Posts Tagged ‘musical theater’
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!
- Alexis Field
- Ali Reed
- Amy Charowsky
- Brendan Goggins
- Brian Hansbury
- Brian Rodriguez
- Elena Skopetos
- Gina Cucci
- Lane Kwederis
- Liz Haag
- Magnet Musical Sketch Show
- Matt Alspaugh
- Michael Delisle
- Michael McLarnon
- musical comedy
- musical theater
- new york city
- nyc comedy
- Panera Bread
- Public Pool
- Sara Kalkstein
- sketch comedy
- The Executives
The New York Musical Improv Festival (NYMIF), now in its ninth year is making its return to the Magnet Theater this Thursday, October 19 – 22.
Showcasing more than 230 of the biggest and brightest musical comedy performers from around the U.S, Canada and Germany, this year’s festival will feature everything from traditional musical theatre fare à la Sondheim and Andrew Lloyd Webber, to adrenaline-pumping rap battles and Hamilton-esque- style improvised historical “Hip-Hoperas!”
Festival favorites such as Baby Wants Candy (with cast members whose credits include Saturday Night Live, The Daily Show, 30 Rock, The Colbert Report and Broadway’s “Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson,” sensational improvisational vocalist, Mikki Hommel who toured the US and Europe with Dweezil Zappa, and Improvised Sondheim Project (comprised of performers and faculty from legendary improv training ground The Second City in Chicago) will return alongside North Coast! – fresh off their Off-Broadway run at The Connelly Theater.
New additions to this year’s festival include, LA’s award-winning team, Robot Teammate – (creators of #TURBULENCE running Off Broadway at the SoHo Playhouse, ) Your Love, Our Musical , ( who recently appeared on Bravo’s “Million Dollar Listings” ) and American Immigrants, feat. Anthony Veneziale, (known for his work in Freestyle Love Supreme with Lin Manuel Miranda and other Hamiltonians.
Ticket information, show schedules and other event details can be found at www.nymif.com.
Full list of performers…
Baby Wants Candy (NYC), The Improvised Sondheim Project (Chicago), American Immigrants (SanFrancisco), NORTH COAST Presents ANYBODY: An Improvised Historical Hip-Hopera (NYC),Your Love, Our Musical (NYC), The Armando Diaz Experience: Musical Edition (NYC), Robot Teammate and the Accidental Party (L.A.), Vox Pop (Washington, DC), Mansical (Chicago), Mikki Hommel (NYC), Murder ‘Til Death (San Diego), Olivia Benson (NYC), Wonderland (NYC), Hot Mess (Kansas City/Chicago), Good Catch (NYC), ImprovBoston (Boston), Premiere: The Improvised Musical (NYC), PYROS (NYC), IMMIGRANTS, THE MUSICAL! (PART 1) (Austin, TX), VERN (NYC), RoboPop (NYC), After Hours (Oklahoma City), Public Pool (NYC), Bookends: A Musical Journey (NYC/San Francisco), COMMITMENT PANTS (Chicago), Mr. Kitty (NYC), Hansbury and Slack Present THE MOMENT: An Improvised Musical Play (NYC), Oh My Lanta (Chicago), Girls Girls Girls (Austin, TX), Warm Blooded (NYC), James and Then Also Stoddy, Too (NYC), Pitch, Please!!! (L.A.), Grammalot (Pittsburgh), Eastwood (Chicago), SideCar (International Ensemble) and Trudy Carmichael’s Musical Mixer (Las Vegas).
The New York Musical Improv Festival will also be featuring up and coming performers in the NYMIF I.P.O. (Initial Public Offering). Performing this year are Door #3 (Washington, DC), Large Mouth Bass (Providence, RI), Noice! (NYC) and Redshirts (NYC).
Armando Diaz Experience: Musical Edition – On Thursday, October 19 at 9:00pm, a musical edition of the classic “Armando” form which originated at the iO (formerly known as ImprovOlympic) in Chicago. Musical improvisors will work off of the words of a special guest Monologist to create a fully realized One Night Only musical!
Musical Inspirado – On Thursday, October 19 at 11:00pm, the only MUSICAL improv competition in the world! This year four musical improv teams: Warm Blooded (Magnet, NYC), Hot Mess (Kansas City/Chicago), Oh My Lanta (Chicago), Mr. Kitty (PIT, NYC) will each accept one challenge and battle it out for the audience’s approval. Once all of the votes have been tallied, one victor shall be awarded the highly coveted Dale North Memorial Trophy. Don’t miss your chance to see what will be the best competitive meeting of improvised musicals of the century!
