially a rip off of “The Indian in the Cupboard”, that’s probably when I first felt like a writer.

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

Mindy Kaling and Martin McDonagh. What a diverse team we’d be!

Who would you most like to impersonate or write for? 

I think I’d do a really good job writing for Niecy Nash. If you know her please pass this self-endorsement along.

What makes you laugh the hardest?

When a scene takes a dark, hilarious turn out of nowhere.

Describe the soundtrack to your life!

Oh man. It would be upbeat…something you’d dance to. Like Jock Jams meats Jamiroquai meets the song “Fergalicious.” Pitchfork would give it a really bad review.

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

Why are you here?

Where can we find you on a Saturday night?

Probably eating chocolate chips in my bed, half-watching bad TV while trying to figure out how to get pictures of my butt off The Cloud.

What’s the best Wi-Fi name you have ever seen?

Unfortunately my memory is not great, so I’m going to have to say my current one, which is Zamunda.

Wednesday November 8, 2017, 12:00pm - by Magnet Theater

 

We are thrilled to announce the first-ever Musical Circuit! These three teams (Stone, Temple, and Pilots) will perform on Saturday nights, starting November 11th at 9 pm, at Magnet Training Center, 22 W 32nd St., 10th Floor. We hope to see you there!

The Musical Circuit features 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!

Stone
Ann Herberger
Damon Ketron
Randy McKay
Sarah Nisbett
JessAnn Smith
David Tomczak
Coach: Olivia Petzy

Temple
Ben Fullon
Zack Gafin
Noel Hunter
Liz Lasky
Tomer Soran
Emily Stevens
Coach: Sean Bartlett

Pilots
Jeremy Chao
Annemarie Cullen
Kate DeFeo
Adam Keller
Michael Serpe
Tori Smith
Coach: Adam Payne

Come out and watch these great shows!

Tuesday November 7, 2017, 2:37pm - by Magnet Theater

This month, Magnet is happy to welcome back Space Station Delta for the November Director Series. We sit down with director Sulaiman Beg to talk about the show and how he gets his hair to look so good. We don’t really talk about the last part. Come see this show, from one of you favorite Metal Boys, playing each Thursday in November at 10 pm. TimeOut NY thinks you should!

For those who have not seen Space Station Delta, could you tell us a little bit about the show?

The show is a completely improvised live performance of a classic episode from the long-running and very fictitious sci-fi TV series Space Station Delta.

I’d always wanted to do a serialized improv show where performers are challenged to play the same main characters over a run like on any sitcom or other TV show. Expanding not only their personal world, but the world they exist in.

I’d been watching a lot of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and what I loved about it was that no matter where these characters were (a store, a wedding, a bank, a football game) they always consistently acted like the garbage people they are. And I thought, why not do an improv show like this? And I was naturally attracted to the sci-fi genre because it’s the best genre for an improvisor – you can literally do and justify anything. Someone dies? Well, we’ll just pull the Time Reversal lever? Want to start a montage? Hit “play” on the Montage machine.

You’ve done this show a few times now – what do you love about it so much?

I mean, the cast is so, so great. The guest stars who I try to keep in the dark until the day of the show just fall right into place. There have been a few shows where I forgot I was watching an improvised show and felt like I was legit watching a live performance of a scripted work.

When Elana Fishbein guest starred during the first run, afterwards she told me she couldn’t believe how amazing all the characters were. And that was so great to hear. I mean, it was a compliment more for the cast and less for me, which was hurtful, and she and I never talk anymore even though we are neighbors and friends who are adults. Does that answer your question?

Do you have any specific memories of past shows that you’d like to share?

Oh man, so many. But since I typed it a few minutes ago, the Time Reversal lever comes to mind. Basically, a bunch of characters ended up dying during the course of the show and since the Time Reversal lever was set-up earlier in the show, one character pulled it and it re-started the episode. The last scene was almost a line-by-line version of the scene that began the show. That was very fun to watch.

And just watching how every guest star approaches the show is such a joy.

What can we expect from this series of shows that may be different from how you ran it in the past?

There are some new cast members and there’ll be new guest stars all month, so it’ll be a brand new experience and I’m so excited to see what they all pull off. Please “bold” every time I use the word “new” in the previous sentence. Really need it to stand out.

How did the show’s catchphrase “This really hurts!” come to be?

You know, in the two runs we’ve had, I don’t think anyone has actually used it…

Thursday November 2, 2017, 4:12pm - by Magnet Theater

 

Say hello to all of our new Fall 2017 Conservatory Circuit teams! Come see one of their shows, Fridays at 10 pm, starting November 3 at the Magnet Training Center, 22 W 32nd St., 10th Floor. YES!

