Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Magnet Theater Announces Lineup For 11th Annual New York Musical Improv Festival


Magnet Theater Announces Lineup For 11th Annual New York Musical Improv Festival Magnet Theater presents The Eleventh Annual New York Musical Improv Festival from March 12 - 15, 2020 at 254 W. 29th Street, ground floor (between 7th and 8th Avenues), NYC. Most tickets are $5-$15 and feature performances by two to four different musical improv acts per show. Festival Workshops are also being offered to people of all levels of experience!
Tickets and Workshops will available for purchase at

This year’s 4-day long festival will feature? ?musical comedy? performers from the U.S., Canada, France, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom. Performers from Ann Arbor, Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Barcelona, Boston, Brighten UK, Chicago, Columbus, Denver, Delray Beach, Iglesias Italy, Kansas City, Las Vegas, London, Miami, Minneapolis, Montreal, Nottingham UK, NYC, Oklahoma City, Orlando, Paris, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Portland, Providence, San Diego, San Francisco, Sarasota, St. Petersburg, Toronto, Vancouver, Washington DC improvising everything ?from traditional musical? ?theater fare to adrenaline-pumping rap battles and from rock concerts to ?bluegrass with a dash of Sci-Fi thrown in for good measure!

Every note, lyric, step of choreography and word of dialogue is entirely made up on the spot!

This year's spectacular lineup will include FESTIVAL HEADLINERS, Baby Wants Candy (NYC), BOOKENDS ~ An Improvised Musical Between the Pages (Second City, Chicago), Premiere (Magnet Theater, NYC) and Your Love, Our Musical (NYC) and will feature performances from The Armando Diaz Experience: Musical Edition (NYC), Mikki Hommel (NYC), Wonderland (NYC), Premiere: The Improvised Musical (NYC), Kyle and Kendon (Oklahoma City), Hansbury and Slack (NYC), Swoon River (Minneapolis, MN), SideCar (International Ensemble), Freeze Frame: The Musically Improvised Sitcom (NYC), On the Spot (NYC), TBD: The Improvised Musical (Columbus, OH), Kittyhawk (NYC), Nightshade (NYC), My Old MINT Team (Chicago), Ant Farm (Delray Beach, FL), Off Top (NYC), First Beat (Chicago), Cheap Trills (Miami), Thank You Places (Philadelphia), Tryangle (San Diego), Stacked (Chicago), Forte Factory (Ann Arbor, MI), After Party (Chicago), UnScripted Theater Company (San Francisco), Anarchy: The Improvised Rock Opera (Chicago), One Take (Las Vegas), First Four Names (Orlando), Greece Lightnin' (International), Scene Pena Improv (Miami), Rhymes Against Humanity (United Kingdom), An Evening with Georgia Tennessee (DC), Chicos AF (Miami), 4D Thieves (NYC), USS Improvise: TNG (Portland, OR), Redshirts Presents: Deep Space Nine (NYC), Definitely Not Murderers (St. Petersburg, FL), Off Key Improv (Vancouver), iMusical, (DC), Make it a Musical (Montreal, Quebec), B.A.B.E. Presents: I Love Musicals (Portland, OR), Bring Your Own Bob (NYC), La Spazzatura (San Francisco), Why I Oughtta (NYC)

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 Flash Mob Musical (San Francisco), The Jazz Ands (Montreal, Quebec), Big Monsters (Baltimore), Senza Nome (NYC) and Scene Pena Improv (Miami).


Thursday, March 12th

Playground Rules - 9:00 pm: Lucky audience members will get to hand-pick their own All-Star Teams comprised of ensemble members from Magnet Theater NYC House Teams, Kittyhawk and Nightshade as well as visiting teams, My Old Mint Team (Chicago) and Ant Farm (Delray Beach, FL) for a One Night Only Musical Showdown of EPIC proportions!

Musical Inspirado - 11:00 pm: The only MUSICAL improv competition in the world! Four musical improv teams: Cheap Trills (Miami), Contessa (Magnet, NYC), First Beat (Chicago) and Off Top (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 and bragging rights! Don't miss your chance to see what will be the best competitive meeting of improvised musicals of the century!

Friday, March 13th

Trudy Carmichael's Musical Mixer - 11:00 pm: This late-night festival favorite, now in its eleventh year, challenges you to try your 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 the vivacious Las Vegas Lounge Legend, Miss Trudy Carmichael with The Magnet Musical Mixer Orchestra led by the incomparable Frankie Keys, providing improvised musical accompaniment throughout the night!

