TEATRO ZINZANNI – A Tenth Anniversary Gala Celebration

“Hearts On Fire” now through May 16th
Opening May 20th – “Love, Chaos, & Couture” – with Liliane Montevecchi and Frank Ferrante

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By Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

San Francisco’s love affair with Teatro ZinZanni is now ten years old. Its fanciful entrance at Pier 29 has absorbed into the panorama and pulse of The Embarcadero. Once inside its “spiegeltent” the visitor is absorbed into the enticing world of European Cabaret and the daring bravado of world class Cirque performers. Everywhere is the captivating magic of shimmering glitz, innumerable mirrors, sparkling candelabras, lustrous stained glass, feathers, brilliants and beads. Fabric dressings throughout the jewel box theatre are abundant, lush and vibrant – draped, gathered, and pleated from the floor to the lofty central peak where aerial acrobats Andrew Adams and Erika Gilfether are defying gravity. This past Friday evening the interaction was all about the show’s Tenth Anniversary and its celebration of “Love, Chaos & Dinner”.

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ANDREW ADAMS and ERIKA GILFETHER

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JOAN BAEZ and YEVGENIY VORONIN
Photo, Seán Martinfield

Special guest entertainers included the production’s original “Contessa ZinZanni”, Joan Baez (sporting a rose and a pair of handcuffs), and intriguing Ukrainian illusionist Yevgeniy Voronin. Milt Larsen, founder of LA’s Magic Castle, was there along with Toni Aspin, Chief Executive Officer of One Reel – the founding company of Teatro ZinZanni. Also on hand were associate artistic director Reenie Duff, company managing director Patrick Markle, restaurant manager Nicole Whitten, and artist Mark Stock. The current show, Hearts On Fire, now through May 14th, features Grammy Award winning Thelma Houston. The legendary disco/soul/R&B diva is still on fire. Fabulously costumed by long-term resident designer Beaver Bauer, Thelma Houston is totally beautiful and in top-of-the-charts vocal form. Also featured is the outrageous actor-singer-writer-director Christine Deaver. In-between soup and salad, entree and dessert her amazing talents for improvisation were heaped upon two willing guests who surrendered themselves to the spotlight and to her very persuasive spell. “What’s that I see?” she cries. “A look of fear? Danger! Intrigue! Lederhosen! You ain’t gonna see anything like this in Peter Pan!”

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CHRISTINE DEAVER
Photo, SM

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THELMA HOUSTON
Photo, Michael Doucett

The five course meal is perfectly paced throughout the show. Executive Chef Patrick Fassino’s Crab Louie Timbale is the best in San Francisco. Everyone at my table sighed over their entrée of Ancho Rubbed Spring Lamb. I went for a popular Tuscan favorite, Porcini Wild Mushroom Farro Risotto. Topped by shavings of parmesan cheese, the texture was perfect. All of a sudden, it’s all about El Vez – Teatro ZinZanni’s splendrous crooner, the Mexican Elvis. Fast on his heels are the acrobatic antics of Gregory Marquet, Mickael Bajazet and Domitil Aillot – “Les Petits Frères”. Contortionist Vita Radionova wowed the audience as silver hula hoops spun around and caressed her entire body. It started with four and climaxed with 21. Joan Baez was stunning as her sultry tones crooned over a “do right all night man”. And classical vocalist Rachel Deshon, bedecked in feathers, flaunted her lyric soprano chops in an exquisite rendition of Puccini’s popular aria from La Rondine (The Swallow), “Ch’il bel sogno di Doretta”.

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RACHEL DESHON, Soprano
Photo, SM

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NICOLE WHITTEN and MAESTRO VORONIN
Nicole Whitten, restaurant manager for Teatro ZinZanni, and
the “Maestro” Voronin celebrate 10 years before the show.
Drew Altizer Photography

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Reenie Duff, associate artistic director of Teatro ZinZanni, celebrates
the tenth anniversary with company managing director Patrick Markle.
Drew Altizer Photography

Hats off and masks raised to lighting designer Peter Bracilano. Underscoring the enchanted evening is musical director, Norman Durkee. It’s all about timing. Mr. Durkee and the members of the Teatro ZinZanni Orchestra are at one with the split-second tricks, landings, pratfalls, punch-lines, and power vocals of the most amazing collection of performers in town. Teatro Zinzanni is a dazzling jewel in The City’s crown.
Click here to purchase tickets on-line: Hearts On Fire

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Arlene and Milt Larsen (The Magic Castle, LA) with Norm Langill, founder of One Reel.
Drew Altizer Photography

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TONI ASPIN and SEÁN MARTINFIELD
Presenting Mayor Gavin Newsom’s Proclamation
“Teatro ZinZanni Day In San Francisco!”
Drew Altizer Photography

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Visit Seán on YouTube:
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DALILAH – In residence at San Francisco’s de Young Museum

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Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Seán Martinfield, who also serves as Fine Arts Critic, is a native San Franciscan. He is a Theatre Arts Graduate from San Francisco State University, a professional singer, and well-known private vocal coach to Bay Area actors and singers of all ages and persuasions. His clients have appeared in Broadway National Tours including Wicked, Aïda, Miss Saigon, Rent, Bye Bye Birdie, in theatres and cabarets throughout the Bay Area, and are regularly featured in major City events including Diva Fest, Gay Pride, and Halloween In The Castro. As an Internet consultant in vocal development and audition preparation he has published thousands of responses to those seeking his advice concerning singing techniques, professional and academic auditions, and careers in the Performing Arts. Mr. Martinfield’s Broadway clients have all profited from his vocal methodology, “The Belter’s Method”, which is being prepared for publication. If you want answers about your vocal technique, post him a question on AllExperts.com. If you would like to build up your vocal performance chops and participate in the Bay Area’s rich theatrical scene, e-mail him at: sean.martinfield@comcast.net.


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