Posts Tagged ‘improvisation’

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!

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.

Tuesday March 20, 2018, 10:00am - by Promo Team

What’s the best kind of birthday party? Why, a comedy birthday party of course! Jarret Berenstein is back with another birthday-themed variety show, The Fine Thirty-Nine, on Sunday March 25 at 9pm. Will there be sketch? Yes ma’am. Will there be stand up? You betcha. Will there be a party? Most def! Jarret spills the birthday beans below.

 Tell us about your show!

The Fine Thirty Nine is a birthday comedy show! It’s a combination of standup, sketches, special guests, and a variety of weird surprises. Plus there’s free beer!

This is the follow-up to last year’s show, The Great Thirty-Eight. Is it all new stuff, or are you up to your same old tricks?

All new stuff! I borrow a little from the format of The Great Thirty-Eight, but all the material in this show will be brand new, plus there are two standups (Matt Koff and Selena Coppock) who weren’t at the show last year and who are both super dope.

Do you anticipate doing more of these birthday shows? What titles do you have lined up?

I’d love to keep the tradition going if I can. Maybe “Hey shorty, it’s Forty” and “The Fun Forty One”? I’ll need to run those through the committee though.

What are you most excited for the audience to see? 

I wrote a book last year called The Kellyanne Conway Technique and one of the reviews on Amazon was so insane that I wrote a whole thing about it. There’s also gonna be an interview with a special guest that I think people are gonna love.

According to the poster, your show is made up of sketch, stand up, and a party. What’s the best party you’ve ever been to?

One time I went to a bar with some friends and this random woman was giving everybody free food and booze and forcing people to dance and do little contests. Turns out the woman was the owner and the bar was closing for good so she was just giving everything away. It was a real blowout, strangers were dancing and eating together, tons of fun, and then the next day the place was completely gone. I asked some dude where the bar went, and he was like “What? That bar burned down twenty years ago!” (That last part was a joke, but everything else was true.) Hope to see you all at the show!

Watch Jarret party on at The Fine Thirty-Nine, Sunday March 25 at 9:00pm at Magnet!

Friday March 9, 2018, 2:47pm - by Promo Team

Did you catch (and love) Moonlight last month? Don’t be sad to see it go, because it’s not gone—it’s evolved into Gassed Up with Good At Sports and it’s on every Saturday at 10:30 pm! Moonlight director, John Ross, is here fill you in.

How has this group evolved since coming together for the Director Series show Moonlight?

Same group new night and time. The biggest change is now I get to play with the team!

What’s your favorite memory from Moonlight’s Director Series run?

Easily every time the audience and actors broke because the scripted line was a perfect response to the improvised line. The room practically explodes and it’s the best feeling for everyone.

Is it comforting to ditch the gravid water format? Or more challenging?

A little bit of both to be honest. We were just getting used to having to cold read scripts, so it’s a bit of an adjustment to go back to pure improv. That being said, we are having fun just playing with each other, and not having to worry about printing scripts each week, haha.

Tell us more about the improv form you’re performing. Why did you choose this form?

Right now we are rotating through some forms, monologue deconstruction, Spokane, and Montage. We like these 3 because they all give us a lot of freedom given that the team is so big (10 people total). We also want to showcase minority talent and play-styles that don’t often get a main stage opportunity. However, we do plan on doing at least 1 edition of Gassed up in the Moonlight form though.

Out of all of the members of Good at Sports, who’s the best at sports?

This is a very good question. We all are. We’re a group of olympians each specializing in a different event. Like a justice league of comedy and athleticism. We’ve got a breakdown and everything:
Saidah – Zatanna
Lanee’ – Wonder Woman
Essence – Green Lantern
Erica – The Flash (Wally West)
Alexis – Martian Manhunter
Dahlia – Dr. Fate
Nat – Atom
Michael – Green Arrow
John – Superman
Randy – Batman

Feed your car and feed your mind with Gassed Up with Good At Sports, every Saturday at 10:30!

Tuesday February 20, 2018, 10:00am - by Promo Team

Ever wanted to dip your toe into the world of Musical Improv? There’s no better place to start than The Magnet Musical Improv All-Stars Spectacular!, this Friday, Feb. 23 at 7! Creator and director Nikita Burdein illuminates the rollercoaster of fun (and music!) below.

