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Arts

Improv Group Four Day Weekend Will Lose Its Downtown Fort Worth Theater After 26 Years

The longtime improv troupe is losing its home of almost three decades. Its landlord declined to renew its lease, but hasn't said why.
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From left, photographed in 2017: Anthony Bowling, Troy Grant, Frank Ford, David Wilk, David Ahearn, Ray Sharp, Andrew Hamer, Oliver Tull, and Josh Roberts. Melanie Grizzel

Four Day Weekend, one of Sundance Square’s most popular legacy tenants, is losing its lease.

The comedy company has hosted its signature improv and sketch comedy shows from its Houston Street home in downtown Fort Worth for the last 26 years. However, David Wilk, one of its founding members, confirmed on social media that the space’s lease with Sundance Square will not be renewed and they must vacate the premises by the end of July. 

“I heard a rumor in the back halls of the theater,” Wilk says. “I ran into a manager at the Reata [Restaurant] and I hear, ‘Hey man, sorry to hear you’re going too.’” 

Reata had served Texas cuisine from its impressive dining room just down the street since 1996. Last year, its owners said it couldn’t come to an agreement with the landlord and would allow its lease to expire. Wilk made a quick phone call to Sundance Square Management, which confirmed the bad news. He says he received no reason for the decision to not renew the comedy troupe’s lease. The landlord did not respond to multiple requests for comment from D Magazine.

“We are at an 86 percent sellout rate for 2024 and we’ve paid our rent on time every month for 26 years with the exception of the pandemic, but we were caught up in the full first week we were open,” Wilk says. “I have no idea what they’re doing. I just know we’re not part of the plan.” 

Four Day Weekend launched its signature comedy show in 1997 with six weeks at the Casa Mañana theater in Fort Worth following performances of the guy group musical Forever Plaid. Wilk, Frank Ford, David Ahearn, and Troy Grant performed as the first incarnation of the troupe, which received training and inspiration from comedy institutions like Chicago’s Second City. 

The following year, Wilk discovered the troupe’s Fort Worth theater space during the reception of his own wedding on the roof of the Caravan of Dreams building. Rain forced the procession to move the party indoors to the 121-seat theater space, which had sat unused for years. The group moved in and eventually developed one of the biggest comedy followings in North Texas. 

The group expanded its roster of performers and its services as a video production house for corporate clients. The revenue generated from the extra projects provides the majority of the funding for the theater. Four Day Weekend expanded to a second location in Dallas in 2018, a year after its 20th anniversary. Its second theater in Lower Greenville is across the street from the Truck Yard in the old Contemporary Theater building, which regularly fills up for weekend shows. 

Wilk says the same community that helped build his comedy empire has also reached out in droves to support the group as they find a new place to perform in Fort Worth. 

“The city and community have just rolled out,” Wilk says. “My phone has been ringing off the hook. Theaters have offered us to come in and do residencies. We’ve had such an outpouring of love from fans and the community that I’m not freaking out. I’m just weighing my options.” 

The Fort Worth location may only have 30 or so shows left to go, but the Dallas location is still going strong. Wilk says the Dallas theater has sold out its last 91 weeks. 

“That place is on fire,” Wilk says. 

As of now, the comedy troupe has locked down a monthly residency at the Coppell Arts Center. Wilk says he expects things to stay just as busy between the theater’s corporate work, the Dallas location, and the search for a new Fort Worth home. 

“Have you ever seen Indiana Jones where he takes the golden idol and replaces it with a bag of sand? I’m hoping to do that and not get crushed by a giant boulder,” Wilk says.” Even local theaters have said, ‘Hey, we may not be a permanent fix but come here.’ We’re overwhelmed by the outpouring from the community.” 

Wilk also noted that there’s no hard feelings between the crew at Four Day Weekend and their soon-to-be-ex partners. 

“We were in sheer panic mode,” Wilk says. “Now it’s weighing-our-options-mode and it’s such a relief. All I can say is thank you to the city, thank you to the fans and thank you to the powers that be at Sundance Square for taking a chance on this little make ‘em up show.” 

Four Day Weekend will hold shows in Fort Worth through July but the Dallas location will continue to host shows every weekend. Find tickets here.

Author

Danny Gallagher

Danny Gallagher

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