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SR resident hosts dinner theater downtown

Historical San Diego characters from the 1880s, such as Wyatt Earp, come to life during dinner theater Wild West Whodunit performances at the Horton Grand Hotel. (courtesy photo)

SR resident hosts dinner theater downtown

By Ashley Shah

Scripps Ranch resident Daniel Redman is hosting dinner theaters at Salt and Whiskey at the Horton Grand Hotel. One of the shows took place on July 13, and the other will be held July 27. 

“Our production follows the founders of early San Diego in the 1880s as they solve a murder mystery. A lot of the actions are largely improvised,” Redman said. “What makes dinner theaters more fun than regular theater is that they are interactive with the audience. The diners will assist us in solving the mystery.”

Historical figures that were prevalent to San Diego’s founding, such as Wyatt Earp, William Heath Davis and John Spreckles, are all featured. 

“The historical figures that are featured in the show have close ties to the Horton Grand. This brings life to the actual history of the place,” Redman said. “William Heath Davis formed the new town San Diego, which is now known as the Gaslamp. He lived right across the street from the Horton Grand. John Spreckels, who was one the richest people in San Diego back then, owned Coronado. He lived close to the Horton Grand. Wyatt Earp lived at the Horton Grand.”

In addition to the interactive show, a three course meal is served. 

“There will be a salad, a main dish and dessert. There will be a custom cocktail menu straight out of the 1880s,” Redman said.

All of the components for this show began only a few months ago. 

“A couple months ago, I was thinking about the dinner theater format. So, I went to ChatGPT and had it write me a dinner theater format for a murder mystery. I went through several rounds of editing with the format, and I was amazed with how great the dinner theater format came out,” Redman said. “I sent the script to the Horton Grand event manager, and he asked me to write him a business plan, in which I used ChatGPT. From there, we decided to run two test nights.” 

While the script was written using ChatGPT, the script does not feel robotic.

“The actors bring the script to life. There is no way someone would be able to tell that it was written using Chat-GPT. None of this would have been possible without this software. It saved me so many hours,” Redman said.

There are six actors in this performance. 

“As someone who has been a part of acting in the San Diego area for about 10 years, I reached out to some other actors I knew in the San Diego area to see if they would be interested in performing in this,” Redman said. “We have all been excited to perform in this new, creative format. It is a fun opportunity for us.”

Because this is a new format, the actors have practiced often. 

“We did Zoom sessions at the very beginning to just run through the script and get a feel for the characters. But, after that, we have been doing all of our rehearsals in the actual venue,” Redman said. 

About 50 people are expected to be at the shows. 

“If our test nights go well, then we will be able to make this performance a resident at the Horton Grand,” Redman said. “I am hoping that we can also try other historical venues in San Diego, and tailor the show to fit the venue that we perform at. This is not a cookie cutter performance.” 

Tickets can still be purchased at historicaldining.com

“This show is important to San Diego. You are not just walking through San Diego on a tour. You are immersed in the history of San Diego,” Redman said.