San Francisco loves Teatro Zinzanni

By Damon Lewis TeatroZinzanniTeatro Zinzanni San Francisco advertises itself as Love, Chaos & Dinner and it most certainly delivers on that claim. Located in the historic Pier 29 district of San Francisco’s Embarcadero, Teatro Zinzanni San Francisco has been described by some as “the Moulin Rougue meets Cirque du Soleil.” The show began originally in Seattle, Washington in 1998 and due to it’s widely successful run there, soon moved south to the fog filled confines of San Francisco’s bay waterfront district. Over the many years of its production here in The City, Teatro Zinzanni San Francisco has lured many famed performers from all spectrums of performing arts to take a part in it’s production to the wide acclaim of critics the Nation over. This production is arguably as good as Beach Blanket Babylon in the realm of offbeat performing arts, and also commands just as many loyal fans, which flock to the performances on a nightly basis. This article is meant to focus not only on the obvious things that make Teatro Zinzanni San Francisco what it is as a performing arts spectacle, but also to focus on the many perks that come along with a night in “the mirror tent” and the evolution of the show in regards to where they get their material. And finally, a wholesome look into the cultural phenomenon that Teatro Zinzanni San Francisco has become during its short stay along the gurgling waterfront of The San Francisco Bay. Teatro Zinzanni San Francisco is a bewitching evening of European Cabaret and Circue, Divas and Madmen, Spectacle and Sensuality with live music and a five-course dinner throughout the performance. All of this is set in what the performers refer to as the nightclub of your dreams. Teatro Zinzanni San Francisco takes place inside what is known as a Belgian “Spiegel tent,” translated as a Belgian Mirror Tent, which accentuates every bit of action and dazzle that the performers have to throw at their unwitting guests. Teatro Zinzanni San Francisco was created by the parent company of Teatro Zinzanni Seattle, a Pacific Northwest non-profits art group and enjoyed a 14 month sold-out run in its very first season. Teatro Zinzanni San Francisco proudly represents the Bay Area’s thirst for such fantastic performing arts by matching that kind of community enthusiasm with its changing cast of world-class practitioners of some of the oldest and most time-honored traditions in entertainment. The so-called “Jewell Box” venue boasts some of the industry’s finest talents performing some of the most spectacular acts. Teatro Zinzanni San Francisco has been running wild for over nine years with no sign of stopping, and has grown to be regarded as on of San Francisco’s finest instances of performing arts in the city. As a self-proclaimed gourmand, I find the menu of Teatro Zinzanni San Francisco to be almost as intriguing as the show itself. Their first course of an Early Summer Corn Flan with Pickled Red Onion Relish & Olive Oil Crackers , Soup of a White Bean Puree, Early Summer Lettuces with a Mango Vinaigrette as the Salad Course all set the tone for the impending entrees. Guests have the choice of Beef Filet Mignon, Roasted Chicken Breast or the House Vegetarian Option. This is not your typical rubbery chicken meal you might find at a second-class hotel wedding, the dinner is actually up to par with something you might find at a ritzy San Francisco dining establishment. Dessert is also included in your price of admission and changes regularly depending on what is in season and what the culinary market has to offer. Teatro Zinzanni San Francisco certainly delivers on their claims of a well-presented meal to go along with the show. Teatro Zinzanni San Francisco boasts an All-Star Cast of performers who are both regularly part of the show as well as only part-time. The cast changes frequently, as performers cut their professional teeth performing nightly for the show. Regulars such as Edna Wright from the Los Angeles-based group the Honey Cone, Latari Martin also of Los Angeles performing fame, and Melodye Perry of previous music industry fame are just a few of the notable regulars who perform for Teatro Zinzanni San Francisco. The Teatro Zinzanni Orchestra consists of pianist and conductor Russ Long, Karl Theobald on woodwinds, bassists Will Hendricks, Nadir Jeevanjee as percussionist and Evan Price on the violin. Special guest performers are constantly being rotated in and out of the cast, and it is not uncommon to spot a guest performer of some amount of fame at any time during a performance of Teatro Zinzanni San Francisco. Some of the lesser known acts are the three French brothers who are third-generation acrobats performing such feats as body juggling, which they have performed for some of the Worlds’ most distinguished clientele. Elena Borodina performs mystifying handstand routines unheard of outside of Teatro Zinzanni San Francisco and Joe De Paul of Cirque du Soleil fame returns to his prior form with his now famous clown act. The list of performers goes on and on, and one must actually experience the performance for a true sense of what this fantastic show has to offer. Tickets to Teatro Zinzanni San Francisco can be purchased on their website There are performances of Teatro Zinzanni San Francisco five days a week, from Wednesday all the way until Sunday with ticket prices being a bit more pricey on Friday and Saturday nights. Tickets range in price from $120 to $150 and include a five-course meal and three hour performance. For the price of conventional theatre tickets and a five-course meal at another restaurant, one could expect to pay considerably more than the price of a night at Teatro Zinzanni San Francisco. Reviews for the show as well as the food have consistently fared in the extremely positive, despite the occasional disappointment from the regular theatre crowd. SF Weekly advised potential patrons to “expect unremitting exuberance,” The New York Times called Teatro Zinzanni San Francisco “the city’s hottest ticket” and The San Francisco Chronicle printed that it was “captivating entertainment…a delicious diversion.” Overall, there are very few disappointing reviews of Teatro Zinzanni San Francisco anywhere to be found, and a single night of attendance will confirm that this is a special gem parked on the San Francisco Bay’s waterfront. With easy access to the location via buses, streetcars or taxicabs, there is little reason to not at least give Teatro Zinzanni San Francisco an honest day in court. With all of the great things do in San Francisco it is amazing that something like Teatro Zinzanni garners such rave reviews and positive reactions from patrons and critics alike. Whether attending for the first time on a Friday night date, or as a group from work that they are more than happy to accommodate; Teatro Zinzanni San Francisco is without a doubt a great night out and a bargain event unlike anything else that exists in San Francisco.