Founder. Lead Writer. Director. Producer. Publicist. Actor.
Daniel Stallings is the mastermind and driving force behind Master Mystery Productions. He is its founder and owner along with is lead writer, director, producer, and publicist. Under his direction lies most of the decision-making at the company including what shows are produced, where, and when. Over a long theatrical career of 15 years, Daniel has amassed a wealth of knowledge and experience in theatre in everything from acting, technical work, management, and beyond. He serves as Master Mystery Productions’ main educator and has been responsible for the launching of dozens of new artists in theatre.
Daniel’s journey to establish Master Mystery Productions began in 2013 when he wrote and directed Murder at the Red Fez for the Red Hat Ladies of Bakersfield. While not performed under the MMP banner, this show gave Daniel the idea to pursue interactive mysteries as a project, which led to the formation of Master Mystery Productions in Spring 2015 with the production of Goodbye Hollywood at My Enchanted Cottage and Tea Room. Murder at the Red Fez was then retroactively awarded the title of the first Master Mystery Production.
Daniel has served as both the writer and director on the following productions: Murder at the Red Fez, Goodbye Hollywood, Goodbye Hollywood: At the Rainbow’s End, Hello Out There, Hero, Ex Luna, Wildflowers for the Funeral, The Last Garden Party, Pauper’s Grave, Murder at the Broken Heart Mine, Bury Me in Paris, Ode to Agatha, Anonymous, Femme Fatales, The Last Chapter, Exit Prima Donna, Famous Last Words, What Happens at Sundown, Mutiny on the Sea Witch, Eat Cake, Foul Play, and Lenore Nevermore. He was the principal writer and game designer for October 2016’s Game Over. He served as the director and producer for C. R. Rowenson’s The Silent City, performed at Weird Weekend 2017. He was the executive producer for Monica Dwyer’s production of Close Encounters of the Hairy Kind. All of these productions featured Daniel as the lead publicity designer.
As an actor, Daniel has appeared in numerous Master Mystery Productions to high critical acclaim. He originated the role of tortured screenwriter Simon Pritchard in both the tea shop production, Goodbye Hollywood, and the stage expansion, Goodbye Hollywood: At the Rainbow’s End in 2015. In 2016, he played the drunken General Major in the Victorian comedy, The Last Garden Party. During the 2017 season, he played the painter Edgar Giraud in Bury Me in Paris, the gold-digging Tobias Davenport in Ode to Agatha, and beleaguered cryptologist Dr. Alan Fleming in Anonymous. He played the Emcee in our first musical, Exit Prima Donna, at Amargosa Opera House in Spring 2018 and followed that by taking over the role of Elijah Samson in What Happens at Sundown in September 2018 after the original performer left the show. In the 2019 season, he played James “Fudge” Ferguson in Close Encounters of the Hairy Kind, written and directed by Monica Dwyer, who was the first outside director for Master Mystery Productions.
Due to his passionate support, the success of Goodbye Hollywood, and tireless fundraising efforts on behalf of Ridge Writers, the Eastern Sierra Branch of the statewide California Writers Club and a frequent MMP client, the club honored Daniel with the Jack London Award in 2015, the highest honor a single branch can award.
In 2018, Daniel’s first mystery novel, Sunny Side Up, the first book in the Li Johnson Murder Mystery series, was published by Pace Press to great reviews. His second book, Cleanup on Aisle Six, came out in 2019 to even more prestigious acclaim from publications such as Kirkus Reviews. Daniel’s work and writing has been praised by critics, calling him a “master,” an “expert,” and even a “theatre legend.” His approach to deeply nuanced, complex, but entirely solvable mysteries has made him a favorite with audiences and actors alike.
Master Mystery Productions would be nothing without the inspiring spirit of Daniel and the creative vision he brings out in his performers, crew members, and outside artists. Always striving to bring out the best of the people who work with him, he has dedicated his career to creating the best shows with the best talent around while continuing to stretch and grow his company and the people in it. He encourages anyone who want to try out or help out to do so, and he believes strongly in empowering new, diverse voices in performing arts. And it is this atmosphere of encouragement, creative expression, professionalism, and sincere fun that brings people back time and time again to Master Mystery Productions.