Posts Tagged ‘nyc comedy’
Ah, love. The greatest and worst romcoms of all time have pondered it, from You’ve Got Mail to Crazy Stupid Love and, yes, even 27 Dresses. For all you shippers out there, Ari Miller and Bryan Berlin are here to assuage your yearnings, longings and meaningful glances with their new show Love Stories, on Monday June 25 at 9. It may not be February 14, but Ari and Bryan are here to meditate on the meaning of l-o-v-e with us.
Why make a show about love stories?
Did the ghost of Nora Ephron…ghostwrite this show?
We’ve been sending Nora e-mails back and forth for many months now. Although at first we didn’t know it was her and it was awkward because the huge rom com retail chain we run was going to put her indie rom com out of business. So unfortunately she’s not helping out with the show, but we do have a few talented writers and storytellers who are going to be contributing!
Your show features animation! Tell us a little about that.
Ari spent 11 years and $250,000.00 learning traditional animation and cartoon theory in MIT’s controversial “not engineering” department. Then he found a 5 dollar stop motion app and he used that to make an animated backdrop for his stories. Basically, as we read the stories there will be moving illustrations behind the performers. Like a picture book but by all dead and lifeless! Ugh! Lame! Still paintings suck! There will also be special guests reading for some of the characters and while we don’t want you give anything away, one of the guests will be Ashley Glicken.
You don’t have to give it away, but what’s your favorite story in the show?
Well we already gave away the story of how we met, but if you come to the show you may be able to see it played out over 3 acts with the final scene of us kissing in the rain. But we’re both excited to have some of our talented friends share some of their stories about love and loving stories in this show.
Fall in or out of love with Love Stories, Monday June 25 at 9!
What is love? It’s certainly strange, perhaps the most confusing human emotion of all time. Do you like me, yes or no? Will they or won’t they? Do you love me? Will you make me the happiest person in the world?? The new sketch show Love Is Strange is here to explore all the questions, concerns and strangeness that love entails. Nick Pappas is our romantic compass–and you can catch Love Is Strange at Magnet on Sundays June 11 & 24 at 6:00.
What’s your show all about? Are we gonna see sketches or more of a cohesive play?
Our show is a series of sketches that talks about love and relationships in all their unusual forms.
What kinds of strangeness can the audience look forward to seeing?
The audience will get to see love at first sight in Penn Station, dealing with exes in a galaxy far, far away, and what happens when the love story is over and the cameras are shut off. Also, there’s a really cool guy named Matt Canonie. You’ll see.
Love Is Strange is coming out of the Sketch Directing Lab. How did the lab shape your process?
Have you heard the song “Love Is Strange” from the TV show Galavant? (It’s on Netflix and seriously, you should check it out.) “Love is straaaange and sometimes kinda gross, it’s embarrassingly gassy….”
I hadn’t heard the song until you mentioned it, but it’s great! I think you’ll see similar ideas in the show.
Don’t miss Love Is Strange, Sunday June 17 & 24 at 6:00, only at Magnet!
Prepare to laugh. Prepare to cry. Prepare to be up. Prepare to be down. Prepare to be amazed. Confused? That’s because no one can prepare for the zigzag of feels that is The Melodrama, showing Monday June 11 at 9:00! Here’s what light director Jana Heaton has to shed on the journey ahead.
What’s The Melodrama going to be like?
Over the top but not too much, you know? You know.
How high are the highs? How low are the lows? Will Jane and Rafael (Jane the Virgin) ever get their happily ever after?
Like a double chocolate, cold brew, molly-topped milkshake, we’ll leave you feeling bad all week but wanting more. Like I said, over the top but not too much.
You’ve done this show once before. Did the original run inform this newest edition?
Yes, I cut Ann Ziata. Just kidding. But she won’t be in the next show. Also, I realized I could mess with the cast via the lighting design. So, looking forward to that on Monday, June 11th at 9pm.
You guys are recommended by TimeOutNY???
Yes, we’re an important show. A very important show. Full of very funny improvisers creating impactful comedy. If you’ve read this far, you should probably come see what I mean on Monday, June 11th at 9pm. [NOTE: We’re also recommended by the instagram account, @janaheaton.]
Can we expect Lorde to make an appearance?
Slid into her DMs. Awaiting response.
Ride the roller coaster of emotion at The Melodrama, June 11 at 9:00pm!
If you’re asking yourself, where’s a good show for a gambler, a risk-taker, someone who knows when to hold ’em and knows when to fold ’em, whose boots are made for walkin’ and that’s just what they’ll do, look no further than Results May Vary, Saturday June 9 & 16 at 6! After all, the only constant in life is change. Desmond Thorne is here to help us get comfortable living in the uncertainty of it all!