 

The Magnet has a really amazing Musical Improv program, and it’s one you’re heavily involved in. Tell us a little about your experience with musical ‘prov at Magnet.

I first heard of and came to the Magnet Theater because of their Musical Improv Program. It was (and still is) the only theater that has one night a week dedicated exclusively to Musical Improv, complete with a full band, and I wanted to be a part of that. I got cast on Wonderland in 2013 and we are now the oldest Musical team at Magnet. Oh boy! I’ve also been lucky enough to do various other Musical Improv shows at the Magnet including The Made-Up Musical, and currently Premiere: The Improvised Musical on Fridays. I also teach Musical Improv Levels 1 and 2 at the Magnet! So I like it a lot.

I have met so many amazing people through the Magnet Musical Improv Program. They are so talented and have the best personalities and they all have Musical comedy in their heart and soul, so that’s a great creative energy to be around.

This is a variety show! What can we look forward to seeing?

Variety is right. Every show will be different but there’s a few staples to look for.

You’ll see a one night only mash-up cast perform a long-form fully improvised narrative musical. But before they do that, they will play short form games, perform musical sketches and characters, share videos they’ve made, and sing all sorts of types of songs, some improvised and some not. The cast is always changing and each new cast is encouraged to bring something they are excited about sharing with the world, whether its a video, sketch, song, or whatever else.

Can you share a highlight from the first show?

There were too many to name just one. I think seeing this nine people cast collaborate together as amazingly as they did for the first time ever on stage was a definite highlight. Balancing a nine person cast in a narrative is not easy (our Tuesday teams have a maximum of seven people), but they made it look effortless because they are all-stars.

What inspired you to create the Spectacular?

I was amazed by the amount of talent we had performing every Tuesday and wanted to showcase them, their musical improv skills, but also their other creative endeavors; Video Work, Original Songs, Characters. People were doing interesting things and I thought it’d be fun to put them all together.

Then I really enjoy those mashup improv shows that crop up every holiday season, where they put people from various teams onto one super-team, and said let’s do that too.

Then I wanted it to have a little more audience engagement so there’s a short form game in the show.

Then I put other things in the show that I love, like “Solo Spot Songs” and “having a host” and “an element of surprise for the cast.”

Finally, I wanted the audience to get to know the performers in a different way than a long-form piece alone allows. So that’s part of it too. The audience will get to know these players and then they’ll see them perform an amazing Musical Improv Long-form Narrative.

If you don’t know much about musical improv, can you still enjoy the show?

Yes. We will have a host who will introduce each act so no one will be lost. There’s singing and dancing. If you hate singing and dancing, there’s comedy. If you don’t like any of those three things, then it’s not for you.

We’ve heard a scandalous rumor that the name of show may be changing soon.

Yes. The Magnet Musical Improv All-Stars Spectacular is getting a new name. I think it will be revealed at our next show. Something a little peppier, although I do love how descriptive this first title was.

 


Be dazzled and/or bedazzled at The Magnet Musical Improv All-Stars Spectacular! on Friday, February 23 at 7:00 at Magnet!

Monday February 19, 2018, 10:00am - by Promo Team

Did you know they left the word “gullible” out of the dictionary? Okay, maybe that was a fib, but luckily we sat down with Louis Kornfeld to talk about his upcoming show Fact or Fiction, where performers work off true stories from their own lives. No fibs allowed! Reserve tickets for the show, Monday, February 26 at 9:00!

What’s special about improvising from true stories?

The audience gets to know the people who are creating the show they’re watching. I think it’s more intimate. There’s less pressure to create a perfect comedy product when you can step out of a scene at any given moment and talk directly to the audience to let them know what you think about what’s going on.

What’s the craziest story you’ve ever heard at this show, or in rehearsals for the show?

I remember two or three very moving stories, but I wouldn’t be comfortable repeating them out of context.

In the Armando Diaz Experience, a monologist shares a story and then improvisers perform based off that.  How is Fact or Fiction different?

In Fact or Fiction the storyteller becomes a character in the scene. So for example, someone might step out and tell a true story about the time they got an autograph from DeForest Kelley and while they’re talking another person might join them and play Gates McFadden sitting at a convention autograph table. So now that person is telling their true story about DeForest Kelley to Gates McFadden. Any Star Trek fans reading this don’t need me to tell them what a cool scenario that is.

