Y’allmark Christmas: An Improvised Holiday Movie


Horizon Theatre Presents Dad’s Garage: Y’ALLMARK CHRISTMAS
Created by Amber Nash & Topher Payne
Directed and Narrated by Topher Payne

Deck the Halls with Dad’s Garage and Horizon Theatre this season with Y’allmark Christmas: An Improvised Holiday “Movie,” live onstage at Horizon! It’s a Christmas collaboration miracle!

Led by Atlanta playwright and bonafide Hallmark movie screenwriter, Topher Payne (also “Crumpet” in Horizon’s holiday hit The Santaland Diaries), this show takes tried-and-true holiday tropes, audience suggestions, a rotating cast of three veteran improvisors from Dad’s Garage, and a different daily guest Horizon actor to create an all-new, live, onstage holiday “movie” from scratch every night. 

No two shows will be the same! Cozy up with Horizon and Dad’s Garage for the perfect dose of holiday hilarity!


Performance Dates

NOVEMBER 25-DECEMBER 23, 2022


Show Times

Thursdays and Fridays at 8pm
Saturdays at 3pm and 8pm (No 3pm on Nov 26)
Sundays at 5pm

ALSO:
Wednesday Dec 14, Tuesday Dec 20, and Wednesday Dec 21 at 8pm


General Admission & VIP Tickets

GENERAL ADMISSION: $25*
VIP (includes reserved seat & a beverage): $40*

*Reserve now for best prices! Prices subject to change.

Bring your neighbors!
Group pricing is available for parties of 10+. Groups of 10-24 receive $3 off the general admission ticket price. Groups of 25+ receive $5 off the general admission ticket price. Call 404.523.1477 x100 or e-mail groups@horizontheatre.com for more information.

Ticket prices are subject to change. Buy early for best pricing. Internet convenience fee added to all online orders. No refunds, exchanges, or late seating. Cannot combine discount offers.


Cast & Creative Team

Click the actor’s name for their full bio.


Co-Producers: Lisa AdlerEve Krueger
Director/Narrator: Topher Payne
Understudies: Whittney MillsapTara Ochs
Musicians: Matt HobbsJustin Geer
Set Designers: Isabel Curley-Clay & Moriah Curley-Clay
Lighting Designers: Elisabeth CooperMary Parker
Costume & Props Coordinators: Lisa AdlerTopher Payne
Stage Manager: Vanessa LopezJelecia Thomas


Guest & Cast Schedule

Topher Payne leads every performance.
All cast members and guests are subject to change.

Fri, NOV 25, 8pm:
GUEST:
Karen Ceesay
CAST:
Amber, Kevin,
Freddy

Sat, NOV 26, 8pm:
GUEST:
Enoch King
CAST:
Amber, Kevin,
Eve

Sun, NOV 27, 5pm:
GUEST:
Tim Stoltenberg
CAST:
Amber, Freddy, Eve

Thurs, DEC 1, 8pm:
GUEST:
Wendy Melkonian
CAST:
Kevin, Joshua, Jamila

Fri, DEC 2, 8pm:
GUEST:
Justin Walker
CAST:
Kevin, Freddy, Eve

Sat, DEC 3, 3pm:
GUEST:
O’Neil Delapenha
CAST:
Freddy, Joshua, Eve

Sat, DEC 3, 8pm:
GUEST:
Rob Cleveland
Horizon’s Waffle Palace Christmas
CAST:
Eve, Jamila, Joshua

Sun, DEC 4, 5pm:
GUEST:
Gina Rickicki

Horizon’s Ghosts of Little Five Points
CAST:
Freddy, Eve, Jamila

Thurs, DEC 8, 8pm:
GUEST:
Deborah Bowman
CAST: (all-female)
Amber, Eve, Jamila

Fri, DEC 9, 8pm:
GUEST:
Chris Kayser
CAST:
Amber, Kevin, Jamila

Sat, DEC 10, 3pm:
GUEST:
Parris Sarter
CAST:
Freddy, Eve, Tim Stoltenberg

Sat, DEC 10, 8pm:
GUEST:
Megan Hayes
CAST:
Freddy, Eve,
Jamila

Sun, DEC 11, 5pm:
GUEST:
Cara Mantella
CAST:
Joshua, Eve, Jamila

Wed, DEC 14, 5pm:
GUEST:
Denise Arribas
CAST:
Joshua, Eve, Jamila

Thurs, DEC 15, 8pm:
GUEST:
Courtney Patterson
CAST:
Joshua, Amber, Eve

Fri, DEC 16, 8pm:
GUEST:
Eric J. Little
CAST:
Amber, Joshua, Jamila

Sat, DEC 17, 3pm:
GUEST:
Tom Key
CAST:
Tara, Freddy,
Eve

Sat, DEC 17, 8pm:
GUEST:
Suehyla El-Attar Young
CAST:
Tara, Freddy, Jamila

Sun, DEC 18, 5pm:
GUEST:
TBA
CAST:
Amber, Freddy, Whittney

Tues, DEC 20, 8pm:
GUEST:
Katherine LaNasa
CAST: (all-female)
Amber, Eve, Jamila

Wed, DEC 21, 8pm:
GUEST:
LaParee Young
CAST: (all-male)
Freddy, Kevin, Joshua

Thurs, DEC 22, 8pm:
GUEST:
Brittani Minnieweather
CAST:
Amber, Kevin, Jamila

Fri, DEC 23, 8pm:
GUEST:
Brian Kurlander
CAST:
Freddy, Eve, Jamila


About the Play

Deck the halls with Horizon Theatre and Dad’s Garage this season with Y’allmark Christmas: An Improvised Holiday “Movie” LIVE ONSTAGE.  This witty, warm and wacky send-up of made-for-TV holiday movies takes tried-and-true holiday tropes, audience suggestions, a rotating cast of three veteran improvisors from Dad’s Garage, and a different daily guest actor to create an all-new, live, onstage holiday “movie” from scratch every night.  Guiding the merriment as director/narrator is Atlanta playwright and bonafide Hallmark movie screenwriter Topher Payne (“Crumpet” in the final year of Horizon’s longtime holiday hit The Santaland Diaries). No two shows will be the same – each experience is special! Cozy up with Horizon and Dads Garage for the perfect dose of holiday hilarity! 