Tell us about your show!
The show features a mix of performers with a sketch comedy background, and some with a theater background. It’s about half and half! I did this because I want to see how the worlds of sketch and theater can meld together in terms of writing and in terms of performance. I think two things that can really take a sketch show to the next level are specificity of environment and specificity of performance! I believe this special group of people can achieve both!
According to the ‘recipe‘ for the show, we can expect political satire, puns, and musical panache–anything else?
Along with these other elements in the “recipe”, you can expect to see a lot of Blackout sketches! I think Blackouts can really amp up the energy of the show and our writers wrote some really excellent ones! I also love to play with visual and auditory comedy in sketch shows, so expect to see and hear some of that!
Okay, we know they may vary, but what sort of results can be expected?
Whatever the results may be, they will be fun and high energy! Along with seeing how much theater we can get into a sketch show, I’d love to see if we can never drop the ball and keep the energy super high and fun for the entire 30 mins of the show!
How much of an influence did the Sketch Directing Lab have on the final product?
The Sketch Directing Lab greatly influenced the final product of the show. We were shown sketch shows from Second City in Chicago, and many of their ideas on how to approach a sketch show go along with my theatrical instincts that I’ve gathered since high school. The Lab also gave me and everyone else in the class a freedom of voice that I don’t think we get to experience very often, which leads to a lot of experimentation that you don’t usually see on the NYC comedy stage!
Have you ever found inspiration in a Deadline? Magnet’s Chris Bell and Jessica Coyle have, by teaming up with BMI’s Dave Christensen to create Deadlines: a completely original musical show raising money for St. Jude’s Hospital by 6pm on Sunday, April 29th ! No need to for you to rush– we’ve got the details right here before you catch the show this weekend.
What’s a time when a deadline inspired you to make something amazing?
Jessica: When I was living in Korea, I was highly involved in the arts scene there. I acted, did stand up, and ran an improv troupe. While I was touring the fringe circuit doing short form improv in Canada, I became friends with Chase Padgett, an amazing performer whose one man show consistently sold out enormous performances. I had the crazy idea that I would fly him back to Korea, have him do a couple of shows, and book him to him teach musical improv workshops to the expat community. At the time, it didn’t occur to me how crazy it was to take on the upfront costs of figuring out housing, a transcontinental flight, and reserving a 200-seat theater for an international artist. I just decided to do it, and I did it. For some reason, maybe just because I gave myself the deadline and went ahead and did it, it went amazingly well. Failure wasn’t an option, so I didn’t fail. That’s the power of an arbitrary deadline.
Dave: When I was in college for Musical Theater performance, we had to pick a ‘concentration’ for our senior year; basically this meant choose one aspect of musical theater performance to focus on and take more classes in that field your final year. I had realized that performance wasn’t my passion, but I didn’t know what was, I just knew I like musical theater in general. I decided to try something different and make my own ‘concentration’ which would consist of me putting up a show of my own songs at the end of the year. I had a teacher work with me all year, and because the show was required as part of my grade, and had been advertised, I had to make it happen! I did, and found that what I really loved was writing, and to make sure I give myself deadlines ever since.
Chris: Deadlines have helped me produce shows! They help me get my art out there, to try to see if the ideas I have work, if they’re as fun as I think, and to get the work done.
Which Magnet performers are featured in this show?
It’s a huge cast list! Including us (Jessica and Chris,) we’ve got Lane Kwederis, Tori Smith, Maryann Menzies Alspaugh, Ali Reed, Beth Slack, Robin Rothman Taylor, Brian Rodriguez, and Amy Charowsky. We’ve also got Magneteers Michelle Foor, Robin Rothman Taylor, Frank Spitznagel, and Dan Reitz writing music for the show.
What was the process of developing the songs featured in Deadlines?
This was an opportunity to get Magnet performers involved with professional composers and lyricists from the BMI Writers Workshop, writers and composes who are professionally producing work for the stage. We wanted the two communities to connect, and we also wanted to give these writers an opportunity to experiment with work they wouldn’t normally put in a show. They wrote these songs and they want to see how they play before an audience.
The process was a three-month labor of love. First, we reached out to songwriters from the BMI Writers Workshop and within the Magnet community. We then gave those songwriters three deadlines: the first, to submit a basic description of their songs along with singer requirements, the second, to send a rough draft of lyrics, and the third to submit the annotated music for our pianist. After that, it was up to the singer and songwriter to figure out staging and rehearsals, building up to our final dress rehearsal on April 29th.
