TZ On The Move
Right Back to Where We Started, Only Better
Last week we spoke with Steve Quinn over lunch at The 5 Spot. Steve is the site development manager for Teatro ZinZanni and he told us about the design history of our new facility.
Once the ideal site for Teatro ZinZanni’s new home was identified, we hired Dave Rutherford with A R C Architects to design a new permanent structure for Mercer Street. Dave designed a smart, shining steel building that met all our needs and then some.
However, a building of this type was determined to be too expensive and at the end of the day the One Reel Board asked us to revisit the plan.
Teatro ZinZanni has a lot of experience with modular buildings. In San Francisco, Teatro’s dressing rooms, offices and wardrobe are comprised of stock units. We like them because they go together quickly, they are very durable and they perform well over time.
At first we took a look at modular buildings that come right off the shelf, triple-wides that we could modify. But our needs were so specific and idiosyncratic that we couldn’t make existing floor plans work, and then there was the added drawback of not finding any stock available…
At about the same time, TZ’s Artistic Director Norm Langill had a conversation with a local developer, who told us about HybridSeattle. HybridSeattle’s mission is to look for short-term solutions (like properties in high traffic areas that are in transition such as parking lots slated for development) and create “portable capital investments,” essentially moveable buildings.
Our current lease with Seattle Opera is for four years on the Mercer site. If at the end of four years, we need to move again, we can and we won’t have to reinvest in that construction.
HybridSeattle, in turn, told us about Transform, a construction company based in Bellingham, specializing in system-built, environmentally friendly buildings. Transform is a subsidiary of Cabochon Construction.. HybridSeattle was already working with Transform on a model project now on display for the next 90 days at Rainier Square.
Transform’s advantages for construction in a climate control setting where everything is automated really appealed to us because in addition to optimizing the number of cuts (and thus minimize waste), we could meet our schedule. So while we were prepping the site – draining, grating, pouring footings, Transform was fabricating the buildings.
The idea was to put the spiegeltent in the center and place the prefabricated buildings around the periphery. A R C Architect Dave Rutherford created new plans that sailed through the design review process with flying colors.
Once Willy Klessens, his son Johnny and his brother-in-law Derek, reassembled the tent, the buildings have been craned into place. We installed a total of five modular buildings: they comprise the bar, lobby and some office areas, about 4300 square feet total. They were driven down I-5 between Midnight and 4:00 a.m., never more than two per night. The longest ones are 68 feet long (the legal maximum) and they are all 13 feet tall, (the legal maximum). We craned them into position using Ness Crane’s largest moveable crane, 550-ton capacity. Now we’re in the final phase of on-site construction of the connecting structures – the main lobby, connecting hallways, etc.
Since 1998, Teatro ZinZanni has presented over 3500 shows to over 850,000 patrons in two cities over the past nine years. We regularly receive invitations from cities all over the world to come and perform. Moving back to Mercer has been the opportunity to create the most flexible venue possible so that we’ll be able to relocate easily and efficiently. In essence our new building is the 21st century version of our 20th century spiegeltent.
So what’s new?
Actually, very little. The tent is pretty much the same as it ever was, except that now it’s fully air-conditioned. We have programmed the surrounding building for a smoother, more efficient food service operation and for cast operations. In essence we took our old building at the Cadillac dealership and slimmed it down, made it more economical and efficient.
Grand Re-Opening November 28
Teatro ZinZanni reopens its magical mirror tent on Wednesday, November 28, 2007 at its brand new facility at 222 Mercer Street with an all-new show, Hearts on Fire. Teatro ZinZanni is a three-hour whirlwind of cirque, cabaret and comedy all served up with a five-course gourmet feast designed by celebrated Northwest chef Tom Douglas. (New menu will be announced in late October.)
Starring disco diva, Thelma Houston, as Madame ZinZanni, Hearts on Fire ignites with the fiery and feisty talents of Seattle comedienne Christine Deaver as the embodiment of the ZinZanni muse and smoldering Latino heartthrob El Vez (Robert Lopez). Thelma and friends promise to bring down the house as the tent moves to its new (old) location in Seattle Centers Theatre District on Mercer Street. This address is the exact spot where Teatro was first launched in 1998. Hearts on Fire will have more than just hearts spinning as audience favorites Sergiy Krutikov (Russia) and Tuan Le (Viet Nam), both astonishingly accomplished jugglers, combine forces in the world premiere of an all-new act.Rounding out the international cast of clowns, cabaret and cirque performers are the sexy and mischievous Parisian acrobats Les Petits Freres, the exotic Russian hand-balancer Vita Radinova, and Seattles own opera singer, Rachel DeShon. Making their Seattle debut in Teatro ZinZanni are American aerialists Erika and Andrew. Hearts on Fire is directed by Teatro ZinZannis artistic director and founder Norm Langill with musical direction by Norm Durkee. Bianca Sappetto is the choreographer with costume design by Louise DiLenge.
