“Invasion: Christmas Carol,” is Dad’s Garage’s holiday cult classic. It’s a faithful-ish retelling of Charles Dickens’ tale of redemption with six actors, three men and three women, playing all the roles.
Every night, an invader surprises the cast and audience alike, and “invades” the show and by integrating into the narrative, taking the well-known tale into new territory. Every invader is new, and the results range from chaotic to absurd.
On Thursday, Dec. 14, Dad’s Garage will welcome theatergoers with a Chanukah theme. What better way to celebrate Chanukah than “futzing” with a Christmas classic?
Along with several Jewish cast members, Amelia Lerner is the marketing director. She joined the Dad’s Garage family as the development director in 2010. While she’s worn many hats, this mother-of-two oversees the voice of the Dad’s Garage brand in all outward communications.
Lerner grew up north of Chicago, where she was able to take the presence of a large Jewish community for granted. She came to Dad’s Garage through a nonprofit route after working with The Wren’s Nest House Museum in Atlanta. Still surprised that she works at a theatre, she loves to laugh, has found the right place to do it, and said, “It’s an incredible privilege to encourage people to have a great time and be able to rely on Dad’s Garage to deliver on the promise. Joy is important!”
In 1995, a group of University of Florida grads moved to Atlanta to found Dad’s Garage. With a couple of productions under their belt, their breakout came in 1998, with the adaptation of “Cannibal! The Musical,” by South Park’s Trey Parker and Matt Stone. As a creative outlet for both emerging and established artists, Dad’s Garage has achieved recognition for original stage productions and improv comedy, including premieres of several plays by Emmy-nominated writer, Steve Yockey, who started his career as Dad’s Garage’s marketing director. Other highlights include producing “43 Plays for 43 Presidents,” by Chicago’s Neo-Futurists, which was attended by President and First Lady Jimmy and the late Rosalynn Carter.
In 2011, Dad’s Garage expanded into video production, with Dad’s Garage TV (DGTV), and continues to produce shorts and web series, including “How to Ruin the Holidays,” streaming now on Amazon.
In 2015, Dad’s Garage completed a successful fundraising campaign to purchase and renovate a church in the heart of the Old Fourth Ward, where it continues to produce scripted and improvised plays 52 weeks per year. Dad’s has grown its educational offerings, with improv classes for kids and adults, and therapeutic programming for stutterers, caregivers, and more.
Dad’s Garage was one of the few Atlanta theaters to pivot in the pandemic to offering outdoor programming, a move that has left it fiscally and artistically primed for the next decade. Today, former Second City company member, Tim Stoltenberg, is the current artistic director. Stacey Sharer is the managing director.
The vast majority of performances are improvised, which means almost everything on stage is created in that moment. While some of the formats are licensed, most of what is onstage is created in-house. Even their scripted performances are most often created by members of the Dad’s Garage ensemble.
Improv class sessions start every 12 weeks, sessions are offered at various levels each round, from “curious about improv” to “I want to do this professionally!” They offer summer camp for kids and a series of workshops for teens. For adults, visit the following link: www.dadsgarage.com/improv-classes.
Also offered are “TheatreSports, TGIF” – which features local Atlanta teams and “Night Cap,” which features favorite formats and characters from Dad’s Garage artists. They also offer regular children’s programming that are reputed to be equally fun for adults.
Dad’s Garage is seeking volunteers mostly for the front of the house, greeting customers, etc., if being around the improv scene tickles one’s fancy.
Dad’s Garage Theatre is located at 569 Ezzard St. SE in Atlanta. Tickets can be purchased online for $33 to $43 at www.dadsgarage.com/ixc or directly for Dec. 14 performance at https://dadsgarage.my.salesforce-sites.com/ticket/PatronTicket__PublicTicketApp#/instances/a0F1K00000KQoNNUA1