Posts Tagged ‘new york’

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!

Thursday February 15, 2018, 5:03pm - by Megan Gray

sketch teams logo

Congratulations to the newest Magnet Sketch Teams and the latest additions to Just Karen and Danger Noodle! Thanks to everyone who submitted and auditioned this round. Here’s to a brand new season of killer comedy, premiering on Monday, March 12th, 7:30 pm.

 

KEY:
* – new to team
>Italics – new to program
Bold – Promoted to writer/performer

 

JUST KAREN
Kristina Grosspietsch (performer)
Keith Rubin (performer)
Tom Sanchez (performer)
* Aimée Lutkin (performer)
Dennis Pacheco (writer/performer)
Devin O’Neill (writer/performer)
Carly Silverman (writer)
David Fried (writer)
Elie Stav (writer)
Levi Friedman (writer)
Directed by Matt Alspaugh

 

RAW DENIM

Rachel Robertson (performer)
Matt Abedi (performer)
Shelley Little (performer)
John Graham (performer)
Kyle Levenick (writer/ performer)
Sarah Cassell (writer/performer)
Chris Wade (writer)
Daniel Louis (writer)
Yoshi Saito (writer)
Karina Sahlin (writer)
Directed by Chrissie Gruebel

 

DANGER NOODLE

Gina Cucci (performer)
Matt Brooks (performer)
Alyssa Lott (performer)
* Brendan Goggins (performer)
* Billy Soco (performer)
Jackie Skinner (writer/performer)
Annemarie Cullen (writer)
Lauren Faylor (writer)
Matt Morea (writer)
Rob Webber (writer)
Emily Draper (writer)
Directed by Nat Silverman

 

NEW TEAM TAPATIO

Tanyika Carey (performer)
Michael Stevens (performer)
Janay Bates (performer)
Raquel Castellar (performer)
Randy McKay (writer/Performer)
Francis Fuster (writer/performer)
Caroline Castro (writer)
Gregory Cornejo (writer)
Shenovia Large (writer)
Jennifer Epperson (writer)
Directed by Lanee’ Sanders

 

NEW TEAM SRIRACHA

Duaa Osman (performer)
Kourtni Beebe (performer)
Zak Kamin (performer)
Frankie Johnson (performer)
Gretchen Wylder (performer)
Ben Koch (writer/performer)
Lauren Overpeck (writer)
Virginia Dickens (writer)
Kathleen O’Mara (writer)
Kayte Zhang (writer)
Harry McAlister (writer)
Directed by Michael Delisle

 

NEW TEAM FRANKS

Lida Darmian (performer)
Ladell Thomas (performer)
Chris De La Cruz (performer)
Alexandra Sobrino (performer)
Lorena Russi (writer/performer)
Kate Shine (writer/performer)
Will Cybriwsky (writer)
Nick Wiener (writer)
Jeffery Kitt (Writer)
Elsa Bermudez (writer)
Directed by Johnathan Ross

 

There have also been some exciting changes to our weekend sketch teams, including the addition of The Nitro Girls to Friday nights alongside with The Executives. Check out each team’s new members and see their season debut on Friday, March 2nd, at 7 pm.

 

THE NITRO GIRLS

Leanne Velednitski (performer)
John Ross (performer)
Amy Lynn Berger (performer)
Sam Rogal (writer/performer)
Jesse Mudrick (writer/performer)
Joe Lepore (writer/performer)
Lanee’ Sanders (writer)
Justin Morgan (writer)
* Nat Silverman (writer)
Directed by Chris Hastings

 

THE EXECUTIVES

Charlie Nicholson (performer)
Meredith Burns (performer)
Lane Kwederis (performer)
Xavier Padin (performer)
Elena Skopetos (writer/performer)
Evan Forde Barden (writer/performer)
Sara Kalkstein (writer)
Kristen Loe (writer)
Ashley Glicken (writer)
James Kuo (writer)
Directed by Kevin Cobbs
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!

Thursday February 8, 2018, 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?

Marie Denny.

Which team or show are you on?

SNACKS!

Where are you from?

I was born and raised in London, England, then Chicago, IL.

How did you get into improv/sketch comedy?

I moved to New York 8 years ago as a dramatic actor associating improv with comedy-which felt out of my league. After a few years here I decided to take an improv class to book more commercial auditions so I could be somewhat poor instead of all the way poor. I didn’t really know what long form improv was before that but I was hooked immediately. Sketch felt like a natural progression a few years after that.

How long have you been performing/writing?

Since high school but it wasn’t something I thought I would do with my life until after college.

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

Michaela Coel. Chewing Gum was one of the most brilliant, weird, authentic and original shows I’ve seen in awhile.

Who would you most like to impersonate or write for?

I’d love to write for Robin Thede on The Rundown. The show has a voice and perspective you won’t find anywhere else in late night and she brings a fun energy to our current, nightmarish news cycle.

What makes you laugh the hardest?

Silly wordplay and inventive physical comedy.

Describe the soundtrack to your life!

Well I’m a big old 80’s baby so it would start with some manic 80’s pop and then move into some smooth 90’s RnB. Throw in some Snoop and Riri for good measure.

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

“How’s it going?” Practicality won out.

Where can we find you on a Saturday night?

Probably slinging drinks in a bar dreaming of one day being an old, eccentric hermit.