This show will raise money for St. Jude Hospital. What inspired you to get involved with this cause?
Dave: I have been teaching music and dance for 8 years this year, and over that time I have had multiple students diagnosed with cancer. Most of them were between 8 and 15. I saw the difference that St. Jude made in the lives of some of those families, especially in the children with more rare forms of blood cancer that are more difficult to treat. It’s an incredibly large amount of information for a family to intake, and having that expert team of doctors help to sort through it all and find the right treatment was essential for these families and their children. I’m happy to say I saw many full recoveries, which is why I choose support St. Jude and all the amazing work that they do.
Don’t miss Deadlines, Sunday April 29th at 6:00pm!
- Ali Reed
- Amy Charowsky
- Beth Slack
- BMI Musical Theater Workshop
- Brian Rodriguez
- chris bell
- Dan Reitz
- Dave Christensen
- Frank Spitznagel
- Jessica Coyle
- Lane Kwederis
- Maryann Menzies Alspaugh
- Michelle Foor
- musical comedy
- new york city
- nyc comedy
- Robin Rothman Taylor
- St. Judes
- Tori Smith
Everyone fondly remembers their favorite early 2000s boy band: Sensitive Men Singing. Lucky for you, you have the chance to see them reunite in Sensitive Men Singing: An Improvised Reunion Show at Magnet Friday April 27th at 11:15pm. We sat down with the members of this iconic group to learn more about the show.
Who are the Sensitive Men of Sensitive Men Singing?
We are lovers
We are fighters
We are 5 men having a mid-life crisis, struggling to recapture our youthful vigor.
More specifically, we are Chris S., Chris B., Brian R., Brian H., and James B.
How did this ensemble come together?
The simple answer is we came together to see if we could harmonize and dance at the same time, and it turns out we can and we want you to see that and maybe laugh with us, or fall in love -or both.
The longer answer is that the premise for the show came from a shared love we all have of the 90’s, R&B music, and the gender constructs that are challenged within that genre and era. We really wanted to play with the tropes and characters we typically see in boy bands, comment on celebrity fanaticism, and then also just get a chance to do that lip-biting/lip-licking thing that LL Cool J does sometimes.
There’s just a lot of fun to be had when you embrace that balance of strong masculinity with the tender vulnerability that you find with this style of music. Add to that, the sometimes very silly lyrics that are sung with a very serious level of vocal mastery -you can’t help but fall for that combination. Just listen to the song “Too Close” by Next. That’s a song about getting a literal boner while dancing with your girl, and it easily topped billboard charts. They were playing that song on the radio -with kids in the car! I guarantee if you play that song anywhere right now, people are going to feel great -and we want to pay homage to that. We want you to have a great time at an improv theater for 7 bucks. (Is that what you guys are charging?)
Sensitive Men Singing has been on hiatus for fifteen years… what have they been up to for all that time?
The men of SMS have had a long and complicated history of being mad at each other, but also secretly missing each other, over the course of the hiatus. They’ve all had full and varied lives; some have had families; some have had unsuccessful attempts at launching energy drink brands. They’ve all had full and varied lives, and now they all need this paycheck.
Who had the best solo career?
Our manager has advised us against answering this question.
What special guests can we expect at the SMS reunion show?
We have the amazing Dan Reitz and Miles Lindahl accompanying us and setting the mood for roMANce and FUNk.
We’ll also have an amazing opening act performance from the legendary SPICE RACK GIRLS:
(SMS would like to respectfully ask audience members NOT to ask for autographs. All requests WILL be denied.)
Sensitive Men Singing reclaims the stage with their special guests Friday, April 27th at 11:15pm!
Object Work returns to the Magnet stage as this month’s Director Series show, starting Thursday, April 5th at 10:15 pm. We spoke with director Charlie Nicholson about the power and meaning of object-based improv.
How did you come up with the idea for an object-driven show?
Object Work came together at a moment in my life when I wanted to see the world differently. I was sad and lonely, looking to reconnect with comedy and theater in a meaningful way. I gathered together nine of the most wonderful, inspired people I knew, improvisors who made me feel excited about the possibilities of life and performance and art. We experimented together, developing an approach to playing that honored the many facets of an inanimate object and allowed us to turn anything that was thrown at us into a toy.
