Theater Notes: Dad’s promotes leader; new Forest Park space; theater and housing

Briefs: Dad’s Garage names interim artistic director

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Briefs: Dad’s Garage names interim artistic director

A year after taking the role of Dad’s Garage’s interim artistic director, Tim Stoltenberg has lost the “interim” from his title.

Dad’s board made the appointment official recently, after Stoltenberg navigated the Old Fourth Ward improv comedy troupe through what an announcement called “one of the most challenging times” in the company’s history.

During a year in which COVID-19 caused show postponements, cancellations and alterations in the way Atlanta theaters stayed connected with their audiences, Stoltenberg had successes that include spearheading outdoor drive-in improv shows as well as the return of indoor staged programming such as Dad’s popular holiday show “Invasion: Christmas Carol.”

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Dad's Garage held its first "Improv in the Park(ing Lot)" on Saturday, May 8, 2021 as an interim step before moving back indoors, hopefully later this year. DAD'S GARAGE

Credit: Dad's Garage

Dad's Garage held its first "Improv in the Park(ing Lot)" on Saturday, May 8, 2021 as an interim step before moving back indoors, hopefully later this year. DAD'S GARAGE

Credit: Dad's Garage

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Dad's Garage held its first "Improv in the Park(ing Lot)" on Saturday, May 8, 2021 as an interim step before moving back indoors, hopefully later this year. DAD'S GARAGE

Credit: Dad's Garage

Credit: Dad's Garage

“I feel so fortunate to have this time at Dad’s Garage and I look forward to upholding our artistic goals: supporting artists as they discover, grow and fail,” he said in the announcement. “That’s what Dad’s Garage does — it unites people in laughter, in failure, in a shared experience, in positive connection with strangers.”

Stoltenberg already was a familiar face at Dad’s when he embraced the temporary leadership role in the wake of artistic director Jon Carr being hired as executive producer of Chicago-based the Second City companies.

In the early 2000s, Stoltenberg was working at Atlanta’s Academy Theatre and Laughing Matters comedy club, among others, when a colleague suggested he check out Dad’s, which was founded in 1995. He met comic actors there, took a class and began performing in 2002. Stoltenberg stayed for almost eight years, doing shows and serving as improv director, responsible for working with the ensemble, scheduling shows and improv formats, setting up classes, cultivating new talent, writing original plays and teaching corporate training workshops.

He left Atlanta in 2009 for Chicago, and moved to Los Angeles seven years later, where he did improv and comedy with The Second City Hollywood, played comedy clubs and festivals, and shot national commercials (including for Southwest Airlines, Comcast and Dollar Shave Club). He also has appeared on TV shows such as “Chicago Fire,” “Sirens” and “Army Wives.”

Occasionally he’d return to Dad’s. Stoltenberg joked in an ArtsATL interview last January, shortly after assuming the interim leader role, “The good thing about Dad’s is that if you’re in the family, like the Mafia, you can’t leave. They always get you.”

As artistic director, he works in collaboration with Dad’s performers to develop programming for its stage, festivals, special events and online content. It’s his job to develop the best ideas and bring them to fruition. He will continue to work closely with managing director Stacey Sharer, who started at Dad’s last August.

In an interview last April with the magazine of St. Norbert College in Wisconsin, alumnus (class of ‘01) Stoltenberg said he sensed that social forces would bring change to their work.

“Theater and comedy always reflect society,” he said. “And as culture changes and grows, it’s reflected in our art, what we talk about and make shows about. Everyone is tired of COVID so the goal is to find topics that bring people in and connect them. It’s the biggest challenge we have in theater right now.”

Grand opening planned for Forest Park theater

Tre’s Place, a theater planned for Forest Park, will have its grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony at 11 a.m. Feb. 11. The space is the dream project of Atlanta writer and producer Tre Floyd, a former educator who has presented shows at 7 Stages Theatre.

The first production at the new space, a converted office building at 4913 West St., will be “She Got It,” about a woman who finds out that she is HIV positive a week before her wedding. The run will be Feb. 17-20. Tre’s is expected to present a variety of local and national entertainers in the 60-capacity theater.

“It gives me joy to be the first to open a theater in this great city,” Floyd, 34, said in an announcement. “While I’m thrilled to be the first, I am hopeful that I will not be the last. I hope great stories are told here at Tre’s and we all learn and grow through the arts.”

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Kenny Leon (left) handed over the reins to the theater company he co-founded in 2002. Playwright and actor Jamil Jude (right) began his tenure as artistic director of True Colors Theatre Compnay with the 2019-20 season, and Leon is now artistic director emeritus. CONTRIBUTED BY KENNY LEON’S TRUE COLORS THEATRE COMPANY

Kenny Leon (left) handed over the reins to the theater company he co-founded in 2002. Playwright and actor Jamil Jude (right) began his tenure as artistic director of True Colors Theatre Compnay with the 2019-20 season, and Leon is now artistic director emeritus. CONTRIBUTED BY KENNY LEON’S TRUE COLORS THEATRE COMPANY

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Kenny Leon (left) handed over the reins to the theater company he co-founded in 2002. Playwright and actor Jamil Jude (right) began his tenure as artistic director of True Colors Theatre Compnay with the 2019-20 season, and Leon is now artistic director emeritus. CONTRIBUTED BY KENNY LEON’S TRUE COLORS THEATRE COMPANY

True Colors, partners in community conversation on housing discrimination

Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company is an organizer of “Segregated by Design: Laws That Shaped Where We Live,” a community conversation exploring the impact of housing discrimination in Atlanta and across the U.S.

Held in partnership with Public Broadcasting Atlanta and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, the event will be livestreamed at 7 p.m. January 27 on WABE-FM’s Facebook page and on the True Colors website. Dr. Calinda Lee, head of interpretation at the Center, will moderate a panel of city leaders, and True Colors artists will perform.

True Colors Artistic Director Jamil Jude believes the discussion will complement the company’s production of “Raisin,” running Feb. 8 to March 13. It’s a new rendering of the 1970s Tony-winning musical adaptation of Lorraine Hansberry’s groundbreaking 1959 masterpiece, “A Raisin in the Sun.” Set in 1951, “Raisin” follows three generations of the Younger family as they pursue the American dream in south Chicago, only to encounter hostility, housing discrimination and racism.

Jude said that he hopes the dialogue will provide “a deeper understanding of how housing patterns affect all of our lives.”

The discussion will consider issues featured in “Segregated by Design,” a short film based on Richard Rothstein’s book “The Color of Law.” In the book, Rothstein examined how laws and policy decisions made by different levels of government promoted discriminatory practices in housing that continue today.