Kids get in on the fun at Dad's Garage's improv show 'Wowie Zowie'

dad's garage wowie zowie
"Wowie Zowie" at Dad's Garage is on stage through May 14. (Chelsea Patricia Photography)

At Dad’s Garage, improv comedy isn’t just for comedians or adults. Kids can also join in on the fun with their own improv interactive show, “Wowie Zowie.” This Dad’s Garage classic is onstage now through May 14. One of the show’s returning audience members, 10-year-old River Roushdi, has gotten so good at improv that she even hosted her own online show for Dad’s Garage during the pandemic. To talk more about “Wowie Zowie,” Roushdi joined “City Lights” host Lois Reitzes via Zoom along with Dad’s Garage youth programs director Amanda Lee. 

Interview highlights:

The show’s opening improv game, “Picture This“:

“When the kids come in before the show starts, there will be a couple of improvisers out there, and … there’s a big piece of butcher block paper. And they’re asked to, as a group, create a world that does not currently exist, all together as a group on this butcher block paper. Then that puts your black paper is taken up and put as our set,” explained Lee. 

She went on, “We take out our magic paintbrush, and we have someone who is going to be our scene painter, and they sort of set the scene based on ideas that we get from the drawing that the kids did in advance. And then we basically go on an adventure in the world that they created.”

A show even the shy kids love:

“There’s always going to be certain kids that raise their hand every single time. But for those that are feeling a little more shy, a lot of times, especially during ‘Picture This,’ when we’re on more of an adventure, one of our actors will come towards the edge of the stage,” Lee said. “This is a creative drama technique that they’re using. And they’ll say, ‘I see a huge group of frogs … and they’re all jumping up and down.’ And kids are just geniuses, and so they know, ‘Oh, I’m the frog,’ so they’ll all start jumping together.”

“Then the actor will have a scene with them, kind of guiding them throughout it. Like, ‘I see the frogs jumping three times,’ and then all the kids will jump three times. So that’s a great way, if you’re shy, that you get to be part of a group … but you’re not singled out, needing to make a suggestion or come up with your parent.”

What River likes about “Wowie Zowie” and improv comedy:

Roushdi explained, “I would say that my favorite part of the show is probably the dance party at the end … mainly because everybody gets to have a good time and play together, but also, whoever’s running the dance party, it’s like a freeze dance. But it’s separated into categories. So like, ‘Dance like a dinosaur. Dance like you’re underwater.’” 

“I do want to do improv and acting when I grow up,” said Roushdi. “But I also want to be a veterinarian when I grow up, so it’s probably going to be like a half-and-half job. But I feel like the improv part of me is never going to go away because I was raised like that, and there’s always going to be little shows that me and my family do.” 

Wowie Zowie” takes place at Dad’s Garage through May 14. Tickets and more information are available here