When it came to imagining a new stage for his improvisation comedy troupe, David Wilk went old school.
He wanted a throwback look: Copacabana meets Las Vegas Rat Pack. Cabaret-style seating on the floor. Intimate upstairs balcony. Performers and wait staff in white shirts and black pants.
That's exactly the experience Wilk will unveil Saturday during the troupe's first show on Lower Greenville.
Wilk is bringing his renowned improv group, Four Day Weekend, to Dallas, opening a new venue with some of the same improv scenes, songs and sketches that it has presented in Fort Worth for the past 20 years.
They've performed in thousands of shows in a cozy, 212-seat theater in Sundance Square in Fort Worth. Their Dallas theater, formerly the Contemporary Theatre of Dallas, seats 150.
"Ours is an intimate art form," Wilk said. "That's why we love the Dallas theater." Originally a 1930s-era church, the venue will retain its stained glass and exposed brick on the interior.
Starting Feb. 9, Four Day will host shows Fridays and Saturdays at the Dallas theater, at 5106 Sears St. The original Sundance Square theater in Fort Worth will remain open.
The intimate setting will mean Four Day can engage with its audience. In improv style, some crowd members will be enlisted to interact with the cast.
Four Day Weekend might be a Fort Worth institution, but it has branched out far beyond Dallas-Fort Worth. The group has performed for Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama and has even delivered a keynote to Congress. Closer to home, the troupe has made spot appearances in Dallas, mostly as corporate gigs in addition to some shows at the Granada Theater.
But Four Day did not have a place to call its own in Dallas.
"We've always been looking for an opportunity to grow," Wilk said, "so when a former student of ours [Jason Boso], who owns the Truck Yard, asked us if we'd ever thought of Dallas, well, we started talking." The location was perfect for him; he's lived on the M Streets for 25 years.
"It was too tempting to pass up," he says.
The theater operates in a partnership with Boso, who bought the building after Contemporary Theater of Dallas closed in 2016. Boso set up his offices in the building but needed another tenant. Having known the Four Day crew since the early 2000s, Boso called Wilk with a proposal.
"And he says they were literally talking -- at that moment -- about starting a Four Day Weekend East," he said. "It was just the right time at the right place with the right people."
Four Day is a welcome addition to the Lower Greenville vibe, he said.
"There's lots going on, lots to eat and drink, but there's no music, no bowling alley," he said. "This is a good complement for after-dinner or before-dinner. It will keep people down here a little longer."
Four Day Weekend started out at the old Caravan of Dreams in downtown Fort Worth. Wilk and Four Day founders Frank Ford, David Ahearn and Troy Grant ventured to Fort Worth and ended up taking over that venue when it closed.
At the time, the improv scene was getting traction in 1998 when ABC's Whose Line is it Anyway? premiered.
Four Day Weekend prides itself on being family-friendly. "We don't work blue," Wilk explains, which means they don't tell jokes that use profanity or are sexual in nature. "We can find the funny without going there."
"We love the fact that you can bring your grandmother to our shows."
Four Day's new Lower Greenville theater joins a host of improv troupes who perform in Dallas-area venues like Pocket Sandwich Theatre, ComedySportz in downtown McKinney, and Deep Ellum's Dallas Comedy House.
In expanding, Four Day Weekend has added new performers to its veteran cast. Wilk wanted to make it clear the troupe is not abandoning Fort Worth.
"Fort Worth is our flagship. It is our main stage, our mainstay," he said.
Plan your life
Four Day Weekend will perform on Fridays and Saturdays at 9 p.m. at its Dallas theater, 5106 Sears St., Dallas. To learn more or purchase tickets, call 817-226-4329. fourdayweekend.com.