Always on my mind were the “performance object” discoveries I made in college, in Paul O’Connor’s stage shop building props for my and others’ plays, and Gabrielle Cody’s classroom, where we once spent an afternoon identifying the formal qualities of a stage full of chairs. I thought of my puppeteer friends Joe and Kali Therrien who welcomed me into their creative world at the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry. They continue their work in the streets and public parks of New York. And I thought of my parents, all four of them, who each demonstrated the strength of holding contradictory perspectives. These people taught me about the power of choosing an approach to the world that is intentionally unusual, to find pride in difference, and to celebrate the coexistence of many possible meanings. I made my best effort to carry this philosophy with me into Object Work rehearsals. I wanted performers to follow their individual instincts, to externalize their thought processes, and contrast with each other in their collaborations on stage. We found it to be very effective to limit our focus to a single object, as the object grounded and centered the group, forcing the group to physically share with each other, even as performances expanded to bizarre, dramatic, and unexpected territory.
By directing this show, I wanted to change the way I saw the world. I wanted to wake myself up, to cultivate a space for magic, to bring my imagination to life, and believe in bigger ideas. I wanted to push forward toward what was possible despite a powerful inclination to reduce my expectations. That was three years ago. Now it is 2018, and the world feels even heavier and harder. I feel more pressure to submit and accept the limitations of a disappointing reality. But every time I rehearse or perform with Object Work, I rediscover an immense sense of potential hiding in plain sight within our unmoving and seemingly inanimate world.
Your show features improv based on an actual (non-pantomimed) object. What sort of objects have been featured in the past? What’s the boldest choice someone has made with an object in previous shows?
In recounting the objects that we have been used for previous Object Work shows, I will also share some of the layered meanings of each object, IE how the object transformed and what it meant to us in the moment. Over the course of a 45 minute show, each object is reinterpreted in multiple ways, sometimes as a character, sometimes as the object that it literally is, sometimes as the physical embodiment of an emotion or idea.
I remember the Christmas lights that became an airport landing strip and the model school bus that changed performers into giants. There was panic when a string of sliver streamers malfunctioned as curtains in a the car wash, a sunflower stalk knocked a grand-slam straight out of the ballpark, and a bride tossed a bouquet of real pizza over her shoulder and into the audience. An abandoned cardboard box became a lonely neighborhood kid’s new house, lipstick was marked on foreheads as repentance ash, and a rain poncho returned from the grave as a ghost. There was even a show in which the performers used my body as the object, lifting me up to the ceiling and at one point using my hands and feet as telephone receivers to call each other.
If you were going to a desert island and could only bring three items you actually own, what would they be and why?
I would bring my deck of Fountain tarot cards so I could tell stories about the future, my favorite pair of magenta spandex shorts, to keep myself grounded in my past ( I have many good memories wearing the shorts), and a coil of rope, because one can accomplish so much with just a little piece of rope, especially on the desert island where I now live. Send help! Or at the very least, check out Object Work this Thursday at 10:15pm at the Magnet Theater!
Catch Object Work at 10:15 every Thursday in April!
Did you grow up feeling different? Woody Fu did too. His one-man show Asian Gracefully is about growing up Chinese-American and tackles such topics as internecine racism and how the straight Asian male is the most marginalized group on PornHub. “Asian Gracefully” began its January-February run last Thursday, and will play again February 2 and 9 at 7:00. You only have two more chances to catch the hilarity, so don’t miss out! (And, Woody wants you to know that the last show on Feb 9 has a promotion where anyone can see it for free if they say “I’m Chinese” at the door. It’s a true thing.)
How many times have you performed “Asian Gracefully” and how has it changed over its various runs?
I’ve done this show… almost 10x? It’s gone up at the Magnet, PIT, UCB and Annoyance, plus I’ve taken it on tour to comedy festivals. It’s gone through about 4 major iterations, and for each of those I gutted about 40% of the pieces and put in new guts. That’s so it doesn’t get stale and can grow. It’s changed so much in the last year and a half: it’s gone from a traditional personal one-man show, to full blast gamey-game sketch show, to a weird mishmash of unrelated bits. I think this most recent one is the most cohesive and satisfying one. It’s certainly the most… Asian?
In taking the show from a half-hour to a full hour, it looks like you added some other cast members. Does that mean you’ll only be playing yourself, or will you explore other characters as well?
Did your experience with improv and musical improv affect your creative process for “Asian Gracefully”?
Yes and no. Improv is 100% surprise. But writing is such a solitary act and it’s basically impossible to surprise yourself. There’s a little room for improv when putting sketches on their feet with directors but for the most part I keep the two disciplines separate. I think in binary: everything’s yellow and white. Maybe because I’m… Asian?
You’re a DJ and a game designer–do we get to see you use those skills in the show?
Is there anything the audience should know ahead of time?
