Image: Teatro ZinZanni
We’re nearly at the end of the year, and New Years Eve celebrations are just around the corner. I love the dazzle of the evening, when hopes and dreams are toasted and the New Year comes to life with bubbly champagne and maybe a touch of magic and romance that follows you home.
This same sense of wonder and exhilaration doesn’t need to be reserved only for New Years Eve. When you step inside any of several cabaret-style Seattle performing arts venues, you’ll be treated to theatrical surroundings and supremely entertaining, absolutely zany productions with a high razzle-dazzle quotient. Even better, all the hijinks and high-wire acts take place while you’re enjoying a lovely dinner out with friends or family.
ZANINESS ABOUNDS WITH TEATRO ZINZANNI
Seattle’s very own Teatro ZinZanni (celebrating its 25th year in 2023)) can be thought of as a mini-me of Cirque du Soleil, except that it’s dinner theater, and on a more-intimate scale. Their motto is “Love, chaos and dinner,” which perfectly sums it up.
The pace is always breathtaking as performers dash through the audience creating feats of magic, maybe balancing an unbelievable number of items in the air, while an aerialist performs high overhead and characters such as the yodeling dominatrix (always a part of the show) weave a tale of love. There is so much going on around and above that it can be hard to know which direction to swivel your head in, and you may find yourself a part of the act—be forewarned!
Their current show,” Coming Home,” with dinner by Herban Feast, runs through February 19 in an industrial setting at SODO Park.
CABARET IN THE MARKET
Set in a quintessential Seattle locale, the Pike Place Market, Can Can Culinary Cabaret puts on engaging theatrical productions in a space that evokes turn-of-the-20th century Paris. You can expect dramatic costumes and acrobatic acts accompanied by a Pacific Northwest-style menu with ingredients sourced from the market.
The company’s early 2023 show, “House of Hearts” (through March), sounds really sweet: A princess falls in love with the town fool at the Broken Hearts Ball—in a kingdom where love is forbidden, with her actions upending the entire kingdom.
CIRQUE DU SOLEIL’S CORTEO DAZZLES
March also brings Cirque du Soleil to town with “Corteo” in Climate Pledge Arena (March 3-5; tickets are selling out fast). The show offers a parade of memories, reminisces of a clown who is on his deathbed. As with all Cirque shows, you can expect astonishing feats of physicality, high-wire-wire acts, an intense musical score and hilarious situations.
QUIRKY SOLSTICE CELEBRATION
While it’s not a performance in the traditional sense, the annual Fremont Solstice Parade (June 17, 2013) offers the same irreverent, flamboyant style of performance art you would see in any cabaret venue. Crowds gather every year at the Center of the Universe (aka Fremont, the city’s arts-centric neighborhood) for a human-powered parade with giant puppets, stilt walkers, floats, dancers and entries that tilt toward silliness. The Naked Bicycle Ride kicks off the festivities, with riders zipping by in colorful painted-on costumes. As you might expect, no one comes late to this parade!
SATURDAY NIGHT DINNER THEATER
If you can’t work any of these events into your visit you’re still in luck. Every Saturday night The Pink Door restaurant, in the Pike Place Market, hosts a late-night dinner and cabaret show. The shows are highly eclectic—you might be treated to singing, magic, aerial arts or any number of fun surprises. Both the performances and the food are fantastic.
The Pink Door is one of Seattle’s top restaurants, and it produces some truly top-notch Italian dishes. In true speakeasy fashion, there is no signage. You’ll need to look for, as you might have guessed, a pink door, in the market’s Post Alley.