Would you ever consider keeping a rodent as a pet?

Only if it could do useful stuff like bring me the remote and make my bed. That would actually be pretty dope, I might be into that.

 

Wednesday February 7, 2018, 1:57pm - by Magnet Theater

Training Center Internship

We are looking for a friendly and incredibly responsible person to assist with studio rental operations at the Training Center. This person should have weekday afternoon availability. This internship is part-time for approximately 6 hours a week.
Qualifications:
  • Knowledge of MS Office Suite (including Excel) and Google Apps.
  • Calmness and efficiency are highly prized!
  • Candidates must be able to lift 15 pounds.
  • Of course, a sense of humor is a plus!

Please note this is an internship and not a paid position. Magnet Theater internships give students the opportunity to earn credit toward classes in return for working at the theater, training center, or other special events. Interns typically accumulate credits through regularly scheduled shifts performing various roles, then apply them in lieu of payment for classes at the Training Center.

Please send a resume and cover letter to Amy Morrison at schooldirector@magnettheater.com with the  subject line: YOUR NAME: OFFICE INTERN.

Priority will be given to applications received before February 15th. We will only be contacting candidates whom we wish to interview. Thank you!
Wednesday February 7, 2018, 10:50am - by Magnet Theater

This Saturday, February 10th, is the 10-year anniversary of Peter McNerney and Nick Kanellis performing together as an improv duo! Originally called Brother Bear, the duo went on to form multiple standout ensembles before settling in as the seamless, high-energy, multi-character improv duo we now know and love. As New York City’s premier improv duo, they’ve received some pretty incredible reviews and press mentions. The New York Times calls Trike, “consistently complex, imaginative improv,” that is “reliably one of the best improv performances in the city.” Splitsider.com says that Trike’s “fantastic late night show is upbeat and impressively layered improv that is always worth checking out,” and in the “Splitsider Guide to NYC Comedy Scene,” Trike was named one of eight “Best Weekly Shows.” TimeOut New York declares Trike a “Critic’s Pick” that “melds playful physical transformation and careful scene work in a weekly show that delivers an impressively quick and detailed overlap of events in its conclusion.”

That’s a lot of praise for two guys making up everything in the moment. But what improv magic make a Trike show so unique? Trike has no scene breaks. You won’t hear an audience clap during transitions at a Trike show, because the next scene has already begun. The incredible balance between relatable, heartfelt characters and kinetic, abstract absurdity is like none other. By the end of a Trike show, every scene has proven itself essential to the whole. There’s always a reason these seemingly random collection of scenes find themselves in the same performance. Instead of one trying to interpret the other’s intentions, like a puzzle with only one solution, Peter and Nick see each other as inkblots, eager to be interpreted by the other’s intuition. This creates the illusion of foresight and a feeling that one can read the other’s mind. Plus, they’re pretty good friends. That helps too.

TIMELINE OF TRIKE!

– Peter & Nick attended Northwestern University together, where in 2003 Peter cast and coached Nick in his first long form improv group.
– Peter moved to NYC in 2005 just after the opening of Magnet Theater. Nick joined two years later.
– On February 10th, 2008 – their original duo (Brother Bear) premiered at the Magnet duo show, Ampers&nd.
– They soon launched Statues of Liberty with fellow NU alumni Russ Armstrong and Chris Hejl and performed 77 shows together at the Magnet.
– Trike, the trio, began October 2009 w/ Leslie Korein
– 80 shows later, Leslie moved to LA
– Trike, the duo, began May 2011 and has since done 301 shows on Saturday nights at Magnet.
– Together Nick and Peter have performed in 460 shows.

Come see this incredible duo celebrate their 10th anniversary this Saturday, February 10th, at 9 PM. It’s gonna be a wild one.

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 February 1, 2018, 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?

Brian Rodriguez.

Which team or show are you on?

I’m on the musical improv team Honeymoon, part of Musical Megawatt.

Where are you from?

The Dirtiest Parts of Jersey, NJ.

How did you get into improv/sketch comedy?

I started doing competitive solo improv on my high school forensics team when I was a freshman and loved having it as an outlet for creating characters and following patterns and calling back to earlier beats.

How long have you been performing/writing?

I played Touchstone in an 8th grade production of As You Like It, and have mostly felt trapped performing that role ever since.

I’m sorry, that answer is a little too pretentious! What about: I started playing the trombone and performing in the 4th grade, mostly because I could make it look like I was jerking the instrument off? Is that better?!

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

I just want to be in a scene with Beth Slack again. That would be ideal.

Who would you most like to impersonate or write for?

Neither of those things interest me, but I would most like for more Magnet talent (not me) to write for more Magnet Podcasts ???? There is just such amazing talent here that I wish I could carry around on my phone and listen to.

What makes you laugh the hardest?

That thing when babies are scared by their own farts. It’s such a raw visceral reaction.

Describe the soundtrack to your life!

Lots of Math Rock, Chillhop, and anything Sufjan Stevens does.

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

I’d ask them not to make eye contact.

Where can we find you on a Saturday night?

At home, watching everyone else’s night out on snapchat.

If you could only wear one color for the rest of your life, what would it be? (You can wear different shades of the same color.)

 I’m so stressed out by this question, I may never leave the house again. Gray?