The bottom line
Classic rock hits, contortionists, trapeze artists, tap dancers and props ranging from a huge swing to a giant, glowing yo-yo: Only Teatro ZinZanni could take these disparate elements (and many more) and weave them into a show, Dream On, that's engaging enough to leave kids and their classic rock-loving parents both beaming and doing the rock scream.
Dream On is ZinZanni's latest Big Top Rock production, an all-ages show that's much shorter (75 minutes) and more affordable ($19–$22) than ZinZanni's famous nighttime extravaganzas.
The show takes place in the same atmospheric spiegeltent as other ZinZanni shows; guests are seated in chairs or booths, but kids can set up camp in a special “mosh pit” just for them in front of the stage where they'll get extra interaction. The action starts on the stage, where live rock band Dream On, led by awesome singer Jen Ayers (Jenny Jupiter in the show), performs cover after cover of favorite ‘80s tunes, from “We Got the Beat” to “I Love Rock and Roll” to Aerosmith's “Dream On.” The music is loud enough that neither parents nor kids will feel self-conscious singing along (turns out my 6-year-old nephew knows Blondie's “Rapture” by heart).
Jenny serves as the main M.C. for the show, but two super-enthusiastic, bandana-wearing characters named Jethro and Angus also take the mic, providing comic relief and mini-tutorials for kids on rock-fan skills: kicking, head shaking and the rock scream.
While the band did a “wicked awesome” job — as Jethro would say — of performing legendary rock songs up to glory-day standards, for me, the true highlight was the circus acts. A phenomenal tap dancing trio of kids from Rainier Valley, the NLC Sapphires, left us in awe. Headbanging Jethro — surprise! — turned out to be a ZinZanni circus star, doing twists and hangs on a rope, and then trapeze stunts with another ZinZanni performer, that made our arms ache in sympathy. A young contortionist redefined flexibiity. And the whole crew got the mosh-pit kids dancing in a victory parade to “We Are the Champions” that celebrated the Seahawks win.
Parents should know
The content of the show was as clean as a whistle. But — fair warning — the noise level was high, appropriate for a rock show, but tough on sensitive ears. Earplugs are provided, or bring your own.
- No meal is served, but you can buy snacks at the concession stand, including $1 popcorn and hot dogs.
- There are parking lots nearby, but if you arrive early you may be able to snag street parking.
- Lobby doors open at 10:30 a.m. and it’s worth showing up early to get snacks and explore the tent and photos.
- Photos aren’t allowed during performances, so plan to snap a few photos before or after the show.
If you go ...
Where: Teatro ZinZanni, 222 Mercer St., Seattle
Tickets: $19 for booth seating; $22 for chair seating; babes in arms free. Buy online.
When: May 24, May 25; June 14, June 15; June 21. All show at 11 a.m.