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Magnet Theater Presents POPE! The Musical 12/5, 12/12, 12/19


Magnet Theater presents POPE! The Musical on Saturdays, December 5, 12 and 19, 2009 at 7pm at 254 W. 29th Street, ground floor (between 7th and 8th Avenues), NYC. Tickets are $10-and are available at or by phone at 212-244-8824.

A pious Pope is framed for a crime he didn't commit. An evil tyrant's vaulting ambition threatens to cover the world in shadow. Who can you trust when the world turns its back on you? A militant army of robots? The ghost of legends from yesterday? Or that girl you blew off after prom all those years ago?

Betrayal, Holy War, and foot-stompin' musical numbers fill POPE! The Musical with everything it takes to entertain the Hell right out of you in this brand-spankin' new musical.

POPE! The Musical is directed by Louis Kornfeld with musical direction by Adam Podd. Book and lyrics by Justin Moran with music by Christopher Pappas. Featuring Jon Bander, Jared McGrail, Molly Moran, Ryan Nelson, Travis Nilan, Jon Roufaeal, Jennifer Sanders, Matthew Shafeek.

Louis Kornfeld (Director) is a New York based actor/director making his musical debut with POPE! The Musical. A graduate of the Conservatory of Theater Arts and Film at SUNY Purchase, Louis can be seen regularly performing at the Magnet Theater.

A Vermont native, Adam Podd (Musical Director) is a pianist, composer, arranger, and producer/engineer currently living in New York City. In New York he is an active musician and pianist on several music fronts. He is the pianist/keyboardist in a trio with Dan Mills, a Brooklyn-based singer/song-writer, and recently co-produced Mills' most recent album. He also works as a pianist for music classes around the city, geared toward young children and their introduction to music. He holds a Bachelor of Music from The Hartt School in Hartford, CT, where he studied music production technology, piano, and tuba. Adam has recorded and produced several albums including singer-songwriters, choral ensembles, and jazz combos. He also spent several months working at New York Noise, a commercial music house in the West Village. Adam enjoys a diverse career consisting of work as a church musician, music director, pit musician, and pianist for any occasion.

Justin Moran (Books and Lyrics) is a New Jersey-born playwright. POPE! is the third musical he has written with composer and friend Christopher Pappas. The two met while attending the University of Hartford where they collaborated over many comedic endeavors for the school's improv troupe; this led to them collaborating over the commedia dell arte musical, One Night in Venice. Justin moved to New York to pursue his love for improv, and after it began to thoroughly influence his writing he reconnected with Pappas to pen POPE! The Musical. Non-musically, his short play Green Eggs and Hamlet was published in '06 and has been performed at over a hundred theaters across the country. He can also be seen improvising with the house teams Featherweight and Choral Rage at the Magnet Theater in New York City.

Jon Bander is an actor and comedian who has been performing in and around NYC for eight years. You can catch him performing at the Magnet Theater with improv house team Phooka or telling stories in his solo show Delusions of Bander, or doing standup at various NYC venues. He was a creator and host of the variety show Her Majesty's Standup and was a cast member in such shows as The Wake, The Wisdom Circle, Factory Factory and The Shandling. As an actor he has tackled roles as challenging and diverse as Meat Loaf, Santa Claus and, of course, Bruce Vilanch. Jon has studied with many of the finest improv luminaries including Armando Diaz, Kevin Dorff, TJ Jagodowski, David Pasquesi, Joe Bill, Mick Napier and Susan Messing to name a few. Jon graduated from Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism and Media Studies. Mostly his journalist notepads were used for writing jokes or cartoons about how bored he was.

Jared McGrail is an improvisor and comedian based out of New York. He is a house performer at the Magnet Theater where he can be seen regularly with the team Featherweight. He also performs regularly with Anti-Life (form) (duo improv) and Ulysses (sketch comedy). Jared has studied extensively with Armando Diaz and has more than 6 years of improv experience.

