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'Teatro ZinZanni' brings fun and food to the stage
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'Teatro ZinZanni' brings fun and food to the stage

Those longing for live entertainment can now enjoy the theatrics, music and frivolity happening in The Spiegeltent ZaZou in Chicago's Loop.

"Teatro ZinZanni" officially opened last week at The Spiegeltent ZaZou located on the 14th floor of The Cambria Hotel. The splashy show is the first live production to be performed in the Chicago Loop since the reopening of the city.

The show was one of the productions going strong in late 2019 into early 2020 before the pandemic shut everything down.

"Teatro ZinZanni," presented by Randolph Entertainment LLC, is a unique cabaret show/revue/cirque and dinner experience. It's currently in an open run.

The show first played in Chicago in 2019. This current rendition of "Teatro ZinZanni" features various new cast members with a new loose storyline highlighting the interactions between character Cleopatra, zany The Caesar, who is the show's chef character, character Cunio and a cast of artists. The cast showcases their skills in song, cirque talents and humorous segments.

The Caesar, portrayed by Frank Ferrante, acts as the main emcee for this extravaganza of zany fun. Ferrante as Caesar is a polished performer who easily draws people in with his dramatic facial expressions and his enthusiasm and humor.

Particular standouts in the vocal department are Storm Marrero as Cleopatra and Michael Cunio as Cunio. Both are dynamic singers and their vocals blended well throughout the show. Marrero previously starred in the role of the first Afro Latina ringmaster for the Big Apple Circus. Cunio, known for a variety of theatrical roles, was a member of the vocal group Under the Streetlamp.

One of the highlighted performances was by Duo 19, featuring Oliver Parkinson and Cassie Cutler, who showcased their intricate aerial trapeze skills while Cunio and Marrero belted out a potent and passionate medley of "I Want You"/"She's So Heavy"/"Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" by The Beatles.

Other performers who mesmerize during this show are aerialist Lea Hinz and contortionist/hoop artist Vita Radionova, who has appeared on "America's Got Talent."

Additional artists appearing in "Teatro ZinZanni" are Joe DePaul, co-director of the show and dancer/acrobat Mikael Bajazet.

Along with the show, attendees enjoy a multi-course meal created by caterer Debbie Sharp, who's also known as  "The Goddess" from The Goddess and Grocer.

On the menu during "Teatro ZinZanni" is a little appetizer of hummus, olives and pita bread toasts; first course of ZinZanni Caesar salad; a choice of entrees which include chicken Vesuvio, shrimp Capanelle pasta; braised pork shoulder Agrodulce or wild mushroom risotto cake; and chocolate mousse parfait for dessert. Various cocktails and libations are available during a pre-show cocktail hour as well as during dinner.

Some cast members in the show also rotate their roles as servers while others roam the room to talk to and interact with guests.

Join Tristan DeFord, Jami Rieck, and Nancy Zakutanksky on a shift working for Superior Ambulance in Merrillville.

Throughout the show there's a chance for audience members to be chosen for various interactive segments. Those not interested in being a part of the action, however, aren't forced to participate.

During a recent show, all participants from the audience appeared to be having a good time while joking with or being chided by show host/character/chef The Caesar.

There are no big or serious messages in this production. "Teatro ZinZanni" simply provides a whimsical diversion to the troubles of this pandemic world.

FYI: Teatro ZinZanni is being presented at The Spiegeltent ZaZou on the 14th floor of the Cambria Hotel, 32 W. Randolph St., Chicago. Tickets, which include a multi-course meal, are $119-$189. Front Row VIP tickets are also available. Ask about prices. Limited à la carte “show-only” tickets will also be available for $69. Call 312-488-0900 or visit zinzanni.com/Chicago. For group tickets call Broadway in Chicago Group Sales at 312-977-1710 or visit groupsales@BroadwayIn Chicago.com.

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Entertainment Editor/Features Reporter

Eloise is A&E Editor and a food, entertainment and features writer for The Times, subjects she has covered for over two decades in and around the Region. She was the youngest of eight in a Chicago household filled with fantastic cooks and artists.

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