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New York City's finest improvisers join forces with the city's finest poets in a unique format: part comedy, part poetry, part theater, part UNPREDICTABILITY. It all begins with an exquisite corpse (aka poem) written collaboratively by the audience. After that the improvisers delve in, building a world around the themes and imagery of the poem, populating it with a cast of characters who are funny, tragic, and in between. Fueling the proceedings is the work of published poets, national slam champions, and up-and-comers from around the world. (Among the cast are performers and poets featured on This American Life, the Onion, and Chicago's Second City.) The whole shebang ends with the performance of a poem inspired by the show and written on the spot.
The building housing New York's longest-running off-Broadway show will be converted to condos after the 10,000th performance. Even though the show, embedded in pop culture, will continue to be produced around the world from high schools to legitimate stages, the original production, half-forgotten in NYC, will close. The cast, crew, and zealous fans are forced to deal with this announcement and the reality of the closing. At various ages and points in their careers, each has a unique dilemma. For some, it may be a paralyzing blow and career-ender. For others, it may be an opportunity to move forward. All the while, as long as there is a giant dancing and singing pickle with a twang, there is always a glimmer of hope.
Note to attendees: Please don't give away the shocking ending.
The Big Broadcast on East 53rd is an off-the-wall comedy that explores how "fake news" impacts a marriage. Fed up with her husband's unconventional ways, a sophisticated New Yorker "finds" his obituary in the Times and plans his funeral. This challenges the play's hero to prove he is alive and kicking. This highly theatrical and timely romp explores what happens when we are ruled by our need for love and approval.
Author and actor Jamie Brickhouse faces his three most defining relationships — booze, sex, and his Texas tornado of a mother, Mama Jean — in this darkly comic solo show.
Down on Griffin Alley, written by Connie Winston and Jean Randich, is an anti-death penalty, love story performance piece based on the life, trial, and execution of Lena Baker, an African-American maid in Cuthbert, Georgia. Lena Baker was wrongfully convicted of killing her ex-lover and employer, Ernest Knight, a white man who had locked her up in his gristmill to keep her against her will. Through actual trial testimony and devised scenes, this show explores what was said and what was silenced.
Drunk Restoration Comedy is back with a revival of Richard Brinsley Sheridan's The School for Scandal! The premise: A team of brave (or just crazy?) artistic associate actors will perform a reading of a Restoration comedy. The catch: They'll be doing so while heavily under the influence. Even better, this interactive evening will give audience members a chance to choose their own adventure and dictate which performers get totally sloshed and which are sent packing.
Obnoxious strangers, overbearing bosses, and unrequited high school crushes are about to get a piece of your mind. The Friday Night Sh*w invites audience members to anonymously write down their repressed rants, cursing-outs, and sultry confessions. Improv performers then use that writing to fuel a fast-paced brawl of hilarity. The cast includes a fistful of New York City's best improvisers with credits on 30 Rock, Comedy Central, MTV, Chicago's Second City, the Onion, and NPR — and at least one Primetime Emmy Award loser.
Grand Theft Musical is a boisterous, bawdy, bang-bang, world-premiere musical comedy, which openly purloins from some of the greatest examples of the genre to hilarious effect. The diverse cast of 17 zany characters relate to, deal and double-deal with, fall in and out of love and in and out of bed with each other, all while singing and dancing up a storm. Grand Theft Musical is a sophisticatedly silly, satirical lampoon yet a warm embrace of Broadway and all things theater...with three choreographers. Based on Robert Sickinger's 1994 musical Platinum Taps, it was written by Lissa Moira, who also directs. John Taylor Thomas composed the music.
A History of Servitude is a comic survey of world history, from the dawn of man to the present. A celebration of the eternal struggle of the underdog, A History of Servitude is part improv, part sketch comedy, part insanity. The Department of Fools brings audiences on a wildly participatory, slightly intoxicated, and extremely bawdy ride through history.
