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Zinzanni's Elvis extravaganza ends soon, comic Wagnerian Ring evening begins

Christine Deaver as m.c. Grace Hansen, invoking the Gods (photo William Anthony)

Teatro Zinzanni is continuing their successful version of very-upscale dinner theater with the current show, Return to Paradise. Return to Paradise brings us to World’s Fair Seattle circa 1962 and has Elvis visiting our fair city. He has a crew of adoring backup singers who help him out, along with some terrific physical acts and great early rock and roll.

The dinner of cheese-and-crackers, butternut squash soup, wedge salad, choice of beef tenderloin, halibut or acorn squash, and a chocolate mousse dessert is nicely done but not exciting. Still, it’s not likely to be difficult for picky eaters.

But the bigger-than-life emcee Christine Deaver makes the evening a delight and puts a permanent grin on your face. Deaver as Gracie Hansen knows a thing or two about working a room! Her Mae West persona commands respect and attention.

Elvis is played capably by Big Mike Geier, who has a nice Elvis sound, and he’s supported by Jimi Hendrix aka Thaddeus Turner, a local guitar expert. Rather than a soprano, add Jen Ayers as Linda Emery, who has a great pop voice and does right by the soft rock tunes from the ‘60s throughout the show.

The vaudeville acts include engaging Rui Ling who does an exciting “strap act,” Christopher Phi channeling Bruce Lee with acrobatics and martial arts moves, Elena Gatilova who did some beautiful hanging ring work and doubled as a very exotic Priscilla, and the amazing duo of Sam Payne and Sandra Feusi who took pole work to its highest level of achievement and were some of the funniest interacters.

While this show ends January 27th, don’t worry that you’ll miss your Zinzanni fix. They’re readying their next show right now, Dinner At Wontan’s, which will run from January 31-May 12. The description they give about who’s going to entertain you is, “Party like it’s Ragnarock! You’re invited on an epic adventure with Nordic gods Wotan, Thor, Freya and the gang as they celebrate the end of the world as they know it (don’t worry, it’s better the next time around!). Gain admission to Valhalla and sup on a feast fit for the gods. It’s like Wagner’s The Ring, only funny!”

In fact, while much of the cast changes for the next show, the amazing pole acrobats Payne and Feusi, known as the Vertical Duo, will continue to perform for the next “cycle.” Returning performers also include prima ballerina Ariana Lallone and the “Swedish Tommy Tune” Tobias Larsson, among others.

Tickets are here or call 206- 802-0015.