Teatro ZinZanni Celebrates 20 Years

The Beloved Institution’s Future is Looking Bright 

SEATTLE, Wash. (November 1, 2018) –It is with great excitement that Teatro ZinZanni announces its twentieth year as a pioneer of its own brand of theatrical, circus arts entertainment. Teatro ZinZanni is a whirlwind of international cirque, comedy, and cabaret served up with a scrumptious multi-course feast and elegant libations inside a gorgeous antique, mirrored spiegeltent. In an era of exceptional city growth and expansion that has been the catalyst for much change in the local artistic community, Teatro ZinZanni and its leadership look back on two decades of cultivating an original arts brand that eliminates the “fourth wall,” showcases international artistic talents in a way not previously seen in the United States, and despite a series of bumps in the road, perseveres and continually brings together audiences from near and far to indulge in the shared experience of love, chaos, and dinner.

The view looks good from where Teatro ZinZanni sits today. Originally established as an off-season special project of parent company One Reel in 1998, ZinZanni planned a limited run on a temporary site opposite Seattle Center for its first show starring Ann Wilson of Heart when it opened on October 29.  The show went on to run for 14 sold-out months. In 2000, the company took the show to San Francisco for a limited engagement on the Embarcadero where it became an instant hit, and ended up running year-round for eleven years. Due to popular demand, the company returned to Seattle in 2002 now operating two tent that would become home for 10 years.

In early days, the leadership recognized Teatro ZinZanni’s potential for year-round operation and eventual expansion to  multiple cities.   In 2011, Teatro ZinZanni split from One Reel, which continued to focus on local festival and event production. In 2012, Teatro ZinZanni was one of 80 businesses on the Embarcadero in San Francisco that closed to make way for the America’s Cup yacht racing in 2013. The production moved to Costa Mesa, CA and presented a limited run for five months during the holiday season. In 2015, and with the support of city, business, and neighborhood leaders, Teatro ZinZanni’s plans to return to San Francisco were solidified with a unanimous vote from the Board of Supervisors – the project is slated to break ground in 2020.

Back in Seattle the landscape was changing – literally. After a highly publicized property sale of ZinZanni’s long-term Seattle Center location, the company was left without a home by March 2017. Quick on their feet, the company partnered with King County’s Marymoor Park in Redmond, WA to present the original show that started it all, “Love, Chaos, and Dinner” from November 2017 – April 2018 before ultimately inking a deal in 2018 to bring their entire operation and headquarters to beautiful Woodinville, WA. Nearly in tandem with the announcement of the company’s new permanent home, ZinZanni also announced their long-awaited third city – Chicago – now set to open “Love, Chaos, and Dinner” in the spring of 2019 at the Cambria Hotel in Chicago’s Theatre District.

“Two cities, and eventually three cities when San Francisco comes back online, has been my goal since the beginning,” Norm said. “It creates all sorts of efficiencies and opportunities to workshop ideas in all areas. The site in Woodinville allows us to continue to develop this live, intimate art form for years to come – as the virtual world closes in around us – by putting all the elements of ZinZanni creation in one place together within arm’s reach, including marketing, finance, props, costumes, musicals, and performers.”

When asked to recount the work Teatro ZinZanni is most of proud of from its 20 years to-date, Norm shared the below:

  • Working with Norman Durkee on the musical atmosphere of Teatro ZinZanni. Norm was a brilliant composer and piano player. His unconscious creativity was hardwire-fused with his conscious technique. Every note and rest was beautiful and true to the moment.
  • Finding and working with the first-ever cast of Kevin Kent, Ann Wilson, Maestro Voronin, Los Exentricos, Aurélia Cats, Sergiy Krutikov, Dee Strazivich, Doloreze Leonard, Nathalie Tarlet, and The Castors was a total plunge into the unknown and it created the basic form of ZinZanni.
  • Working with Jane Zalutsky, Sheila Hughes, and Gary Gibson to bring Teatro ZinZanni to San Francisco for a planned one-year run, which turned into twelve years.
  • Working with Joan Baez as Madame ZinZanni while in San Francisco. She is known for her music, but has an astounding range as an actress.
  • Creating the Seattle World’s Fair show on its 50th anniversary in 2012 celebrating the night in September 1962 when Elvis, Bruce Lee, and Jimi Hendrix were in town.
  • Accepting the challenge to build a creative home for this company in Woodinville for future artists and administrators, and starting to development new relationships with our new neighbors.
  • Starting to development programs at our new home in Woodinville in the areas of shows, events, hospitality and more with our new partners at Fire & Vine.

Teatro ZinZanni will open Hollywood & Vine tonight, its first production at the new Woodinville location. This show features performers that Seattle audiences have cherished over the years such as Christine Deaver and Domitil Aillot (formerly of Lés Petits Freres) as well as four new stars never before seen in the ZinZanni tent and an all-new menu created by James Beard Award-winning Chef Jason Wilson. Tickets for Hollywood & Vine are on sale now at ZinZanni.com/Seattle or by calling (206) 802-0015.