It’s Showtime at Teatro ZinZanni


photo: Teatro ZinZanni's Joe de Paul by Michael Doucett

On a rainy Thursday night, an unassuming tent was lit with bright white lights, welcoming a festively dressed crowd to Teatro ZinZanni’s “Love, Chaos, and Dinner.” Previously in Queen Anne, ZinZanni’s new temporary location in Marymoor Park boasts a larger than life Moulin Rouge Spiegeltent—one of the oldest and only of its kind in the world. Previously in Queen Anne, ZinZanni’s new temporary location in Marymoor Park boasts a larger than life Moulin Rouge Spiegeltent—one of the oldest and only of its kind in the world.   

Once inside the plush walls, guests are transported into a red velvet Vaudeville. In the new location, Teatro ZinZanni maintains the same high standards it did in Queen Anne with a performance that is part circus, part cabaret with music, comedy, and improv. After drinks in the lobby, a single file line is ushered into the dining room where tables surround a stage and actors weave from table to table interacting with guests while they nibble on a pre-set first course of roasted pumpkin and winter squash with fresh ricotta cheese, arugula, apple, crouton, shaved Parmesan and parsley pesto.

The storyline around the “Love, Chaos, and Dinner” opens as the staff of a restaurant learn that they will soon be reviewed by a world-renowned restaurant critic and aerialist (Rachel Nehmer of Duo Madrona). The cast of characters includes  charming restaurant security guard and aerialist (Ben Wendel of Duo Madrona), illusionist Maître d’ (Yevgeniy Voronin), his mechanical waitress (Svetlana), a yodeling dominatrix vying for employee of the year (Manuela Horn), high-flying Chef (Domitil Aillot), acrobatic dishwasher (Elena Gatilova), comedic Emcee (Joe De Paul), and melodious hostess Madam ZinZanni (Ariana Savalas). As each character tries to impress the restaurant critic, guests of ZinZanni are pulled into the “chaos” through plenty of audience participation and awe-inspiring acts that fly overhead during dinner.

Speaking of dinner, it’s good. For “Love, Chaos, and Dinner,” ZinZanni collaborated with James Beard award-winning chef, Jason Wilson. Main courses range from your choice of salmon filet served with olive tapenade, lemon-fennel salsa, cauliflower puree and roasted cauliflower florets, braised beef short rib, served with cauliflower puree and roasted carrots, cabernet demi-glace and truffle, parsley and horseradish pesto harvest tagine, curried "Tagine Style” baby carrots, root vegetables and quinoa with golden raisins, citrus, arugula and fresh herbs. The short rib is tender and flavorful—nicely complimented by the cauliflower puree. With that said, the big ticket item—and the part that you’ll tell your friends about latter, are the performances.

The show ends with a dash of romance, a few choice performances by exceptionally outgoing audience members, a finale musical performance by Madam ZinZanni, and a presumably great review for “Love, Chaos, and Dinner.” If you attend a show that is anything like the one I did, you will find yourself full and joining the rest of the guests for a standing ovation. 

For special occasions, a special date night, or just an all-around unique experience, Teatro ZinZanni’s “Love, Chaos, and Dinner” is a show unlike any other. No two performances are exactly alike so if you attended a performance at Teatro ZinZanni’s Queen Anne location, it may be time to re-live the magical chaos at the new Marymoor location. Teatro ZinZanni will be performing at King County’s Marymoor Park from October 19, 2017 – April 29, 2018 with shows on Wednesday – Saturday evenings and select Sunday matinees. For more information about the show, visit the Teatro ZinZanni website here. Ticket can be purchased here and prices start at $99 and vary based on seating section, capacity sold, and day of week.

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