Teatro Zinzanni Chicago Summer Sizzles With Hot New Exciting Performances Through August 31

Summer Show, Photo: Courtesy of Elliott Fisher
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I had always been curious to see a Teatro Zinzanni production, and last year, in October 2023, I was given that priceless opportunity. It lived up to more than my expectations of a great, adventurous show and delicious multi-course feast. I was so hyped to again experience this alluring, marvelous, magical show Love, Chaos, & Dinner in the summer of 2024. My anticipation level was beyond sky high to be able to attend opening night. This new show rewarded me well. It does not get old or disappoint. It was a whole new show. I am only disheartened that not everyone has heard of Teatro Zinzanni. When I tell others about it I get blank stares, a quizzical look, and remarks that they have never heard about it. Everyone should be aware of this spectacular entertainment venue. Together let us spread the word, please. 

Singer Cunio, Phil Seed Bassist Guitar, Singer Liv Warfield

Teatro Zinzanni takes you away from our troubled and divided world. It Immerses you into a world of creative artistic performances that border on campy comedy, magical illusions, absurd behavior, jaw-dropping, heart-stopping aerial stunts, and loveable silly situations. Put on your most glamorous duds and treat yourself, your family, and your friends to an evening escape with “Chaos, Love, and Dinner,” a Teatro Zinzanni production. Teatro Zinzanni is excited for you and your guests to be attending their brand-new summer production of Love, Chaos and Dinner. The venue is suitably situated in the charming 1926 historic Ford Center for the Performing Arts Oriental Theatre created by architects Cornelius and George Rapp. This property is now the Broadway in Chicago Nederlander Theatre. The twenty-two-story luxury Cambria Hotel sits above the palatial theatre at 32 West Randolph in the center of the loop and theater district.

Aerialist Raphael Nepomuceno

The performance venue is within a 300-seat lavish Klessen Belgium Spiegeltent (Dutch for mirror tent). It is constructed of carved wood, canvas, and stained glass and exquisitely occupies the 14th Ballroom floor. Teatro Zinzanni Chicago has named their dramatic tent Zazou. They describe it as “a true marvel, tracing its heritage back to the artistic fervor of 1910. Each hand hand-carved detail and reflective surface whispers stories of performances that have captivated hearts for over a century. As you step inside, you’re transported into a world where history and contemporary entertainment unite.”

Kevin Kent, Cunio, Hula Hoop Artist Vita Radinova

I suggest you arrive an hour early for the show. Enjoy a signature cocktail at the lobby bar. Pose for photographs and enjoy the band play at 6:10 p.m. Doors Open at 6:00 p.m. for 7:00 dinner performances on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Sundays are at 6 p.m., with matinee performances on select Thursdays and Saturdays at noon. Tickets range (from $99) and are available for purchase online at ZinZanni; group rates are available for groups of 10 or more. There is also a FAQ that answers all pertinent questions.

Mickael Bajazet and Vlada Romanova

In the most welcoming, gracious manner, Jennifer, our Zinzanni elevator host, whisked us up to the Cambria hotel’s fourteenth floor, where we experienced an enchanting, magical, fantastique evening. She raved about how wonderful the singer Cunio is. She compared him to Freddy Mercury. She was right. On entering the lobby, we were in a new/old world rich realm of what has been described as European Cabaret, American Vaudeville ribald comedy, Cirque du Soleil style acrobatics, and P.T. Barnum Circus performances that delight and mesmerize. It is all this and more. The star performers interact with the audience. You become an integral part of this unparalleled entertainment production while dining on a multi-course sumptuous, gourmet dinner.

