Teatro ZinZanni takes the dinner-and-a-movie concept and literally turns it upside down, lifting the experience way into the stratosphere.
There’s a four-course meal on tap, but toss out the movie and replace it with some theater, Chinese pole acrobats, aerial artists, magic, singing, comedy and more. It’s “Love, Chaos and Dinner” on a plate of entertainment and it’s coming to Marymoor Park near Redmond starting Oct. 19 and running through April 29, 2018.
“The tables are really close to center and above their heads is a trapeze act,” director/performer Joe De Paul said of what the attendees can expect in between chef Jason Wilson’s courses at the show. A band plays and characters roam around while people are eating, and the performance continues when the plates are collected.
“It’s an intimate experience like no other,” said De Paul, who will perform three comedic skits. “I get next to the audience and go table to table in character.”
De Paul is part of a 10-person, Seattle-based ensemble that has been rehearsing “Love, Chaos and Dinner” since Oct. 1 and they will perform five to six shows a week at Marymoor.
At the cirque, comedy and cabaret show, the audience enters the world of the new Teatro ZinZanni restaurant. On opening night, the staff — including the magical maître d’ along with mechanical waitresses, gravity defying chefs and more — are swept up in the moment when a world-renowned restaurant critic, Miss Pleasant, arrives.
“They’re falling over her and put their best foot forward to try to impress her,” De Paul said. “The excitement leads to a lot of comedy.”
Other stars of the show will include Madame ZinZanni Ariana Savalas, aerial trapeze artists Duo Madrona, magician Maestro Voronin, contortionist-puppet Svetlana, yodeling dominatrix Manuela Horn, hoop aerialist Elena Gatilova and Parisian acrobat Domitil Aillot.
The show takes place in a 285-seat antique spiegeltent, which was built in 1910 and imported from Belgium. Once used for ballroom dancing in the 1910s-‘20s, the climate-controlled tent — nicknamed the Moulin Rouge — features mirrors, stained glass, hand-carved wooden columns, polished crystal and velvet walls.
De Paul, 48, hails from Montreal, Canada, and still lives there when he’s not performing with ZinZanni four months a year. He’s been with the group for 10 years and also has ties to Cirque du Soleil, which he’s performed with as a clown and directed shows for over the last 20 years.
De Paul got into acting when he was about 8 years old, thanks to his mom, who veered him away from playing the most popular sport in the Great White North.
“I grew up in Canada, but I didn’t play hockey,” he said with a laugh. “My mom asked me if I’d rather do something else.”
When De Paul returned home from his first acting class, he was hooked.
ZinZanni has brought De Paul tons of laughter during his time on board the troupe.
“I’m really happy to work with so many multi-talented artists. It’s top-notch comedy, the trapeze artists are funny,” said De Paul, adding that the ensemble’s circus and improvisational skills and singing ability are stellar. “In rehearsals, there’s a lot of goofing around. It’s a very playful group.”
For ticket information, dates and times, visit http://zinzanni.com/seattle