An Interview with performer

Christine Deaver

Christine Deaver is an actor, singer, writer, director and voiceover artist. She has worked with Teatro ZinZanni for many years and has created and performed a plethora of unique and zany characters.  Christine has worked extensively in theater, film and television in Los Angeles and abroad and is a recipient of numerous Garland, Ovation and LA Weekly awards for her work in the theater.  She has written and performed several one woman shows and has toured them across North America, Asia, Europe, and Mexico.  

How did you develop the character of Penelope Wild? Did you find inspiration from any favorite performers or characters?

Yes, I developed Penelope Wild from the very first show I did for Zinzanni. Back in the 1800s. And I was a quick hire, meaning I was replacing somebody who was going to be let go. So I had about five days to come up with three characters. Penelope Wild was the first one, and I tailored it after Noël Coward characters as well as Mabel Albertson, who was a fabulous character actress. And she was in What’s Up, Doc?, which was my absolute favorite movie. And I just kinda…you know, I think of characters and kind of put them together like puzzles. You know, I take a little from this, a little from that person, a little of this, so that they become original, not copying someone directly. But yeah, she’s…she likes her weed! [LAUGHS] Not me. I’m saying Penelope; I would NEVER…

What’s your favorite thing about working with Teatro Zinzanni?

Oh, I love the artistic freedom. You know? Because I live in Los Angeles, and I do TV and movies occasionally; and you know, I have to say the lines on the page and I need to know my place. With Zinzanni, it’s like I can spread my wings, you know? So I can write my own text, I can write my own characters, I can ad-lib whatever I want. And the show is different every night because I’m with different people, so I love that it’s fresh and that it’s from me, you know what I mean? That’s the biggest thing – I have the biggest artistic freedom. And I just love it.

In your act, you have an audience member make a wish for whatever their heart desires. If you had one wish, what would it be?

I know this is going to sound cheesy, but world peace. I mean, seriously, I’m just…I mean with everything that’s going on in the world and everything, can we just all calm down and just get along? We don’t have to love each other, but how about just get along? Because this is just…it’s insane out there! And one thing about Zinzanni is that people can come and, at least for a couple of hours, they can forget how very real it is outside. So I know it doesn’t change the outcome of what’s going on, but I think you do need a release from it. At least a little bit so that you can carry on.

How long have you been a performer? Is that what you always wanted to be when you grew up?

It is. I was one of those annoying kids that always knew what I wanted to do since I was little. So I would always put on shows in my living room and sing to records in my living room to an imaginary audience. And then I got into theatre classes and that kind of stuff, and it just built up from there. And yes, I think it drove my family nuts. I was the first person in my family to go to college, and I was majoring in theatre, so you can imagine how happy they were about that. So [LAUGHS] yeah. I mean, I’m a strong believer that you’ve got to follow your passions. And that’s not saying that show business is easy – it is not easy in any way. But, I have to like – I have to LOVE my work. And if I don’t, it’s a very slow death.

What is your favorite interaction you’ve had with a victim – I mean, with an audience participant?

Yes! Well, actually, just off the top of my head, it was this guy the other day, here. And I picked him as my “Adam” participant, and I never even told him what song to sing. Because usually I pull the microphone out and I say, “You have to serenade your wife,” and the guy goes, “Oh no, no, no!”, and the audience goes, “Oh, man!” I just pulled the microphone out, and he heard the background music; he knew it was The Temptations, and he just started singing! I didn’t even tell him to sing! He just started singing, and said to the audience, “Everyone join in!” And I’m like, “I think this guy is taking my gig!” You know what I mean? But it was like…I just loved it! It was just like…wow! Thank you! It was shocking to me, and I just loved it. I love it when the participants shine. Because I want to make them the stars of the show, because when they shine, we all shine. It’s not about making fun of them or scaring them, it’s about…they need to leave the tent feeling like a hero and that they were acknowledged. And I want that as they are walking out, people are going, “Hey, great job, dude! You did a great job!” So when that happens, I’ve done my job. 

What would be your perfect day off?

Well, when I first got here, which was in January, it was freezing cold. I don’t know how…God bless you, I don’t know how you people do it. But it was so freaking cold. Oh my God! So I couldn’t really go anywhere because it was so cold. And then here, the weather has been PERFECTION. So I’ve been walking all over, just going everywhere. And I LOVE Chicago, oh my God. I just walk and walk and walk. I love it! And that’s how I get to know the city. I love it. But I mean, today I was in the pool upstairs, lounging. Last night, we were at the fire pit, lounging. So a day off for me has to include being in water somehow. Either a pool or ocean or something.

Have you been in Lake Michigan?

No, I haven’t! I’ve walked by it. But I should do that tomorrow; that’s a good idea!

Describe Teatro Zinzanni in 5 words or less.

I would say it is “a bad-ass time always”.

BOX OFFICE HOURS

Open Tuesday - Sunday  (Phone Only)

1 - 7PM

Closed on Mondays

RESERVATIONS

(312) 488-0900

chicago-info@zinzanni.com

32 W. Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60601

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RESERVATIONS

(312) 488-0900

chicago-info@zinzanni.com

32 W. Randolph St. Chicago, IL 60601

BOX OFFICE HOURS

Open Tuesday - Sunday  (Phone Only)

1 - 7PM

Closed on Mondays

Join the Celebrations Club!

 Follow us!

BOX OFFICE HOURS

Open Tuesday - Sunday  (Phone Only)

1 - 7PM

Closed on Mondays

RESERVATIONS

(312) 488-0900

chicago-info@zinzanni.com

32 W. Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60601

Join the Celebrations Club!

 Follow us!