INTREPID and SAN DIEGO MUSICAL THEATRE enter joint agreement to share the venue 

LAMB’S PLAYERS THEATRE  has announced that after eight years as the resident company managing the Horton Grand Theatre, it will end its tenure there after July 17th.

We’ve had a great time downtown,” said LAMB’S Producing Artistic Director, Robert Smyth, “with multiple-month runs of over a dozen productions.”
The Horton Grand Theatre. Photo courtesy of Yelp
Robert Smyth

We are all indebted to Kit Goldman for this gem of a theatre. She was one of the early pioneers who had a vision for what San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter could become.”

After Goldman’s Gaslamp Quarter Theatre Company closed in the early 90s, LAMB’S began using the venue – then called the Hahn Cosmopolitan Theatre – on an occasional basis.

We were producing at the Hahn now and then, along with a 17-year stretch of productions at the Lyceum in Horton Plaza. In the Spring of 2008, when the Horton Grand became available again, we jumped at the opportunity to have a second venue under our own management. We needed to keep our full-time resident ensemble of 12 busy, and we had hopes to use the space in a variety of ways: transfers of successful productions from the company’s theatre in Coronado, remounts of popular shows in our repertory, and the presentation of a second Season call “Lion & Lamb,” with work of a more aggressive nature then what we normally present in Coronado.”

LAMB’S reopened the theatre in July of 2008 after a 400k investment in refurbishment and repair of the theatre, which had not been properly maintained in over a decade. 

The Horton Grand Theatre. Photo: The Horton Grand Hotel
Unfortunately that was just two months before the start of the Great Recession.

They were challenging years, and while no non-profit theatre is able to survive exclusively on ticket sales, the success of productions like BOOMERS, GODSPELL, THE 39 STEPS, JOSEPH & THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT, FREUD’S LAST SESSION and an over 3-year run of MIXTAPE, The Greatest Music of the 80s, helped keep the doors open.

It has been a good run,” says Smyth, “but we have known for over a year that we need to change directions. We no longer maintain a year-round acting company, and today’s financial realities mean we must operate as a much leaner organization.”

Christy Yael-Cox
A couple of years ago Christy Yael-Cox, Producing Artistic Director of INTREPID Theatre Company approached Deborah Gilmour Smyth and me about playing George & Martha in Edward Albee’s WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? A great offer, to act together in a piece we would love to do, with a director [Yael-Cox] we respected. But we could see no way to fit it into our schedule. Then early this year, we met with Christy again and proposed a co-production opportunity for VIRGINIA WOOLF, with INTREPID in a Guest Residency at the Horton Grand.” 
Deborah Gilmour Smyth

The production was a huge critical and artistic success.

LAMB’S then extended the Guest Residency to include INTREPID’s current production of WOODY GUTHRIE’S AMERICAN SONG.

By now I was convinced that they would be the perfect company to take over the Horton Grand,” says Smyth, “Unfortunately, they were too small an organization to manage the space on their own.”

I knew that former LAMB’S company member Colleen Kollar Smith, now Executive Director of SAN DIEGO MUSICAL THEATRE, was looking for a second venue to present an additional Holiday show. Perhaps that could be the answer. Christy & Colleen discussed it, and then the three of us met to talk about the timing.”
   Colleen Kollar Smith       
As LAMB’S leaves the Horton Grand, INTREPID and SDMT have now entered into a joint agreement with the theatre’s owner, the Horton Grand Hotel, to share the venue, alternating productions through the end of 2017.

These are two great women and two great companies,” say Smyth, “We are excited for them, and wish them the very best going forward.”

And... AMERICAN RYTHM gets extended to September 4th 
An exhilarating journey through 100 years of this nation’s dance, fashion and music, from Ragtime to Rock & Roll. Written and directed by LAMB’S Associate Artistic Director Kerry Meads, with arrangements and musical direction by Vanda Eggington. Choreography is by Colleen Kollar Smith, with Siri Hafso & Luke Jacobs.
The cast of AMERICAN RYTHM, performing at Lamb's Players in Coronad
Tickets range from 28 to 78 dollars and are available online at or thru the LAMB’S Box Office – 619.437.6000 
(Tue – Sat, noon to 7)

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