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Holiday Professional Topher Payne.

Offscript: Merry Y’allmark with Topher Payne

On this episode, Rob and J.R. talk to Topher Payne about Hallmark and holiday traditions, plus Kelundra interviews longtime critic Linda Armstrong.

Offscript, American Theatre’s flagship podcast for a number of years, is back as a Facebook Live chat with the magazine’s editors and special guests as well as an audio podcast.

This month we talk to Atlanta actor, playwright, and Hallmark Channel screenwriter Topher Payne, whose annual tradition, Y’allmark Christmas: An Improvised Holiday “Movie,” co-created and directed by Amber Nash, runs through Dec. 30 at Horizon Theatre. This co-production with Dad’s Garage brings together holiday tropes, audience suggestions, a rotating cast of veteran improvisors, and a special guest actor to create an all-new holiday “movie” from scratch, live onstage every night. As a vetted holiday professional, Topher shares his tips for capturing the spirit of the season. Topher’s plays include Perfect ArrangementAngry Fags, Evelyn in Purgatory, Let Nothing You Dismay, and Morningside. His Hallmark films include Rome in Love, My Summer Prince, Broadcasting Christmas, A Gift to Remember, and Cherished Memories: A Gift to Remember 2.

We also chat with Linda Armstrong, a 36-year veteran theatre critic for the New York Amsterdam News, Harlem Community News, and more. She has created and participated in various BroadwayCon panels and recently appeared in the documentary Women of Theatre, New York. Linda shares her best advice for aspiring critics and practices to uplift theatremakers of color.

You can download the episode here and watch the original Facebook chat here. If you have any feedback or suggestions for Offscript, please reach out to

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