Audiences can expect a completely new, unique show each night.   Writer/director and holiday enthusiast Topher Payne has gathered this group of improvisers to create an inspired-by-Hallmark holiday movie live onstage. Each night they will choose one of three basic story outlines that involve romance during the holidays (City Mouse, Country Mouse, and Royal Romance). But it will be up to the actors and the nightly special guest to let their imaginations run wild as they incorporate the audience suggestions to create a hilarious, Hallmark holiday romance!

Created by Amber Nash and Topher Payne, the show began in 2017 at Dad’s Garage as a late-night show under the title An Improvised Hallmark Movie, starring Amber, Topher and Dan Triandiflou. A surprise hit, it was brought back for late night performances in 2018 and 2019.  In 2020, it returned again for a live-streamed, virtual performance, under the less litigious title An Improvised Made-for-TV Christmas Movie, performed by Amber, Topher and Amber’s real-life husband and former Dad’s Artistic Director Kevin Gillese. This year, the show is back – bigger, better and in prime time at Horizon Theatre for a full run with a new title! The cast has expanded to 5, and their playground is a large set festooned with holiday magic – and lots of wigs, hats, costumes, and props! Horizon is thrilled to be able to open its doors for hilarious holiday cheer again. Prior to the pandemic, Horizon had produced holiday shows annually, The Santaland Diaries (for 19 years), Madeline’s Christmas (12 years) and Waffle Palace Christmas (2 years). The collaboration between Horizon Theatre and Dad’s Garage for this holiday show is exciting and will pave the way for future collaborations between the two theatres.

Topher Payne leads the Dad’s Garage improvisers as the onstage director, narrator, and guide. An award-winning playwright, he began writing Hallmark movies in 2016 and has scripted five films for The Hallmark Channel which include Broadcasting Christmas, A Gift to Remember, Cherished Memories, My Summer Prince and Rome in Love. Topher is no stranger to the holidays at Horizon – audiences will remember him as “Crumpet” in the final year (2017) of Horizon’s holiday hit The Santaland Diaries. In fact, during that run, Topher would hop from the Santaland shows at Horizon to go perform late night in the Improvised Hallmark Movie at Dad’s Garage.  

The merry band of improvisers features show co-creator Amber Nash (the voice of Pam Poovey on FX’s Archer). Inspiration struck Amber after watching a Hallmark Christmas movie.  “I thought, improvisers could have a field day with this. Then I remembered I knew a real-life screenwriter for these beloved movies, Atlanta theatre darling Topher Payne! Topher made the show a reality with his deft improvised narration, humor, and love for the genre. It’s been an absolute joy every time we’ve stepped on stage to do it.”

The rotating cast also includes Kevin Gillese (Amber’s husband and former Artistic Director, Dad’s Garage), Eve Krueger (Horizon’s Designing Women and past improviser at Second City in Chicago), as well as Dad’s Garage favorites Freddy Boyd (Lawrenceburg, Black Nerd), Jamila Porter (Invasion: Christmas Carol), and Joshua Quinn (Ad Nauseam, Invasion: Christmas Carol).   Every night Topher will lead three improvisers, a special guest, and a musical improviser through the creation of an original story inspired by Hallmark Christmas movies.

The daily special guests will be performers you’ve seen at Horizon and at theatres across the city, as well as on the big and small screens. Featured guests (with their Horizon or other credits in parentheses) include Enoch King (The Light), Rob Cleveland (comedian, Waffle Palace Christmas)Tom Key (former Artistic Director of Theatrical Outfit), O’Neil Delapenha (Every Brilliant Thing), Chris Kayser (Sweet Water Taste), LaParee Young (Sweet Water Taste), Justin Walker (Sweet Water Taste) Terry Burrell (Da Kink in My Hair), Cara Mantella (Elemeno Pea), Denise Arribas (Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike), Justin Walker (Sweet Water Taste), and Katherine LaNasa (Designing Women). Check the Horizon website for specific dates for each special guest. All guests and the dates performed are subject to change.

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Dad’s Garage Theatre Company has been Atlanta’s premier source for improv, levity and laughter for over 27 years. Our ensemble of talented artists bring smiles to the faces of over 30,000 audience members at our home in the Old Fourth Ward with original scripted plays and hundreds of innovative improv shows each year. Thanks to the nature of improv, no two shows are the same at Dad’s Garage. We are passionate about the power and importance of the arts. Our young audience base, financial accessibility, and collaborations in the Atlanta arts community have earned us the nickname “The Gateway Drug to the Arts.” We’re proud to share our enthusiasm and expertise by offering a range of classes and workshops that teach people of every age and skill level how to harness the magic of improv and the power of “yes, and.”