Luminaire lights up the big top

Sat. September 24, 2022 12:00 AM
by Jerry Nunn

For those that don't know Luminaire describes someone who is enlightened and shines bright in their life. It's a suitable title for Cabaret ZaZou's latest presentation in the Chicago theater district this fall. 

Located in the Cambria Hotel building at 32 W. Randolph Street, this brand-new show opened under the vintage Spiegeltent in early September 2022. There have been other incarnations of this project over the years but this latest show improves and learns from some of the previous Teatro's mistakes. 

Frank Ferrante has returned to the fold after his successful run in Teatro ZinZanni. New cast members have joined the team and vocalist Liv Warfield is simply a treasure hitting notes straight from heaven. Contortionist Ulzii Mergen shows her flexibility skills making it look easy and Juggler Viktor Kee just never seems to drop the ball. 

This dinner and show spectacle has found its footing in this immersive space. In the past, the warmup at the beginning with the various characters feigning accidents was so intense and frenetic that it was a challenge to digest food afterward. Things have calmed down, including Ferrante, who has found his pace and is more comfortable than ever before performing his antics with diners around the stage. Many of the circus tricks are held towards the end of the show which has also made a more relaxing experience for patrons. 

Director Dreya Weber gets it right this time after co-directing and choreographing three shows for Teatro ZinZannin in the past. 

Weber brings just the right amount of sexy experience to the table after working the male burlesque franchise Magic Mike Live Las Vegas and on HBO Max's Finding Magic Mike. She also previously worked with singer Pink so she obviously knows how to handle a swinging acrobat or two. 

There is a bit of a plot thanks to Ferrante but it is all just an excuse to lead to the next captivating cirque act. 

Another important component of Luminaire is the multicourse dinner that runs throughout the evening. The service has come a long way since the early days and not requiring the servers to perform too often in the show leaves them to be more attentive to the guests. The new chef has revamped the menu with fresh dips, slickly executed salad, grilled steak with fries and a satisfying crispy salmon entree. The chocolate dessert hit the spot and ask your server to wash it down with coffee or an after-dinner drink provided by the bar. Little touches like this make all the difference in the world and should prove valuable for the overall business model of Randolph Entertainment LLC with many return customers in the future. 

Stop clowning around and visit to book tickets as soon as possible. Life is a Cabaret ZaZou, old chum!