In anticipation of Teatro ZinZanni‘s upcoming first-ever ZinZanniversary Benefit Gala on Sunday, November 1, we sat down with Artistic Director Norm Langill and original cast member comedian Kevin Kent (known as “Cookie,” “Mabel Dean” and now as “Clifton Caswell”) to reminisce about the early beginnings of the show. What was expected then to be a three or four month run in 1998 is now about to celebrate its 11th year anniversary, having served over one million audience members in two tents in two cities.
The ZinZanniversary performance on Sunday, November 1 reunites original cast members Kevin Kent, French Canadienne wild woman Dolorèze Léonard (the original Madame ZinZanni) and the ruby-throated vocalist Ann Wilson, our original chanteuse, and oh yeah, one of the two sisters in that mega group Heart.
The beneficiary of the Gala is the ZinZanni Institute for Circus Arts, Teatro ZinZanni’s education program. Dedicated to the preservation, development and enhancement of ancient and contemporary circus arts, including Juggling, Clowning, Magic and Acrobatics with an emphasis on all aspects of performance and production, ZICA offers programs ranging from master classes taught by resident performers to technical or artistic apprenticeships and summer camps.
Listen now as Kevin and Norm take a walk down memory lane to those early days of a tent atop a mud puddle surrounded by three temporary trailers, to a time where a rock diva sang a duet with an opera singer (no easy feat), when an improvisational performer transformed his character from a southern gas station attendant to a memorable cross-dressing chef, and a hit was born.