The Fremocentrist.com Art Inventory

From Fremont to the Velvet Spiegeltent

by Kirby Lindsay, posted 8 October 2014

 

For its spectacular shows, Teatro ZinZanni draws on talent from all over the world, including Fremont.  Photo by Keith Brofsky

For its spectacular shows, Teatro ZinZanni draws on talent from all over the world, including Fremont. Photo by Keith Brofsky

Right now, at Teatro ZinZanni, under the spiegeltent in the Queen Anne neighborhood, audiences can enjoy ‘Beaumount & Caswell Hacienda Holiday,’ through January 31, 2015.  This original circus cabaret show features a cast of singers, jugglers, dancers and acrobats, including the aerial act, Duo Rose.  Duo Rose will make their Teatro debut with ‘Hacienda Holiday’, becoming yet another in a growing list of performers that have entranced audiences at Moisture Festival, and then, at the delectable, delightful and delicious dinner circus.

“We get approached all the time,” acknowledged Reenie Duff, Teatro’s Associate Artistic Director.  She and Casting Manager Tim Gonzalez often have performers, from around the world, asking to join Teatro.  ‘We’ve heard ZinZanni is the best dinner theater in the world,’ Gonzalez and Duff get told.

Duo Rose, now from Germany, were first spotted by ZinZanni Assoc Artistic Director Reenie Duff at Moisture Festival.  Photo by Alan Alabastro

Duo Rose, now from Germany, were first spotted by ZinZanni Assoc Artistic Director Reenie Duff at Moisture Festival. Photo by Alan Alabastro

“…but we also try to dig deep,” Duff acknowledged.  She and Gonzalez travel, scout and audition acts that might bring something new, different or magical to the Teatro’s original shows.  “Tim or I might spend hours on-line trying to research,” for an act that will complete the ensemble perfectly.  “It’s important for the audience to know that we’re constantly working to keep the show fresh, new and funny,” Duff said, “We always deliver better than we’ve delivered before.”

Duo Rose And Prime Time

Duff first saw Duo Rose at Moisture Festival, at Hale’s Palladium in Fremont.  Duff couldn’t be sure what year it was – in 2010 or 2011 – because, “when I first saw them, I thought they had potential but I wasn’t ready to book them.”  Gonzalez estimated that the Duo hadn’t been together very long then.

“We have criteria,” Duff said, “about what may make us stand up and salute.”  Teatro has a solid reputation for high-quality entertainment because Gonzalez and Duff take seriously championing only talent that can truly shine in a Teatro show.  “We’re looking for the best of the best,” Gonzalez explained, “we’re not the place to get your feet wet.”

In their shared office at Teatro ZinZanni, Reenie Duff & Tim Gonzalez stand in front of the poster from last year's April Fool's Day show with Moisture Festival.  Photo by K. Lindsay, Sep '14

In their shared office at Teatro ZinZanni, Reenie Duff & Tim Gonzalez stand in front of the poster from last year’s April Fool’s Day show with Moisture Festival. Photo by K. Lindsay, Sep ’14

Yet, they will give performers a chance after their feet are wet.  “The second time I saw them,” Duff said of Duo Rose, “I saw how much they grew,” in a relatively short time, “and I thought they were ready for prime time!”

From Vaudeville To Ballet

Another aerial act, Duo Madrona, also appeared first at Moisture Festival and then at Teatro.  Duff acknowledged that after she saw Duo Madrona appearing in a prestigious aerial festival in Paris, she approached them and worked with them to help them prepare for Teatro.

Teatro ZinZanni shows have a story line, with the aerial, juggling, singing and other bits of business as pieces of the story.  “We’re creating a story that features these 9 or ten different artists,” Duff explained, along with creating original costumes, music, lighting and sets for each show.  This can all be a shift for established acts that have never done anything but their act.  “This is their first gig,” Gonzalez said of Duo Rose, “where they are doing more than their act.  It is very common in the circus industry, just doing the act.”

Christine Deaver and Kevin Kent in Hacienda Holiday at Teatro ZinZanni.  Photo by Alan Alabastro, 2014

Christine Deaver and Kevin Kent in Hacienda Holiday at Teatro ZinZanni. Photo by Alan Alabastro, 2014

Duff and Gonzalez, when casting, have challenged performers to stretch from their regular act.  In ‘Hacienda Holiday’ Ariana Lallone, a 24-year veteran ballerina from the Pacific Northwest Ballet, puts on her pointe shoes and does an acrobatic modern ballet.  Duff had thought the 5’11” ballerina would be a spectacular addition to the show, and her instinct has proven right.  Since retiring from the ballet in 2011, this is Lallone’s third show with Teatro.  Duff describes her as a “force of nature” particularly now that they’ve got her flying through the air…

The Tried, True and Utterly Talented

Yet, as often as Duff and Gonzalez seek out new acts, from Las Vegas or Hale’s, they also depend upon the proven performers that Teatro audiences know and love.  ‘Beaumount & Caswell Hacienda Holiday’ features two characters originally created at a previous Teatro performance by Christine Deaver and Kevin Kent.  While both have performed before for Teatro, Kent actually started with ZinZanni at its inaugural season in 1998.

Vertical Tango, appearing again in 'Beaumount & Caswell Hacienda Holiday' at Teatro ZinZanni.  Photo by Alan Alabastro, 2014.

Vertical Tango, appearing again in ‘Beaumount & Caswell Hacienda Holiday’ at Teatro ZinZanni. Photo by Alan Alabastro, 2014.

Another ‘Hacienda Holiday’ act, Vertical Tango, makes their return to Teatro.  The husband and wife team first auditioned for Duff when Teatro had a show in San Francisco.  Vertical Tango put together an act specifically for ZinZanni, that convinced Duff to give them a try.  “They’ve been a strong act for us,” Duff praised, “they make it look like you could do what they do.”  Gonzalez also acknowledged the quality; “their act always gets a standing ovation!”

“One of the best things about ZinZanni performers is their fabulousness,” Gonzalez praised, “their fearlessness, and their willingness.”  Teatro ZinZanni offers a circus show unlike any other, and performances that leave you spellbound.

See the hard work Duff and Gonzalez did to assemble Duo Rose, Vertical Tango, Ariana Lallone, Christine Deaver, Kevin Kent, Gamal David Garcia, El Vez – the Mexican Elvis – Robert Lopez for ‘Beaumount & Caswell Hacienda Holiday’ at Teatro ZinZanni.  The show runs until January 31st, but get your tickets now for the show, and a delicious meal created Chef Erik Carlson, through the ZinZanni website, and expect to be impressed!

 

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©2014 Kirby Lindsay.  This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws.  Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.

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