Ten things I’ve learned from the New York Musical Improv Festival

I went to this. I want to perform in it next year. Because it’s the best. Sadly, I missed heavyweights like Baby Wants Candy and Freestyle Love Supreme, but I caught a lot of amazing stuff. Special shout out to the Magnet Theatre and all their wonderful musical house teams.

  1. Bodies do strange things when they are deprived of sleep, fed alcohol, filled with bagels and fast food, and thrust on 10 hour bus trips.
  2. In musical improv, group mind is EVERYTHING. If you want to understand the power of a group of performers absolutely synced together, go to Chicago and watch this show. Do it now. I’ll wait….

    Amazing, right? 

  3. You can do dramatic improv well. It’s really hard, but it’s possible. I know, because I watched a dramatic, improvised version of “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” performed in the style of Charles Dickens. There were some very funny moments, but it was mostly dramatic, and absolutely gripping. These guys. These f’ing guys.
  4. Singing is performance. You need to present yourself to the audience, and go big. Musical theatre is emotional and you are acting. There is no time for soft-spoken yakking, unless you are amazing at it. Like this lady.
  5. Keep it simple. Songs should be simple. Stories should be simple. Physical moves should be obvious. Choruses should be clear. If there is backline work (and there really doesn’t need to be, apparently), it should be easy, synchronized, and not intrusive.
  6. I guess anybody can technically do musical improv, but only the best people can do it well. It’s hard to do it well, and harder still to make it look easy. Improv is hard enough, but to have to sing as well…? And big props to the musical directors…wow do you guys make everyone look good.
  7. I am still torn on the value of rhyming. When it works, it’s great, but when it doesn’t it feels strained or jokey. I think the most important thing about any song is it has to be real and honest and emotional. And if it rhymes…that’s just gravy on the ice cream sundae. Wait what?
  8. I love weird ladies.
  9. I need to get better at acting. And singing. And dancing. And improv…..
  10. Bus rides are always better when they’re with friends. AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW

4 Comments

Filed under tenthingsivelearned, Uncategorized

4 responses to “Ten things I’ve learned from the New York Musical Improv Festival

  1. So glad you liked “A Tale of Two Genres!” We’ll be pimping the hell out of your review.🙂

    If you make it out to San Francisco, make sure you give us a holler.

  2. Tell her to use the code “GUEST” if she buys her ticket on line for a discount. If you show up, ask for Clay and I’ll comp you.🙂

  3. This is what I love about NYMIF – amazing performers meeting other wickedly cool performers from across the country. So many talent crushes!

    Josh and Clay – thanks for being a part of a great week.

    We’re all going into a coma until the new year and then start planning for the 4th annual NYMIF.

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