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 Fred:
Nathan Brown
Michael Serpe
William Hui
Liz Lele
Simon Johnston
Christine Lawless
Michelle Hess
Lesley Hennen
Coach: Katie Mordhorst

Team Wilma:
Steve Ling
Ann Herberger
Janet Lu
Ande Cousins
Sara Parelhoff
Dan Lisle
Tim Canty
Randy McKay
Coach: Benjamin Koch

Team Barney:
Roman Zelichenko
Isaac Jimenez
Lisa Yapp
Kevin Mosquera
Sarah Poirier
Tomer Soran
Perri Gross
Jennifer Dumlao
Coach: Pat May

Team Betty:
Danielle Von Lehman
Brin Snelling
Jamie Genoa
Tina McIntyre
Brad Weiner
Peter Vale
Parker Phinney
Brendan Jordan
Coach: Johnathan Ross

Come out and watch these great shows!

Thursday November 2, 2017, 10:49am - 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?

Samara Breger

Which team or show are you on?

Kittyhawk

Where are you from?

NYC

How did you get into improv/sketch comedy?

I was very sad and living in Boston, which I hated, so I decided to try out improv and aerial silks. The improv stuck. I didn’t get into musical improv until I got back to New York, and that’s when it all really clicked for me. Thanks, Magnet Theater!

How long have you been performing/writing?

Kind of always–I did musicals as a kid and then focused on classical voice and opera from high school until my early twenties, when it wore me out. Musical improv really reminded me how much I love performing. Thanks again, Magnet Theater!

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

Judy Blume.

Who would you most like to impersonate or write for? 

I would love to write zesty little one-liners for RuPaul for when the queens come down the runway. I like to impersonate the devil or animals doing people jobs. I used to celebrate my college’s official annual “Julia Child Day” by terrorizing my friends with my Julia Child impression. STEAK DIANE!

What makes you laugh the hardest?

When my buddies on stage surprise themselves. That look of shock commingled with delight and a tiny bit of terror gets me right in my sweet spot. Also, I’m always tickled when people can’t get through telling a joke without laughing. They’re laughing, I’m laughing, we’re all having a very good time!

Describe the soundtrack to your life!

Short answer: Liza Minnelli. Long answer: LIIIIIIIZAAAAA MINNELLLIIIIIII! WOOO!

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

Are you Liza Minnelli? Oh, you’re not? Get the fuck out of here.

Where can we find you on a Saturday night?

Standing in my kitchen, debating whether or not I want to go to a geographically inconvenient party.

If life were a video game what would some of the cheat codes be?

If you pretend to be confident for a while, it can lead to actual confidence.

Thursday October 5, 2017, 4:04pm - by Magnet Theater

large_thecircuit

Magnet is very excited to announce that the next season of Conservatory Circuit is now open for applications! What is Conservatory Circuit, you ask? Why, it’s just like the regular Circuit, except it’s open only to students who have been accepted into Magnet’s Conservatory program (Level 5 and above). It’s an awesome way to work weekly with an ensemble and coach as well as get more reps under your belt. We highly recommend it!

KEY DATES:
Application deadline: Monday, 10/16 at noon
Team announcements: Saturday, 10/21
First team rehearsals: Weekend of 10/28
Shows: Fridays at 10pm; 11/3 – 12/15 at the Magnet Training Center Studio. No show on 11/24 due to Thanksgiving.

What are you waiting for? Check out the details and apply now!

Questions, thoughts, comments, or concerns can be directed to circuit@magnettheater.com.

Monday October 2, 2017, 11:57am - by Megan Gray

Magnet Theater is pleased to announce the new teams and additions for the Fall 2017 season of Musical Megawatt, debuting this Tuesday, October 3rd, 7pm and Megawatt, debuting this Wednesday, October 4th, 7pm.  We hope to see you there.

Names with a caret^ are new to Megawatt. Names with an asterisk* are returning to Megawatt.

***MUSICAL MEGAWATT***

NEW TEAM ELVIS
Michael Bird^
Amy Charowsky*
Marie Denny^
Natasha Gleichmann*
Collin Gossel^
Veronica Lowry^
Adam Payne

 

***MEGAWATT***

NEW TEAM GOUDA
Alex Braslavsky
Jarreau Carrillo
Princess Gibbs^
Patrick Grizzard
Amanda Rothman^
Keith Rubin*
Ryan Shams^
Danielle Wessler^

NEW TEAM ASIAGO
Justin Anderson
Bianca Casusol
Chris De La Cruz^
Ali Fisher*
Ellen Matthews^
Abby Russell
Emily Shapiro
Justin Torres*

NEW TEAM CHEDDAR
Matt Abedi^
Kim Brown
Alan Fessenden*
Molly Kiernan
Michael Kroll
Devin O’Neill*
Xavier Padin^
Dede Tabak

Some of our existing teams have received new members. Names in italics are joining a preexisting team.

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