Molly Moran is a Jersey-born actress who has been seen all over the country singing and dancing her little heart out. Some of her favorite rolls have been Dionne in Hair!, Catherine in Pippin and touring as Cat in Are You My Mother. She attended AMDA and Goldsmiths College in London.

After a five year hiatus from musical theater, Ryan Nelson is thrilled to be back performing with POPE! The Musical. Ryan is an actor and improviser living in NYC and has studied improvisation for many years at the UCB Theater and The Magnet Theater. At The Magnet, Ryan has played with house team Harlequin, and can be seen doing musical improvisation with the super talented Once Upon a Time and playing once a year with the group Under Your Bed. Ryan is a Pennsylvania native and has studied musical theater at Point Park University, and theater at Penn State University.

Travis Nilan's favorite past credits include Pippin in Pippin, Judas in Godspell, and Fancourt Babberly in Charley's Aunt.

Since moving to NYC in 2006, Jonathan Roufaeal has been featured in such Off-Broadway shows as Frank & Stein & Friends and The Happiest Girl in the World. Jonathan has studied both improv and musical improv at the Magnet and UCB Theaters. He performs regularly at the Magnet in both the Made Up Musical and as a part of the Once Upon a Time ensemble.

Jennifer Sanders made her debut with Jean Cocteau Repertory in Ryan Teller's Sucker Fish Messiah, produced as part of their new writers program at Bouwerie Lane Theatre in 2006. She co-wrote and performed the original short play, A Fine Line, which opened at the 2009 NYC Fringe Festival, and was hailed by as "dark and unstoppably hilarious." Jennifer was honored to have been selected for the 2009 ANT Festival at Ars Nova with her improv group Elsie Jay, and to have participated in the first New York Musical Improv Festival with Once Upon a Time and the All Star Revue. She performs regularly in sketch, improv, and musical improv shows at Magnet Theater and at other venues around the city and state. Jennifer has studied experimental theater at NYU Tisch and Meisner Technique with private teachers. She is a graduate of the Magnet Theater Conservatory program, where she studied with Armando Diaz, Gary Rudoren, Rachel Hamilton, James Eason, Tara Copeland, and David Razowsky, among others.

Matt Shafeek performed throughout his formative years in various productions but he found his true calling after college, when he discovered improv. He's been on the improv scene for nearly seven years. He started off taking classes at UCB, the PIT, and now he has found his home at favorite improv theater, the Magnet. Past credits include: Pax Romana, Skosh, Oswald, The Spotlight with Sean Taylor, Still Life, The World of Tomorrow, Flea Furkus, This Just In, and The Extremely Local News! He also has performed in a number of scenes with Improv Everywhere (and can be seen in the pilot episode of This American Life!). Two years ago, he wrote, produced, and starred in his own one man video game themed show Multiplayer. He can currently be seen performing with Magnet House Team Phooka every Wednesday night.

Magnet Theater hosts a variety of performances and special events by the best of New York's improv masters and visiting International Artists on Mondays through Sundays at 254 W. 29th Street, ground floor (between 7th and 8th Avenues), NYC. A detailed schedule and description of each night's line-up can be found at Ticket prices vary; reservations are recommended and can be made by calling (212) 244-8824.

Magnet Theater arrived to further define Chelsea's "comedy corridor" in March of 2005. Founders Armando Diaz, Ed Herbstman, and Alex Marino came together with The Common goal of teaching improvisation and sketch writing, while developing and presenting fantastic comedy shows and other diverse entertainments and art. Magnet Theater's founders studied under long-form Chicago improv guru Del Close at ImprovOlympic and have since helped to shape the New York comedy scene dramatically through teaching, performing and presenting comical theatrics individually and together.

Magnet Theater presents POPE! The Musical on Saturdays, December 5, 12 and 19, 2009 at 7pm at 254 W. 29th Street, ground floor (between 7th and 8th Avenues), NYC. Tickets are $10-and are available at or by phone at 212-244-8824.

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