SideCar: International Ensemble – On Saturday, October 21 at 7:00pm, a team of improvisers from all over the U.S., Canada and Germany, will come together from their corners of the earth to create an exciting, (possibly multi-lingual,) One-Night- Only, completely improvised musical performance! Directed by Nikita Burdein
Trudy Carmichael’s Musical Mixer – On Saturday, October 21, 2017 at 11:30pm, this late night festival favorite, now in its ninth year, challenges you to try your lady (and manly) luck at making up music with some of the finest Musical Improvisers in the country. Anyone can sign up to perform – even if it’s your first time! Keep your bankroll stashed because admission to the Mixer is 100% FREE! Hosted by Las Vegas Lounge Legend and lush, Miss Trudy Carmichael and her trusty sidekick, T.J. with The Magnet Musical Mixer Orchestra, a 5-piece band led by the incomparable Frankie Keys, providing improvised musical accompaniment throughout the night!
We are excited to announce the next round of auditions for Musical Megawatt!
This season, auditions will take place on Saturday, September 23rd, 6:30pm to 10:30pm, with callbacks on Sunday, October 1st 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.
To submit for an audition time, please fill out THIS FORM! Please note only people who have completed Musical Level 3 at the Magnet are eligible to audition.
Submissions must be received by Wednesday, September 13th, and emails with assigned audition times will be sent out on Friday the 15th.
If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to email Michael Lutton at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We look forward to seeing you at auditions!
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 its not from Kentucky, its 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 shes harder on herself adding that its 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 youre in a certain mood but its 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 Alis 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.
International man of mystery, ROMAN PIETRS, sits down with host Louis Kornfeld to discuss his improv life, his various profession(s), and being a dad who does improv. The Warm Blooded team member explains his proclivity toward using emotion during improv and Louis unearths out some of the reasons why Roman is a person of great intrigue. The topics in this episode range from European walking tours to male-perm quiche parties, so you know itll be great.
We begin this episode with a sneaky little cold open in which Roman and Louis delve into their family histories including a generation that seemed to largely reject their given names.
Diving into the episode proper, Roman divulges that he planned ahead by checking emails in order to refresh his Magnet Theater memory. When discussing musical improv, Roman explains that he has more of a musical mind than a lyrical mind and gives an example of a song about a box. Its the kind of improv that Roman refers to as, speaking in tongues. Louis also shares his perspective of letting yourself go onstage and opening your mouth without an idea.
The two chat about their experiences with emotion on stage and we find out that Romans safe place is going to a highly-inflated emotional state. Louis was uncomfortable with the idea of playing with emotion at first, but now he believes that emotion is everything. Roman discusses his recent struggle with breaking on stage – due to the hilarity of his teammates – and describes his team, Warm Blooded, as an ensemble that creates passionate musicals that borderline on the obscure.
Louis begins to figure out some of the reasons why Roman has the reputation of being a man of mystery.” In addition to working in improv and graphic design, Roman also helps run a European walking tour industry (taking place in Budapest, Prague, etc.). After helping his wife out with a craft idea, they eventually got to be on Shark Tank. Male-perm quiche party is a term that Louis had never heard of, however Roman used it as a way to raise money for a good cause and in turn share a cover story with Slash from Guns N Roses. Lastly, we hear about an interesting taxi driver whom Roman learned a lot about. And thats just the stuff we had time for in this podcast recording!
- Edinburgh Fringe
- European tours
- fringe festival
- graphic design
- Louis Kornfeld
- magnet theater
- magnet training center
- male perm quiche party
- musical improv
- musical megawatt
- musical theater
- musical theatre
- new york
- new york city
- Roman Pietrs
- Shark Tank
- The Donkey Show
- walking tours
- Warm Blooded
- White Umbrella Tours
Actor, director, and Queen of Illinois, KRISTINA GROSSPIETSCH, joins us to talk about her time spent in France, why Freeze Tag sucks, and authenticity on stage. Growing up as a theater-obsessed child and ultimately landing in good old NYC, Kristina shares the story of how she got here and muses on improv, comedy, and interpersonal communication. See Kristina perform each week at Megawatt with Bodywork and listen to her talk with Louis right now!
Louis launches into this episode asking Kristina about her time spent teaching English in rural France. She tells of making up her teaching methods on the fly to see what stuck with her elementary school students. Kristina fondly recalls the ample idle time she enjoyed while living there and wonders if we really need everything New York has to offer, or if we’re better off with simply a good bar, a good friend, and a job to satisfy us?
Although raised outside of Chicago, Kristina did not take her first improv class until 2012 after landing back in NYC following her French sojourn. Growing up, it was all theater, baby! Kristina talks about her heavy involvement in the local musical theater scene around Chicago and then hits us with a HUGE takedown of the classic improv game Freeze Tag. (It’s warranted, folks!) She also admits to being an overachiever and how that has hampered her ability recognize exactly what shell be best at in art and life. Plus, Louis and Kristina attempt to answer the hard-hitting question: Can you avoid messing up your kids?