Saturday, March 14th

SideCar: International Ensemble - 7:00 pm: A team of improvisers from all over the U.S., Canada, France, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom 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 Ali Reed.

Armando Diaz Experience: Musical Edition - 9:00 pm: A musical edition of the classic "Armando" form which originated at the iO (formerly known as ImprovOlympic) in Chicago. Musical improvisers will be inspired by the stories of a special guest Monologist to create a fully realized One Night Only musical!

LAST CALL - 11:00 pm: Grab another round and stay up late with an impressive lineup of the most fearless Musical Improv Solos, Duos and Trios we could find! Featuring Mikki Hommel (NYC), An Evening with Georgia Tennessee (DC), Chicos AF (Miami). Hosted by 4D Thieves (NYC).


Baby Wants Candy (NYC) has established itself in New York and Chicago as the only musical improv group to perform a fully-improvised one-act musical with a full band. Based on a single audience suggestion of a title the actors and musicians work together harmoniously to deliver a hilarious evening's entertainment.

BOOKENDS ~ An Improvised Musical Between the Pages (Chicago) Any sketch can become a Musical! That is the challenge being presented to the wonderfully talented music improv professionals of BOOKENDS. Sketches that have been prior selected off stage are given to the cast, sight-unseen, on the night of the performance. With scripts-in-hand, the cast of Second City veterans will open every show performing the scenes as written and launch into a full improvised narrative musical based on the characters, the setting, the world of that sketch.

Premiere: The Improvised Musical (NYC) features NYC's top comedy performers and instructors! Each week the cast takes a suggestion from the audience and turns it into a fully crafted musical - each character, song and dance number is entirely made up! Led by legendary Magnet Musical Director Frank Spitznagel, and with a cast whose professional credits include Second City, Baby Wants Candy, HBO and Comedy Central.

Your Love, Our Musical (NYC) is a LIVE musical improv show about...LOVE! Musical improvisers Rebecca Vigil and Evan Kaufman interview a couple from the audience about their love life and create a fully improvised musical about that couple's love story! It's just like Hamilton... if Hamilton was about how you met your significant other through online dating. "The premise sounds nearly impossible, but the execution is reliably brilliant." - NY Times


4D Thieves (NYC) Two improvisers, one location, a whole world full of characters - let 4D Thieves take you on a musical ride that's sure to make you feel again! (And, unlike in a 4D movie, that doesn't mean spraying you with water.) Using a single suggestion from the audience, New York-based performers Jennette Cronk and Jacob Horn bring their love of musical improv to you in a show filled with scenes, songs, and maybe even the occasional interpretive dance. Spawned out of a Magnet musical level 3 in 2016, 4D Thieves has performed around and outside of town, including stops at the New York Musical Improv Festival, Pittsburgh's Steel City Improv Festival, the Tampa Bay Improv Festival, and Laugh Index Theater LIT Fest in DC.

After Party (Chicago) is a women's musical improv group that uses song styles to thread a 35-40 minute set together start-to-finish! While we incorporate various types of storytelling, we stray away from a narrative hero's journey in our sets. We utilize monologues, time-jumps, and quick edits to tell our characters' stories. And! It's all sung live!

Anarchy: The Improvised Rock Opera (Chicago) a completely sung, completely improvised rock opera featuring Chicago's finest musical improvisers. Specializing in long-form narratives showing grounded characters with something to fight for, ANARCHY gets you rocking and ready to fight the power. Established in 2013, ANARCHY has rocked various Chicago stages including The Annoyance, the Second City Training Center, and iO Chicago.

An Evening with Georgia Tennessee (DC) Real-life improv couple Bizzy & Ryan improvise songs as country sweethearts, Georgia Lee Grace & Tennessee Hawkins who reunite to play G&T's greatest hits for their adoring fans!

Ant Farm (Delray Beach, FL) Join Anthony Francis as he creates characters, scenes, relationships, and songs with the help of music director Tony Tata. Sing along to catchy songs as Anthony works really hard to make one man look like a whole bunch of men, women, children, garbage cans - he even played a piece of chewing gum one time. You don't want to miss this solo musical miracle!

B.A.B.E. Presents: I Love Musicals (Portland, OR) takes performers Betse, Aden, Bill, & Eric (see what we did there?) on a trip into the past. Inspired by the early sitcoms of the 1950's, especially the iconic "I Love Lucy," these 4 (with occasional special guests) embark on a 2 episode journey of antics and admiration, complete with costuming, musical numbers, and even commercial jingles! So gather around the giant 16-inch television with your family for this hilariously full of high-jinks show!