Join us in November when we reopen our sparkling mirror tent at 222 Mercer Street with an all-new show - Hearts on Fire. Starring our favorite disco diva, Thelma Houston, as Madame ZinZanni, "Hearts on Fire" also ignites with the fiery and fiesty talents of Chef Penelope Wilde (Seattle comedienne Christine Deaver) and the smoldering Latino heartthrob El Vez. Thelma and friends bring down the house as the tent moves to its new location in the theatre district on Mercer Street near Seattle Center. "Hearts on Fire" is one part dance party, one party Kit Kat Club on acid. Don't miss the newest show at Teatro ZinZanni.
Tickets for the November and December performances of Hearts on Fire go on sale on Tuesday, August 7th at 11 a.m. at our box office's new location on the construction site at 222 Mercer Street at 3rd Avenue N. You can also call (206)802-0015 or order online at zinzanni.org.
So even though there's no show from August 6th to early November, you can still find us on the web. Check back for updates and news about our move.
TZ's Magical Mirror Tent Reopens on Mercer Street this November
Our new site, in lower Queen Anne on Mercer and Roy Streets between 2nd and 3rd Avenues North, marks a return to the original site where we made our debut in 1998.
“Our goal has been to design a new venue that continues to deliver the entertainment experience of a lifetime for our guests,” said Teatro ZinZanni’s Executive Director Annie Jamison. “All of the elements that succeed in transporting our guests to another world – the tent, the lobby, the food and the bar - will be improved. We have emerged from the planning process with a new design that preserves the special portable nature of our unique venue, yet allows us to improve patron amenities and operational systems.”
Hailed by The New York Times as “this city’s hottest ticket” when it opened in 1998, Teatro ZinZanni has been delighting audiences with its three-hour swirling stream of performance, music and comedy all presented in the elegance and intimate comfort of a beautiful, antique Belgian spiegeltent or mirror tent. This unique, hand-crafted wooden pavilion, originally built in the nineteen-teens by the Klessens family as a wine-tasting venue and a dance hall, features a circular exterior and lavishly appointed interior filled with red velvet, gold brocade, mirrors, carved wood, stained glass and a planked floor. Designed to be erected and break down in a hurry, Klessens’ spiegeltents require no metal fasteners and can be assembled by a team of three or four in a single day.
The first spiegeltent, Le Palais Nostaligique, was erected on Mercer Street in 1998. After 14 sold out months, Teatro ZinZanni moved that tent down to San Francisco in 2000 and set it up on the Embarcadero where it continues to play to capacity audiences today. In 2002, the Klessens agreed to provide an unprecedented second tent, called the Moulin Rouge and it opened in Seattle in the old Frederick Cadillac dealer showroom at 6th & Battery. Clise Properties, owners of the site, have recently sold the building.
The Mercer Street site is property owned by Seattle Opera, and is currently in use as a parking lot. The property was deeded to Seattle Opera by the Kreielsheimer Foundation in 2000 for use as a future home. The agreement allows Seattle Opera to utilize the site in a revenue-producing mode until ready to proceed with future development plans.
The new building has been designed by Stephen Quinn, site development manager for all four of Teatro ZinZanni’s locations, and Louise DiLenge, original founding member of One Reel and chief designer for Teatro ZinZanni, with guidance from A R C Architects. Construction will be completed off site by Transform, a Bellingham-based company specializing in system-built, environmentally friendly buildings. Transform is a subsidiary of Cabochon Construction. Landscape design is by Kenichi.
Quinn who has been with the project since 1996, likens the construction process to filming a movie. “Things will initially come together out of order. But we’re able to meet our timeline by having Transform build pieces off site in a climate-controlled environment. We’ll bring in all the finished components together all at once, crane them into place and then pop up the tent from inside.”
Louise DiLenge has designed the exterior décor and the new lobby. Outside she created customized wall colors, including our very own Teatro ZinZanni starry, starry midnight blue faade. For the new lobby, Louise will create an even more romantic environment than our current lobby with deeper richer colors, swirling spiral motifs, loopy Veneitan plaster and crystal chandeliers.
“Once inside, our guests will feel like the building has been here for a hundred years,” said Louise. “From the secret rendezvous nooks to the antique tin ceiling to the metallic mesh curtains set with faceted jewels, everything will conspire to make the patron swoon.”
“When we first launched Teatro ZinZanni in 1998, we really didn’t know what to expect,” said Teatro ZinZanni’s artistic director and One Reel’s founding president Norm Langill. “Now we’ve presented over 3500 shows to over 850,000 patrons in two cities over the past nine years. We regularly receive invitations from cities all over the world to come and perform. Moving back to Mercer has been the opportunity to create the most flexible venue possible so that we’ll be able to relocate easily and efficiently. And it’s very important to me that our new building is built green. In essence our new building is the 21st century version of the our 20th century spiegeltent.”