Are there any pitfalls to avoid when performing scenes based on real life?

Not really, other than using taste and judgement. If someone is generous enough to tell us all about a very sad thing in their life then you should know not to come out and join them with your wacky ‘guy who talks out of his butt’ character. Be a human being relating to other human beings. Good advice for any improviser, I think.

If someone tells a story that is not true, are they excommunicated from the show for life?

No, that’s silly.

 


Search for the truth at Fact or Fiction on Monday, February 26 at 9:00 at Magnet!

Wednesday February 14, 2018, 8:00am - by Promo Team

What’s more fun than your average Character Bash? Why, the Character Bash: Duo Show, of course! Double the comedians, double the characters, double the fun! Elena Skopetos and Ari Miller talk shop with us below. Reserve tickets for the show, Friday, February 16 at 7:00!

What’s special about improvising from true stories?

The audience gets to know the people who are creating the show they’re watching. I think it’s more intimate. There’s less pressure to create a perfect comedy product when you can step out of a scene at any given moment and talk directly to the audience to let them know what you think about what’s going on.

What happens in Character Bash? Is the Duo Show any different?

Character Bash is a showcase of some of the best writers and performers in NYC doing solo character monologues for the first time FOR YOU! But backstage the magic really happens as the show starts and the cast gathers to compare crock pot recipes. MmmMMmm baby, daddy loves crock pot. Each month we have a theme and this month we’re doing something pretty special: we’re performing a DUO SHOW! We’ve asked some amazing comedians to ask ANOTHER amazing comedian to perform with them. Let’s do that math real quick: one cast of amazing comedians + the cast of amazing comedians they’ve asked to join = DOUBLE the crock pot recipes! HELL YEAH!

What does performing as a character duo allow you to do that performing alone doesn’t?

Duos can be a lot of fun! Mostly because while we’re all lone wolf comedians, sometimes we like to pretend to be big happy dogs and big happy dogs like performing with friends! But big happy dogs also do not have the patience of lone hunter wolves and obviously we’re very patient vis a vis our interest crock pots, so at the end of the day, wolves we be! It’s also nice to have someone to play off of on stage and brainstorm with in the writers room. My writers room smells like a nice spicy curry.

How do you go about creating a character that is unique and memorable?

Creating a memorable character is legitimately hard, unlike the ease and simplicity of slow cookers. I tend to think you don’t aim to create a memorable character, you aim to have a fun bit. If the bit is fun enough than people will remember and if not, who cares? Either way Daddy’s getting some sweet, slow stewed beets and potatoes after his monologue. Ding dong! Who’s at the door? Why it’s a hot bowl of crock, my dear brother!

If you could form a duo with any comedian/character out there, who would it be?

If we could form a duo with any comedian it would imply that both Elena and Ari Have fused into a single entity. A super comedian. And while our power is to be sooooo funny, our weakness is our grotesque, hideous and mangled physique. So A) we’d have to do a lot of voice over. And B) I don’t know, Catdog? The point is we love characsgstetrtre bshhh. Sorry that sounded weird. My mouth was full of SOME HOT HOT CROCK POT BABYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!

Elena – What’s the stupidest thing about Ari?

The stupidest thing Ari Ever did was that one time he dropped out of Harvard to buy a bird.

Team up with Character Bash Duo Show on Friday, February 16 at 7:00 at Magnet!

Tuesday February 13, 2018, 10:00am - by Promo Team

Has your life been noticeably un-legendary lately? Are you craving an adventure beyond your wildest dreams? Then The Saga is the show for you–and we chatted with the cast to let you in on the influences behind the epic show!

What can people look forward to seeing if they come to watch The Saga?

Randy McKay: Three or more stories in which the through line that connects them deals with an element of the extraordinary and the effect that has not only on an individual and the world in the “moment” but also in generations past and future. Also entertaining object work.

Parmita Samanta: It’s like sitting in your grandma’s kitchen and having them tell a story and then a million family members interrupt it to correct something or add their perspective.

What influences does the show draw on?

Nolan Constantino: From The Epic of Gilgamesh to Jaden Smith’s tweets and everything in between.

