¡Caliente! at Teatro ZinZanni and
¡Caliente! Dishes up the Laughs at Teatro ZinZanni
The story this time? As directed with panache and zippy pacing by Ricardo Salinas, there's a hostile takeover of ZinZanni afoot with tall Texan-type wheeler dealer "Mr. Otis" (played by "Big Mike" Geier, the show's operatic basso profundo). He arrives to announce plans to plow down Teatro's Spiegeltent and build (just what Seattle is lacking!) a huge condo development to rise to the heights of the Space Needle, with funding from his moneyed and musical theatre loving producer, Mr. Ching (the rabidly talented and bubbly aerialist Ling Rui). But brother and sister buffoons, Cinco and Tres, played to the hilt by Robert Lopez (known to many in his other comic guise "El Vez") and Christine Deaver (a big boned gal with a voice to rival Merman), and the "kitchen staff" are determined to keep ZinZanni the way audiences love it.
That means that such favorites as the always amusing acrobatic trio Les Petit Frères, stunning and show-stopping Ukrainian contortionist/hula hoop artiste Vita Radionova, and dynamic dancer Ann Bernard are part of the plot to prevent the rise of the high rise, and sure enough, before long "Mr. Otis" is made up a la Pagliacci and the show seems destined to go on.
In-house choreographer Tobias Larsson, musical director Norman Durkee, and costume designer Louise Dilenge are ZinZanni veterans, who never lose the flair and spirit that this blend of dinner theatre mixed with Cirque du Soleil. Though ¡Caliente! is perhaps not the best of the four or five ZinZanni shows I have seen, it is still a worthy new effort and Teatro ZinZanni remains one of the best entertainment and dinner values in all of Seattle.
¡Caliente! runs through June 10, 2012 at Teatro ZinZanni 222 Mercer Street at 3rd Avenue North, near Seattle Center. For ticket prices, show times and other information go to www.dreams.zinzanni.org.
Arnaldo, Jeanette D'Armand and several others filled the other slots in the Egan's outings, and Seattle is fortunate to have Pacific Northwest Cabaret Association and its affiliated artists to keep the American songbook from fading into a distant memory for night life lovers.