Elayne Kramer

Understanding the origins of Teatro Zinzanni helps explain its extravagant multi-faceted genre. It began in 1972 with Seattle’s six spirited performers, a 1931 Model A Truck with a fold-down stage, and a mission to transform public places into extraordinary events as a non-profit artistic enterprise. They called themselves the One-Reel Vaudeville Show. Among the six were Norman Langill, an actor-writer, and Louise DiLenge, a cabaret singer. The two became the founders and leaders of this Hippie troupe. Soon, they expanded into an entertainment empire. One-Reel produced high-profile Seattle events such as the Bumbershoot Arts Festival, Family Fourth of July Fireworks Bash, and Seattle’s world-class 1990 Goodwill Games Arts Festival

Mickael Bajazet and Vlada Romanova

While visiting Spain for the 1992 Cultural Olympiad in Barcelona, Noman Langill presented his wife, Jane Corddry Langill’s commissioned Japanese Grand Kabuki Theatre. Jane is a Japanese scholar. Norman Langill would make a discovery that inspired Teatro Zinzanni. He wandered into a weather-beaten Spiegeltent on the famous tourist street Las Ramblas—the cabaret entertainment within led to his establishing the seemingly risky venture Teatro Zinzanni. Teatro is Spanish for theater. Zinzanni is a made-up name. I like to think of it in the best possible way as a zany, absurd, American vaudeville-like comedy nightclub. Teatro Zinzanni, with over a million shows, has proved wildly successful.

Elayne Kramer

This Love, Chaos, & Dinner production treats us to Chicago’s world-renowned R&B singer LiV Warfield. She grew up in Peoria and spent her college years in Portland. She was a Prince protege and toured with the band for five years. Recently, on America’s Got Talent (AGT), she received a well-deserved golden buzzer smash from Simon Cowell.

Mickael Bajazet and Vlada Romanova

LiV is joined by spellbinding singer and aerialist Cunio and veteran comedian Kevin Kent, who played the role of Doily. Kent was both charming and sassy and totally engaged the audience in witty repartee and antics. Elegant contortionist Elayne Kramer will blow your mind with her graceful body bending. Saucy acrobatic dancing duo Micky & Vlada are a delight. “America’s Got Talent” hula hoop artist Vita Radionova was simply amazing. Astonishing aerialist and capoeira artist Raphael Nepomuceno, making his Teatro ZinZanni debut, will make your jaw drop. 

Vita Radionova Hula Hoop Artist Photo Courtesy of Kayla Cortina

Teatro ZinZanni’s live band is led by musical director Theodis Rodgers, Jr. (piano/organ) and includes Jose Martinez (percussion, drums), Jon Negus, and substitute Jonathan Golko (woodwinds, keyboards), Phil Seed (guitar), and Doug Bistrow (bass) to accompany the astounding and unparalleled entertainment experience as patrons of all ages enjoy a fine dining experience, tantalizing every sense.

Comedian Kevin Kent

This original production is directed by veteran Teatro ZinZanni performers Kevin Kent and Elena Gatilova. Theodis Rodgers, Jr. musically directs Mickael Bazajet choreographs, and founder Norm Langill artistically directs. 

Kevin Kent on an Airplane as Charismatic Doily

  The sumptuous four-course dinner menu included in the price of your ticket has clever names reflecting the theater performance. Jeanine, our server, was gracious, hospitable, and accommodating. Your first course is On The Table fresh herb corn cake with pickled serrano and Frisée lettuce. The second course is a vegetarian and gluten-free Doily’s Garden Salad with Arugula, Cucumber, Pickled Red Onion, Watermelon, and Feta Cheese dressed with a Lime and Mint Vinaigrette. You have one of four choices for your entree. There is a roasted airline chicken, pork chop, salmon filet, or a VG/DF/GF Green Coconut Curry. Dessert is Bananas in the Limelight. You can upgrade to Prime Sirloin Steak, Surf & Turf, and Temptation Flan at an additional cost. Everything was savory, generously portioned, and delicious. There was also a variety of appetizers that could be ordered for an extra price. There is a full bar with imaginative signature cocktails. The servers presented the courses in perfect time in an orchestrated precision procession. The last course, dessert, was delightfully danced in by the serving troupe.

Roasted Airline Chicken with Garlic Wild Rice, Balsamic Cream Sauce, Charred Scallion, and Pomegranate Seeds Photo Courtesy of Kayla Cortina

For further information please check out Teatro ZinZanni online. Teatro Zinzanni has partnered with iParkit to offer discount pre-pay parking at 181 North Dearborn in the Theatre District. If you do not prepay, but park at 181 North Dearborn lot you can get a discount validation sticker at TZ.

Photos Courtesy of: Elliott Fisher unless otherwise indicated


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