Beatles songs come to life, not with music, but as stories and situations. A cast of 15 presents this world-premiere theatrical tribute for fans of the Fab Four and anyone who imagines a world where all you need is love. Imagine is written by Claude Solnik and directed by Thom O'Connor.
Kyle is a dark comedy by Hollis James, inspired by his knock-down-drag-out battle with drug addiction. It's about a guy named Jack, his friend Kyle, and Kyle's friend cocaine. Thanks to his new friends, Jack's life quickly begins to spiral out of control. He loses his job, his girlfriend, his health, and all sense of personal hygiene. Will Jack find the strength to get his life back on track, or will Kyle ultimately win?
Five people wait in line for an unknown event, each trying to get to the front. Through their shoving and conniving, Line dramatizes the absurdity of everyday life.
The length of the show's run is a testament to its interminable relevance. Line has been running — or rather, standing and waiting — since 1967. Among those stuck in the original production was Richard Dreyfuss, then almost as unknown as the event his character awaited. Today the rotating cast continues to feature emerging young actors. Tradition also lives on in the play's director, Jay Michaels; he studied with Carol Ilson, who directed Line in 1974. The playwright is still Israel Horovitz.
Each week, the Magnet Theater's resident ensembles converge for a night of improv comedy. The night might include anything from monoscenes to Harolds (long-form improv acts that begin with a suggestion from the audience). Because Megawatt's format gets changed more frequently than a lightbulb, returning audience members can expect to be dazzled every time.
Saturday at 6pm: the perfect time to get your jaded mind blown by four improv ensembles. Will the neighborhood kids be driven wild by their new forms and structures? Yes. Will you?
The Rundown features different groups at each performance that unite veteran performers with up-and-comers ready to bring it.
Everyone knows the morning rush hour can be annoying. This particular morning, four unique strangers find themselves trapped in the tunnel on a New York City subway heading downtown. Frustration sets in as conversations about greed, poverty, and compassion arise.
The festival consists of three weeks of 15 short plays united by a common topic: sex. Here's the lineup...
Look at Me by Serena Berman
Him-Her by John Michael Jalonen
Blood Moon by Connor Bush
Romeo's Jules by Harrison Bryan
Officially Unofficial by Hannah Vaughn
The Future of Office Sex by Sam Graber
Cereal With Milk by Natalie Lifson
The Second by Michael Long
Heavenly Bodies by Murray Brozinsky
Come Back, Burt Lancaster by Brian Rogers
The Cold Hard Truth by George Ruthauser
The Big No by Phillip Gerson
Happy Birthday, Leonard! by Walter Thinnes
The Insemination Game by Brian Scanlan
Uncomfortable Sex: The Musical by Lorin Howard, Erin Murray Quinlan, and Ed Levy
Welcome to Joyful Path, a meditational bed-and-breakfast located in the serene Mojave Desert...
Five guests check in for a peaceful and reflective getaway from the stresses of their everyday lives. But when the bed-and-breakfast's bizarre brochure gives a shout-out to a Nepalese guest killed under mysterious circumstances, a sinister conspiracy lurking underneath the surface takes shape. As suspicions mount and questions arise, the bed-and-breakfast begins to show its teeth. Can the guests keep their chakras centered, or will they be swallowed whole?
Nick Kanellis and Peter McNerney (Statues of Liberty) team up with Magnet Theater veteran Leslie Korein to form a brand-new improv trio with one purpose: rockin' a seamless, high-energy, character-driven, free-form improv set every week.
Performed on an empty stage but harnessing creatively manipulated lighting and the audience's imaginations, Speedmouse re-squeaked is a comedy experience unlike any other. In fact, the Umbilical Brothers challenge anyone to describe the show after having seen it. It's made people in Britain, Singapore, Sweden, Australia, and New Zealand laugh like idiots — no mean feat, considering New Zealanders hate Australians. And it was crowned Stage Production of the Year at the Australian Comedy Awards, again no mean feat, considering they only held the awards once. Ever.