Folk and pop singer Joan Baez, making a career departure by taking on the character Contessa ZinZanni in the dinner-as-theatre Teatro ZinZanni, opens in her first threatrical venture Oct. 10 at San Francisco's Pier 27/29 on the Embarcadero. Baez appears with the production through Oct. 28.
Baez is best known for her politically active, singer-songwriter career in the 1960's when she recorded such hits as "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down," "Love Song to a Stranger," "Fountain of Sorrow," "Diamonds and Rust" and "Children and All That Jazz." She has been nominated for six Grammy Awards including Best Female Vocalist and has had eight Gold albums.
ZinZanni's evening of "Love, Chaos & Dinner" features Zoot, the shy bellboy and juggler (Patrick Leonard), American clown Andrea Conway, fresh from eight years with Cirque du Soleil's Saltimbanco, Canadian clown Andrea Conway as Rosette, Canadian trapeze artists duo Mouvance and Les Castors, three French brothers and the fifth Castor generation to join the circus.
Combining comedy, food service and the circus arts in an art nouveau ?spiegeltent? imported from Belgium, ZinZanni's evening of "Love, Chaos & Dinner" is also staffed with the world's most dominating Maitre d'Hotel, an emotional Chef de cuisine (Kevin Kent), a tap-dancing waiter (Wayne Doba) and the puckish dishwasher Juliette. Singing for their supper are the Diva and the Chanteuse, rotating roles for San Francisco's opera and cabaret singers (Kristin Clayton is currently performing as the Diva).
Teatro ZinZanni, using many of the same players assembled for Seattle, ran 14 months in Seattle after opening October, 1998 near the Seattle Center. Among the gourmet offerings on the menu are antipasto, roasted fennel parsnip soup, salad with a champagne vinaigrette, Cabernet Chicken Chasseur with Lyonnaise potatoes and asparagus and lemon-strawberry trifle for dessert. A vegetable entree is available on request.
Teatro Zinzanni began performances March 15, 2000 and has already extended six times, each for a six week interval. Tickets are $125. For reservations, call (415) 438-2668. Teatro Zinzanni is on the web at http://www.teatrozinzanni.org.
? By Christine Ehren