In the back half of the episode, we find out what convinced Kristina to ultimately give improv a try and she tells us about the experience of diving into a new artform. Louis taps into Kristina’s love of authenticity on stage and asks, given her Megawatt teams’ penchant for the theatrical, what has it been like to attempt authenticity within those heightened atmospheres? They also explore the observation that people with anxiety seem drawn to improv and Kristina and Louis have a major communication breakthrough of their own! To close out the episode, Louis spins a beautiful metaphor and Kristina talks about the Magnet Theater’s Very Own 10-Minute Play Festival, which she is producing, coming to you this March! (Submissions are open now!)
Youthful cast member, KIM BROWN, joins us to talk about training at multiple theaters, Gilmore Girls, the post-election Megawatt experience, and much much more. Hear about her Megawatt team YOUTHS as well as what it’s like to put on a show with The Cast. She dishes about everything from hot celebrity gossip t0 her indie team Free Kittens, so you can rest assured that this episode explores the full breadth of humanity. Listen up!
Welcome to 2017! The Magnet Theater Podcast is back for another year of interviews and, this week, we have Kim Brown on the mic. Kim and Louis begin this episode discussing her writing gig at a popular website dedicated to celebrity editorials and hot hot goss. As he often does, Louis asks our guest how she got herself into acting and comedy. Kim’s origin story eventually lands her at UCB and with her beloved indie team, Free Kittens. We hear all about that, plus, she and Louis share some hot takes on which days of the week are best for taking classes!
After several years at UCB, and following a short break from improv, Kim began classes again at Magnet and had an amazing experience going through a second program. She details what its like to come back to take improv classes at another theater and why it was such a joy. Kim joined The Cast just after completing Team Performance Workshop and speaks here about how everyone on the team brings their own expertise to the show each week. Speaking of expertise, Louis and Kim get to talking about Gilmore Girls! As a Gilmore Girls expert on The Cast, Kim has much to say and Louis, who is only about three seasons in, also weighs in. This dive into the lore of Stars Hollow raises the topic of recreating something you really love and prompts a discussion on The Cast’s weekly process of paying tribute to a particular genre or theme.
If you’ve ever wondered, “Will Kim Brown ever take a musical improv class?” we have the answer! We find out what scares Kim about musical improv and her former love, musical theater. Kim talks to Louis about performing at Megawatt the night after the 2016 election and they wax poetic about comedy’s ability to help us during dark times. Louis asks about Kim’s Megawatt team YOUTHS and they have a rousing discussion about reframing the Harold to make it more fun and how gaining a bit of confidence can make you so much better improv. The episode concludes with a round of Getting To Know Each Other and a once-in-a-lifetime epilogue from Louis Kornfeld. Check it out!
She’s all over the stage and screen and now LANE KWEDERIS joins us to discuss musical theater, audition wisdom, and her favorite moments from working in TV! From the Boston Conservatory to your cable box, Lane has accumulated a wealth of experience, which she shares on this episode as she and Louis discuss her career and life as an actor and comedian. Like Louis, you have perhaps never met Lane before, but you’ll love her after an hour! Catch Lane every Tuesday on Musical Megawatt with Public Pool and on Mondays with sketch team The Executives!!
This episode begins with Louis admitting that he and Lane just met for the first time! It seems as though theyve been ships passing in the improv night for years now. In order to get fully acquainted, Louis asks how Lane ended up as a performer. She talks about studying musical theater at Boston Conservatory and working in theater soon thereafter. So, how’s she get into improv? Spoiler: It involves a casting director’s suggestion and a new passion. Lane and Louis discuss the rigid musical theater machine versus the more welcoming world of comedy. Despite her initial interest in live theater, Lane is mostly working in film and TV these days. Louis asks a number of nerdy, technical acting and audition questions and Lane answers, giving particular attention to comedic choices. This is helpful information for those interested in that kind of work!
Jumping back, Louis asks Lane if she always knew that performance was her life’s calling, and while she says that indeed, it was, she also mentions how she once wanted to be a veterinarian. As such, she and Louis discuss cute animals (see cat above), Lanes playful nature, and the archetypes of children. Lane also talks about the fun of performing in Urinetown as a senior in college and how she really loved the comedic aspects of it.
To bring us fully up to speed with Lane’s acting career, Louis asks her to share a couple quick hits from her television appearances. She tells of what it was like to film on Comedy Central’s “Broad City” and of a parlor trick gone wrong while shooting Netflix’s “The Characters” with Tim Robinson. Finally, Louis asks Lane about the comedy that she writes and creates herself what makes her laugh? and they mull over some best-case Disney princess scenarios.