Bring Your Own Bob (NYC) is a musical improv duo featuring Seann Cantatore and Nicole Pascaretta. These extremely kind musical theater nerds use their chemistry that led to an instant real-life friendship, to their full advantage on the stage. They create bold, playful and character-driven pieces that inevitably leave the audience feeling good and full of laughter. No matter what musical adventure these two choose, they will always have each other's backs on and off the stage!

Cheap Trills (Miami) Just The Funny's musical improv show, Cheap Trills has been captivating Miami audiences and the improvers alike since 2014. Comprised of six powerhouse musical improvisers, hell-bent on weaving scintillating melodies with knockdown-drag out improv comedy, Cheap Trills performs a one-act improvised musical all based on YOUR suggestions!

Chicos AF (Miami) Chico's AF is a freestyle comedy duo composed of Carlos Hernandez and Oscar Diaz. Together they bring an improvised hip-hop comedy experience like nothing you've ever seen. Watch Carlos and Oscar create hip-hop-inspired songs, beatbox, and produce character-filled improvised scenes, all based on your suggestions and stories. Songs, beats, and scenes all come together like magic. Do not miss this lively, energetic, unforgettable freestyle hip-hop comedy experience from the minds and mouths of two Miami-bred Chico's.

Contessa (NYC) A royal court of musical goofballs from New York City, they believe in harmonies and harmony. Contessa is a Musical Megawatt Team based out of the Magnet Theater. Assembled in March of 2019, they've performed on a weekly basis, bringing smart-dumb shows every week and have never met a stage picture they didn't like. Above all else, they love each other and creating infectious fun for all!

Definitely Not Murderers (St. Petersburg, FL) is the musical improv House Team at American Stage in St. Petersburg, FL. Playing various long-form musical styles, from montage to narrative, they love fracturing your favorite stories, films, or books, and giving them a new twist!

First Beat (Chicago) a musical improv team from Chicago that regularly performs as a house team at The IO Theater in Chicago. First Beat is as musical as they are funny, rounding out their group work with some of the best singing and harmonizing and you'll ever hear at an improv show. First Beat is coached by the renowned musical improv teacher and performer Stacey Smith.

First Four Names (Orlando) performs a musical long-form duo set called The Aftermath where they perform a musical inspired by a seminal moment in an audience member's life. Using details from the audience volunteer's story, they dig deep into the emotions surrounding that powerful moment through the use of a variety of song styles. They are joined by musical director Elaine Pechacek.

Forte Factory (Ann Arbor, MI) Forte Factory wanted to make a narrative form of musical improv, while still retaining the fun game-like atmosphere of short-form improv. We add in small games between scenes to allow the audience to take a quick breath from the action, while still retaining the characters and emotions found in the story.

Freeze Frame: The Musically Improvised Sitcom (NYC) Give them the name of a sitcom that's never existed and they'll improvise a very special musical episode. The live studio audience will ooh, ah, hoot, and holler for this unique show that will tap into that warm, fuzzy 80's & 90's tv nostalgia. cue applause

Greece Lightnin' (International) Comprised of some of the most talented musical improvisers and instructors from the United States, France, United Kingdom, Spain, and Italy; Greece Lightnin' brings to life a full-length musical based on audience suggestion. Join this internationally talented group from as they weave story and song on stage to audience delight!

Hansbury and Slack (NYC) - Based on a suggestion from the audience, Beth Slack and Brian Hansbury will improvise scenes into songs and look to dig a little bit deeper into the relationship between two people. They focus on the real deal stuff of life with songs and heart and mirth throughout.

iMusical (DC) Directed and created by Travis Charles Ploeger in 2006, iMusical creates musical theater which happens to be improvised. The emphasis is on realistic and sympathetic characters in strange and tense situations, and the aim is to have the audience not only humming songs on the way out the theater, but to have them experience both belly-gusting laughter and tear-jerking gut-punches, all from following the dramatic and comedic journeys of those characters through the show.

Kittyhawk (NYC) Musical improv house team Kittyhawk brings the sophisticated vocality of opera, the edgy tones of rock, and the silliest improvised stories together in this hilarious new show. With beautiful harmonies, epic fugues, and brave comedic choices, A KittyRawk Opera will leave you wanting to hear more of our Kitty squawk!

