Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Teatro ZinZanni Presents Gangsters in Love

Joe Depaul and Ben Wendel stalking the lobby
at Teato ZinZanni's performance of "Gangsters in Love."

Mark Kitaoka

Madame ZinZanni is at it again with another exciting, funny and surprisingly elegant dinner under the big top. The dinner theatre production of “Gangsters in Love” is a 1930’s mad cap production that features singers, acrobats, circus tricks and a lot of laughs.

Teatro ZinZanni is located in the big spiegeltent (“mirror tent”) located in the Seattle Center. Inside, you’ll find guests wearing fedoras and feathers browsing the unique gift shop or attending the bar. After a brief wait to be seated, you’ll find an appetizer waiting for you at the table. After a few minutes, the show begins and is presented in three parts. During the intermissions, you’ll be served soup, salad, a main course and finally dessert. The seating is a little tight, but you are sure to forget about it once the three hours presentation begins.

There is a storyline to “Gangsters in Love” be it ever so slim. Chef Caesar has gambled the tent away to mob boss Big Sam Kincaid. While the performers at tent prepare for the new boss and his gang of wise guys to take things over, old flames are rekindled and a shocking secret is revealed. In short, it is a night a vaudeville-type of entertainment with short bits of comedy, music and feats of wonder.

While the storyline lacks substance, the performance does not. Even before you are seated, cast members are mingling in the crowd and many will visit your table. Some patrons even get to be part of the act in good-natured fun.

The large cast includes Andrea Conway Doba, who finds herself stuck in a chandelier. Her boyfriend, (and husband in real life), Wayne Doba, is an original Teatro ZinZanni cast member and a mean tap dancer. Frank Ferrante works double time playing both Chef Caesar and Big Sam Kincaid and is so good at playing both, that many attendees aren’t even aware that he is actually playing both roles. Caesar is a flamboyant character who tends to flirt with both genders in the audience, but is very much like an old Bugs Bunny cartoon. In contrast, Kincaid is a godfather, manly man. Dreya Weber plays Kincaid girlfriend from his past that both sings and does an aerial act. Rounding out the cast is Duo Madrona, a pair of acrobats, Bernard Hazen, a well-balanced master juggler; Joe Depaulwho does a hilarious acting out of a famous movie and Francine Reed, a Chicago-born songstress.

The meal presented is just as vibrant as the show. While most of the food is chosen for you, you are given the choice of three main entrees. No complaints were uttered at my table.

“Gangsters in Love” tickets are not cheap, but you get a lot of bang for your bucks and a lot of memories to share. Teatro isn’t for everyone. The program does feature some racy material, but most of it is in good taste. The performance is too long for most children, so it would be best to leave them home with a sitter and don’t even think about bringing a baby with you. However, the Sunday matinee show is better suited for families.
“Gangsters in Love” continues through September 30. Evening performances begin at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday and 5:30 p.m. on Sundays. Sunday matinees are presented at 11:30 a.m. Tickets range from $86-$141. Tickets can be ordered online or by calling 206.802.0015.

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