Plus! We bring you new editions of both Getting To Know Each Other and A Very Serious Scene Opposite A Jar Of Pickles!
- Boston Conservatory
- broad city
- comedy central
- Dirty Dancing
- Lane Kwederis
- Louis Kornfeld
- magnet sketch teams
- magnet theater
- magnet theater podcast
- magnet training center
- musical improv
- musical megawatt
- musical theater
- new york
- new york city
- Public Pool
- The Characters
- The Executives
- Tim Robinson
A star on both Magnet and UCB stages, BETH SLACK, stops by to talk with Louis about her love of opera, how 9/11 changed her career plans, and why musical improv rules. Beth tells us all about her long relationship with stage performance and, how after taking a break from it for nearly 10 years, she came back to the stage by finding improv. She and Louis get to know each other and she does a wonderful scene with jar of pickles! See Beth weekly at Magnet with Premiere: The Improvised Musical, The Cast, and at UCB on Harold Night with Foxhole. Plus! This coming week she performs a live radio play with The Broadcast (10/10) and as a part of the New York Musical Improv Festival with Hansbury & Slack (10/13).
As a fantastic musical improviser, it might not surprise anyone to find out that Beth was originally trained in opera! She first moved to NYC about 15 years ago, three days before the events of September 11th took place. Understandably, her plans to “make it” in the big city were put on hold and she moved back to Ohio. Beth later returned to NYC to study at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy, after which, she stopped doing anything artistic for about 10 years. She tells us all about getting into opera and vocal performance and how she went to boarding school for a year specifically to study voice. With her extensive knowledge, Beth enlightens Louis as to the differences between opera and musical theater. About four years ago, almost exactly 11 years after first moving to NYC, Beth signed up for an improv class and her world was changed again. She and Louis discuss how narrative plot functions in different styles of improv and they mull over the differences between tangible art and performance art. Digging further into improv theory, they discuss the pitfalls of over-agreement in scenes and how its perfectly okay to ask questions. Plus, Louis and Beth play some two-person hotspot and Beth performs A Serious Scene With A Jar Of Pickles!
The NEW YORK MUSICAL IMPROV FESTIVAL by T.J. Mannix
In 2009, musical improv was still a relatively new form. The Magnet had two musical teams performing on every-other Friday – and the weekly Made Up Musical.
Having been a part of so many improv festivals over the years, I thought the time was right for one that focused just on musical improv. When I pitched the idea of the first annual New York Musical Improv Festival, I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
I went to the two musical teams and asked if anyone wanted to volunteer. Two hands went up, Robin Rothman and Melanie Girton. We became a producing team (eventually including Mary Archbold, Lisa Flanagan, and Michael Lutton) and organized the first festival in November 2009.
It was two nights long and featured NYC teams, Broadway performers, and BASH from Chicago – Blaine Swens incredible one man improvised musical provoked the first spontaneous standing ovation I ever saw at the Magnet. (The photo [to the right] is from the Tara Copelands NYMIF All-Star Show. Notice the old wooden chairs.)
2010 included performers from Chicago, Minneapolis and Washington DC, and cast members and musicians from Broadways Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson.
We sponsored our first benefit performance for Gildas Club New York City – featuring our first Tony Award winner (Cady Huffman from The Producers) and Tony nominated guest performers. This has become an annual event raising money and awareness for Gildas Club NYC. We also celebrate the comedic legacy of Gilda Radner with an all-female musical team Generation G.
It also featured over-doing it, forgetting to eat, and not sleeping – as one of our producers was carried from the Magnet office into to a waiting ambulance.
2011 may have over-expanded. It was six nights long and had a producing teams of 16 people. Since then, we have enjoyed a four night festival with three or four people on the producing team and over the years, the festival has featured hundreds of performers from across the U.S. and Canada, and even Australia.
From the beginning, the goals of the New York Musical Improv Festival have been clear:
1. Treat the performers like gold.
2. Promote Musical Improv as a form in NYC and across the country.
3. Promote the Magnet Theater.
4. Feature every performer and their home theatre – even if its down the street from ours.
As the festival grew, so did the musical improv program at the Magnet – from one level to four, from two musical megawatt teams to as many as nine. Other musical improv programs in NYC, Chicago, Boston, and across the country grew every year. Chicago now has MCL – Music Comedy Live – with musical improv shows seven nights a week.
Performers return to the Magnet year after year for the NYMIF, meeting, performing, watching shows, exchanging ideas, talking theatre upkeep and mortgages, arranging to perform at each others theaters – and relaxing at the annual performers brunch.
As we head into our 7th annual festival, we can proudly say that the NYMIF and the Magnet are recognized as national leaders in musical improv.