Kyle and Kendon (Oklahoma City) is a musical improv troupe known for their sharp harmony, playful yet emotional lyrics, and gorgeous music. 

La Spazzatura (San Francisco) La Spazzatura [Italian: (n) trash] is low brow opera, high brow improv. Based on a single suggestion from the audience, they perform comedic arias, duets, and perfectly executed recitative* accompanied by piano. They have performed at the West Coast Musical Improv Festival, San Diego Improv Festival, and Femprovisor Fest. *That sound you heard was Mozart rolling in his grave to 5/8 time.

Make it a Musical (Montreal) This group of improvisers all started performing together about two years ago and went on to perform an award-winning sold-out run at the Montreal Fringe as well as a "Best of The Fringe" series of performances with Make It A Musical which takes a suggestion of your favorite movie and gives it the musical treatment!

Mikki Hommel (NYC) puts a soulful pop singer/songwriter twist on her musical improv. As a musician and recording artist, she can't resist a good hook or a glimpse of creating the ever classic pop song. She takes multiple suggestions and creates a song, secretly hoping that it might land her a Grammy. Hey, a girl can dream right?!

My Old MINT Team (Chicago) A collection of house team performers who had never been on a team together, created a musical "Choose Your Own Adventure" show where they revisit some of life's biggest regrets to see how they might have played out differently.

Nightshade (NYC) is a Musical Megawatt improv house team at the Magnet Theater that performs their original form, "Previously On." Come join the live studio audience for a taping of the latest hit television series that you yourself have named as Nightshade improvises a never before seen (and never to be seen again) musical episode complete with dramatic clips and nail-biting cliffhangers. Don't forget to tune in because you won't want to miss what will happen next time on "Previously On!"

Off Key Improv (Vancouver) Off Key Improv performs completely improvised musicals and musical-themed shows. Using suggestions from the audience, the Off Key cast & band create music, lyrics, characters, stories, and choreography all on the spot. Off Key musicals are truthful explorations of complex characters and their stories. Shows can be funny and light-hearted to sad, shocking and thought-provoking. The group blends musical and improvisational skills, structures and forms in order to provide audiences with shows that they can connect to while being dynamic, and progressive in style - plus jokes, of course.

Off Top (NYC) Off Top is a collective of NY's best Hip Hop Improvisers. Scenes break out into freestyle rap songs, frequently accompanied by the best Beatboxers the city has to offer, including several of our teammates.

One Take (Las Vegas) One Take gets a one-word suggestion from the audience and then fully improvises a musical complete with characters and a storyline. With Faustino Solis on the piano, the ensemble creates a musical in just one take, which means it's made on the spot and will never be seen again!

On the Spot (NYC) Five years ago, co-creators Nathan Armstrong and Patrick Reidy devised a way to showcase up and coming actors, artists, and musical theatre stars in one spot! Along with the musical direction of Andrew Whitbeck, On The Spot has been running since 2015 bringing a new improvised musical to their cabaret stage inspired by the scripted songs sung by broadway stars from shows such as Wicked, Once, Waitress, Frozen, Ain't Too Proud, and many more! Every On The Spot is a brand new musical experience, as each show brings the best cabaret performers in the city together with a fantastic cast of musical improvisers - truly blending the world of musical theatre and improv comedy,

Redshirts Presents: Deep Space 9 - A Made-Up Star Trek Musical (NYC) Intrepid improvisers who traverse the indie galaxy, creating new life forms, new civilizations, and boldly singing what no team has sung before! Join Redshirts for an improvised musical adventure aboard Star Trek's "edgiest" series. All of your favorites characters will be there: The Commander who's an Emissary, the Major who's never minor, the Doctor who's a GMO, the Trill science officer is everyone's crush, the tailor who's a spy (not that he'd ever admit it), and the whole place is kept safe by a puddle of goo! It truly is the final frontier.NYMIF2020Logo

Rhymes Against Humanity (United Kingdom) Voted one of the UK's top ten improv shows of 2019, Rhymes Against Humanity take an audience suggestion and turn it into a musical in a way that Andrew Lloyd Webber never managed - with humour. When the opening number starts, an entire cast's stiff upper lips begin to quiver as another brand new musical begins. You give them a title, they'll give you a musical.

Stacked (Chicago) takes a suggestion of one word and delivers musical hilarity in four-part harmony. With high energy, big characters, catchy songs, and no apologies, Stacked is sure to take you on a wild ride.