Don’t miss out on Asian Gracefully, Friday February 2 and/or 9 at Magnet!
Did you enjoy Role Playing Games and Choose Your Own Adventure books as a kid? Or as an adult? If you said yes to either of those questions, You Will Die More Than Once is the perfect show for you. Hitting the Magnet stage on January 22nd, this show puts the audience in control of deciding the fate of its characters! We spoke with the show’s Dungeon Masters/creators Caitlin Steitzer, Carly Monardo, and Ali Fisher to learn more about this one of a kind show!
This show is structured like a choose your own adventure story. How did you come up with this format?
Ali: I want to say about a year ago Carly and I were having coffee and generally being fabulous creeps and we realized it’d been a while since we’d performed as Women-Shaped Holes In Hedges, our duo show that’s all about creating and populating absurd speculative worlds. In a moment of overcaffeinated excitement Carly said something like, we should invite a bunch more people to be in this show! I know it was Carly because she’s brilliant and community-minded like that. If there’s good stuff going on, her instinct is to share. We ended up coming around to the idea of creating a whole new show, but we wanted it to be just as focused on outlandish wordbuilding and character-driven action.
Carly: At around the same time I think we were both working with The Cast on how to bring our audiences into the fold a bit more; when you’ve been doing improv for a long time it can be easy to forget that the audience isn’t starting on the same page as you. I still remember how lost I was seeing a Harold for the first time. I think it’s so much more enjoyable when the people on and off stage are working from the same clean slate and discovering things simultaneously. A chooseable path format, where the audience can also help build the show, felt really exciting to me!
Ali: Hell yeah. The interactive fiction-style structure was a perfect fit. And then, having worked with Caitlin on her RPG-inspired Dragons & Dungeons show, I knew she’d not only get what we were about with this, but build it into something even better.
Caitlin: Y’all are too sweet. I was super-pumped at the idea for this show because A) I agree with Ali and Carly that it’s important to recognize that some people who come to improv shows are just from off the street and want to have fun, and that’s great and B) I’ve always loved choose your own adventure books and it’s been a long-time dream of mine to create a show that incorporates those elements.
What were you looking for in casting this show?
Carly: I wanted people whose comedic sensibilities I really love. I think everyone in this show has a distinct voice and makes big choices. That’s key!
Ali: Ideally these shows will take the performers pretty far away from their day-to-day reality and person, so we picked people who we know are going to be comfortable and excited about getting weird. We also needed really good listeners. Not only to build on each other’s absurd ideas, but also the audience’s.
Caitlin:Ditto ditto ditto! Also I think everyone in the cast is SUPER hot.
Were you a fan of Choose Your Own Adventure books as a kid? If so, what was your favorite?
Carly: Ha ha, NO! I loved reading as a kid, but not these! I was a goody toe-shoes and a nerd, so being punished by a book for making the wrong choices was not appealing to me! I see it as more of a challenge now, but I’m still the kind of person that has like 10 save files when she plays an RPG so she knows she’s going “the right way”.
Ali: Same here. I hated them. I have a massive fear of failure and those books are failure minefields by design. But I think that’s exactly what is going to make this format so great on stage–no one’s alone with the fate of the story. It’s shared experience between the performers and the audience. We’re all in it together.
Caitlin: Whoa, Ali and Carly, you were incorrect as children! These books were and still are GREAT! I had a super over-active imagination and so whatever movie or comic book I was obsessed with at the time, I would always write myself in and create these elaborate daydreams. Choose Your Own Adventure books where just a different version of that. And I also had a fear of failure, but I LOVED the books, because if I messed up, I just went back and turned to a different page.
If you could choose any fantasy creature to do an improv scene with, what would it be and why?
Carly: I’m really obsessed with the folklore of “familiars”: spirits or demons (often in the form of animals) that attend witches and other magical beings. They have a really close bond with the individual they serve; I always joke that my dog is my familiar. A magical version of my dog!
Ali: I’m thinking a garden gnome. They’d be so stoked and fun to match. Or maybe the Grim Reaper because they’ve seen some stuff.
Caitlin: Can we choose comic book characters? Because Death from Neil Gaiman’s “The Sandman” comics was my hero growing up, and I’d want to do improv with her. And she’s VERY different from Ali’s Grim Reaper, so I’m not just stealing Ali’s answer here.
Who would you most like to see this show?
Carly: I want people who are totally new to improv to see this show! I want it to inspire them to seek out more improv and live theater in general.
Caitlin: Everybody and their best friend.
Choose your own adventure to the Magnet stage for You Will Die More Than Once, Monday Jan 22nd at Magnet!
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