Josh Cohen: You’re sitting on a fallen tree trunk. The breeze blows gently. The light shimmers through the woods. A faint rustling as a black bear appears. She moves towards you, timid but curious, almost bashful. You look into her eyes and you see: for all the horrors and confusions in the world, there can be tranquility, there can be peace, the kind of peace you can only call spiritual, that gives life vibrance and meaning. You offer the black bear cashews from your hand. She takes them, gently. Life finds a way, you think. You remember young Jeff Goldblum, and you smile. The Saga draws on this, and stuff from books.

What makes folklore, mythology and history good source material for improv?

Alessandra Calderín: It’s the very essence of our being. The original art form. The ways of old. The tales our ancestors told to make sense of the world. The foremost justifications. It’s the core of us. The archetypal fibers of humanity. Isn’t that what we’re trying to get to at the core of improv? To lose ourself so deeply and allow our unconscious to pull forth and built with one another a story that’s woven from the very thread of the collective? Besides, you know, making jokes and stuff.

Exactly how epic is the show?

Parker Phinney: Picture an open field. Now picture it covered in snow. No wait, the snow is just very very tiny diamonds. Now there’s a giant tree-person taller than Mount Everest marching towards the field, humming the latest Kanye West thing. No, there’s more than one. Hundreds. Quick! Turn around. It’s your whole family. Now they’re fading into nothing before your eyes. You reach out a hand. You have a hoof. You’re a centaur. Millions of fairies swoop in like locusts, shrieking the latest Kanye West thing. The camera zooms out–field, continent, planet, solar system, galaxy. The Saga is at least twice as epic as that.

If you were a character from any sci-fi/fantasy/mythological story, who would you be?

Amanda Corday: As far as fantastical characters go, I’m big on Frodo Baggins. I like to bring his essence with me onto the stage for Saga, and all improv really.

Jana Heaton: My second screen name was “Gollumslover4evrm” and I feel it very much is still the case. #4evrIs4evr.

 


Experience the extraordinary at The Saga, Monday February 19 at 7:30!

Tuesday February 6, 2018, 10:00am - by Promo Team

Do you love sitcoms? Or do you love improv? Are you tired of trying to choose between the two greatest loves of your life? Good news–the Moonlight Director’s Series is here to help! We asked director Johnathan Ross to enlighten us on the show.

This show combines improvisers with people on-book with sitcom scripts. Can you explain how the show works for those who have never seen this style of improv before?

The show is a variation on the Gravid Water form. Gravid Water takes teams and pairs fully improvising players with actors/players on a script. Sometimes the actors are off book (doing the scripts completely from memory) and other times they are on book (holding the script in hand). Script readers have some control over how they deliver a line or when they can pause or break up a line, but the improvisor never knows what’s going to be said next (unless they’ve memorized the script too, but where’s the fun in that?) Our scripts will all be from sitcoms from the 50s to the 90s.

Where did the name of the show come from?

The name comes from the music video for the Jay-Z song Moonlight, which was inspired by the closing events of the 2017 Academy Awards.

How did you come up with the idea to blend sitcoms and improv?

Like the music video of the same name I wanted to take the idea of taking well known sitcoms and showing people of color in similar roles. However because of the nature of the form we get to be even more creative within these sitcom worlds as only one person is bound to a script.

Who’s in the show and did you choose performers based on their level of sitcom fandom?

Oh we have a wonderful cast. Our full roster:

  • Laneé Shawntel Sanders
  • Essence Stewart
  • Alexis Lambright
  • Saidah Dunston
  • Erica Johnson
  • Dahlia Ramsay
  • Rama Orleans-Lindsay
  • Randy McKay
  • Michael Stevens
  • Nat Trammell

And everyone was selected solely on their sitcom fandom and nothing else haha. Here are a few of our favorites: Parks & Rec, Arrested Development, Party Down, Living Single, Family Matter, Fresh Prince, Fraiser, and Community.

What are some of the sitcom scripts you may be using?

You’ll be able to find everything from Leave it to Beaver and I Love Lucy to Friends and Seinfeld! Maybe some Growing Pains, Who’s the Boss, Three’s Company, even the Facts of Life! We’re spanning the decades from the 50s to the 90s. One thing I will add is that the audience will have a hand in picking the scripts for each show!

Will there be a laugh track?

Maybe some “woo” tracks, but this show will be filmed in front of a live studio audience ;).

 


Be on- or off-book for Moonlight, February 1, 8, 15, & 21 at 10:00 at Magnet!

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.

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