Swoon River (Minneapolis) What makes you swoon? Swoon River is an improvised musical choose-your-own-adventure inspired by what brings you joy. Float along with Swoon River with us as they follow the character of the audience's choosing and explore different worlds through songs and stories in a whimsical narrative featuring physicality, singing of songs, percussive elements where the audience chooses the protagonist - plus a big closing number to boot!

TBD: The Improvised Musical (Columbus, OH) is a full-length, completely improvised musical based on a title given by the audience. Featuring musical improvisers from all over Central Ohio, TBD brings big ensemble numbers, heart-wrenching solos and showstoppers, and of course, moving love songs. Add in brilliantly talented musicians who become characters in their own right, and you have a show that fans call "pure magic."

Thank You Places (Philadelphia) A one hour, Broadway-style musical that is entirely made-up on the spot, created from a single audience suggestion. Daily life with a little bit of runes sprinkled in, prophecies about half-animal, half-human hybrids, and socialist gorillas, all set to an unforgettable, completely improvised soundtrack.

Tryangle (San Diego) Musical Improv like you've never seen before! Tryangle creates unique musical improv with big characters, an a capella opening and a twist - there is no accompanist! Tryangle makes all the music for themselves. Three performers. One guitar!

UnScripted Theater Company (San Francisco) is known for improvised theater: shows in which our improvisers, using audience suggestions, strive to create plays or musicals that are sometimes serious, sometimes comic, with fully improvised dialogue, songs, and dances created right before your eyes.

USS Improvise: TNG (Portland, OR) The crew of the USS Improvise bring to life the characters from the classic (and arguably, best) Star Trek series: Star Trek: The Next Generation in a never before seen episode. What mission does this plucky crew set forth into strange new worlds with? How does this universally diverse crew solve the problems of the cosmos? Oh, and did we mention it is a musical?!

Winston (NYC) was formed in the Fall of 2017 as a Magnet House Team and is currently on its 4th Season. They love patterns, group energy, and following the fun, but without losing the structure that makes musical improv so satisfying.

Wonderland (NYC) is the longest-running Musical Megawatt team at the Magnet Theater in New York! Made up of a group of veteran performers, Wonderland creates a unique story from a one-word suggestion. Follow them down the rabbit hole and experience a musical that will never be seen again!

Why I Oughtta (NYC) is a team of lady musical improvisers who are just the biggest fans of each other. This show is drenched with support, weirdness, and sweet, sweet music!

NYMIF I.P.O. (Initial Public Offering)

Big Monsters (Baltimore) Combining improv comedy, classic Jim Henson-style musical numbers, and puppetry, BIG Monsters is a night of outrageous adult puppet shenanigans you won't want to miss!

Flash Mob Musical (San Francisco) is an explosive, energetic cluster of excitement, song, and dance. The longest-running musical montage group in SF, Flash Mob Musical will make you laugh, cry and come back screaming for more!

Scene Pena Improv (Miami) Improv with a distinct Miami flavor, Scene Pena sprinkles every piece with a little "adobo" and "sazón". With undeniable chemistry, this group of friends brings an infectious energy and shameless approach to improv and life. Tell your friends #scenepenaimprov

Senza Nome (NYC) Senza Nome, an age-diverse group of Musical Improvisers trained at different NYC theaters, performs Anonymous Post Card Secrets. This improvised musical is inspired by Frank Warren's collections of personal secrets, sent to him anonymously, for his Post Card Secret books.

The Jazz Ands (Montreal) The Jazz Ands are Montreal's musical improv lady power troupe. This band of tuneful treble makers will perform a pitch-perfect plot, "Your Life: The Musical," inspired by an audience member's life.

Magnet Theater, NYC offers a full schedule of classes in improv comedy, musical improv, sketch writing and performing, storytelling, and on-camera auditioning for all levels of experience with new classes forming regularly. All classes are based on The Magnet Theater Core Curriculum, which provides students with a solid foundation in improv fundamentals coupled with ample performance opportunities. For more information about classes at Magnet Theater or to register, visit

Magnet Theater hosts performances Tuesday through Sunday from 6:30pm to midnight at 254 W. 29th Street, ground floor (between 7th and 8th Avenues), NYC.  Showtimes and descriptions can be found at Seating is general admission. Lobby opens 30 minutes prior to each show. Light snacks, beer, and wine are for sale. No drink minimum. Wheelchair-accessible. Air-conditioned.

For more information, visit

Related Articles View More Off-Broadway Stories

More Hot Stories For You