Update 2/20/2011: Check out their Facebook Page!
Want to eat a four-course meal AND solve a fictional murder? Well, pretty soon, you’ll be able to do just that in downtown Austin. The Dinner Detective, an interactive dinner theatre concept originating in Los Angeles, is coming to Austin this month.
Last week, I sat down and briefly spoke with Mike McLendon, one of the Executive Producers of the show. After graduation from UT a few years ago, Mike moved to LA to pursue acting. He fell in with the crew of The Dinner Detective, and began acting in their LA shows. According to Mike, the show concept was so popular, the owner decided to, in essence, franchise it out and expand. Currently there are shows in 5 cities in California, 4 cities in Colorado, Chicago, and, now Austin. Mike McLendon and his partner John Nelson are heading up the Austin leg of the show.
The concept is pretty simple. You and your date (or group of friends / family / co-workers, whatever) go to the dinner show, get your meal, and, you know, a “murder” is exposed. I don’t want to give the show’s secrets away and ruin all of the fun, but let’s just say that EVERYONE in the room is a suspect. Even the person you came with.
As to the tone / flavor of the show: I’m assured the show WILL NOT be a dinner theatre version of Clue, and that there will not be any hokey costumes, lame scenarios, or campy / pun-filled dialogue. However, Mr. McLendon tells me that The Dinner Detective has hired some of the best improv talent in Austin as cast members (members from The Hideout, Coldtowne, The New Movement Theatre, etc.), so I’m speculating that the show will, at the very least, be full of surprises and zany twists.
Now, for the nitty gritty:
Where: Rio Grande Ballroom at the Downtown Courtyard Marriott
Show Dates: The dates are here.
Show Times: Saturday shows start at 6:15 pm, and Friday shows start at 7:15 pm.
Cost: $59.95 + tax / person
Parking: No set aside parking, but you can park at the Marriott’s secured lot for $5 with validation.
The show is being marketed as the go-to solution for “outside-the-box” date nights, corporate team-building events, and birthday / anniversary parties, and judging by the ticket sales (the website shows that more than half of the shows scheduled through April are already sold out), I would say folks in Austin are in agreement.