Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-12-13
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Carisa Hendrix mesmerizes as Lucy Darling in Teatro ZinZanni
by Jerry Nunn
2024-02-12

This article shared 1662 times since Mon Feb 12, 2024
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Since 2019, Teatro ZinZanni has gathered together amazing performers from all over the world to create an experience in Chicago under the Spiegeltent in the Cambria Hotel building, 32 W. Randolph St. Over the years, ticket holders have been captivated by a rotating cast of artists ranging from flexible acrobats to basketball jugglers.

Out and proud visionary Carisa Hendrix (she/they) recently joined the cast with her unique persona of Lucy Darling, an award-winning magician who creates illusions while engaging the audience with spontaneous interaction.

Born in Canada, this talented, queer overachiever was destined for greatness while living in Northern Saskatchewan for many years. She left small-town life behind for Calgary and studied avant-garde theater with the troupe One Yellow Rabbit to polish her craft. Hendrix describes herself as "a product of everything I grew up around. Comedy and improv was in the water in Calgary, and it's still the home for the longest-running weekly drag show in Canada called Carly's Angels, which was just two blocks away from my old house!"

This playground of creativity is where Lucy was born. Hendrix recalls, "I had invented several roaming characters for events, but wanted to move into the world of magic. I have always loved Hollywood starlets like Eartha Kitty and Zsa Zsa Gabor, so she is modeled after them. I eventually tried her out when I was in Australia and the show continually sold out. Half the stuff I say onstage I have never said before because it is all improvised!"

Windy City Times: How did you begin your journey with Teatro ZinZanni?

Carisa Hendrix: In 2019 I was doing a residency at the Chicago Magic Lounge and went to see a magician named Voronin perform in it. I spent half of the show crying because it was so incredible. I met the cast after and convinced them to see my show. Everyone knew I wanted to be a part of it, and I was offered this role. I took six months off to do ZinZanni and after I am finished I start touring again in 20 different cities!

WCT: How do you choose an audience member to be onstage with you for ZinZanni?

CH: I can always tell when someone wants to volunteer from eye contact and body posture. I can smell it on them! When the person doesn't want to be picked it sometimes makes them more delicious.

The cast walks around and talks to people at the tables before the show so they are vetting them. People don't realize we are doing this, but we stand backstage and talk about who in the audience will be good as a volunteer right before we start the show. It might depend on where they are from or how fun they are. These interactions help us decide who will receive the gift of being onstage with us.

WCT: I have seen some audience members try to take over the act in the past.

CH: It took me an hour to get ready so they are not going to upstage me! [laughs]

WCT: You picked me out of the crowd for your show at Rhapsody Theater one time and it was fun.

CH: Yes, you did a great job. My goal is to teach the audience early on that no matter what they say I will make it work. After doing it this long, anything they say I can make into a joke and that is freeing for us all. We are playing a game and make jokes together. They set it up and I provide the punchlines. When they receive laughs, I give them credit for it. It can be a once-in-a-lifetime thing for them, and I want them to feel like a winner. All of the admiration and applause is theirs.

WCT: A big rule with improvisation is playing along and having positive responses with the other player. Does that usually happen in these audience participation sequences?

CH: With Lucy, the negatives are positives. It is a game I play where the compliment comes with a dig such as, "You are so brave to wear this outfit!" It is her telling the hard truth but in a polite way.

WCT: I have noticed that Teatro ZinZanni has cultivated a very friendly environment for the LGBTQ+ community over the years.

CH: It feels like a Pride parade, and as soon as people walk in the tent they will see they are outnumbered by gay people. It is how the company hires people and is also the content within the show. Oliver Parkinson is in high heels and it is a highly feminine show with six women and two men.

WCT: My friend who went with me was in love with Oliver.

CH: Everyone is in love with Oliver. He's the queerest straight man that I know! His apartment is full of rainbows and he speaks the same language we do.

WCT: How do you describe Teatro ZinZanni to people who haven't seen it yet?

CH: The show is not a show, but is instead an experience. You sit down and the story grows out of the walls around you. The audience is not separated from the stage. Even if someone is not pulled up onstage, they are still a part of it. Everyone in the tent is a character.

The cast comes in every day and we don't know what the show will be like. It is all about who surrounds us as an audience. There is a power to this social construct and it determines where it will go. We can see them and they can see us. Some people come once a month to be a part of it, so I encourage people to come see it for themselves.

WCT: The food was more elevated the last time I was there.

CH: The company has changed chefs three times since the beginning. What did you have?

WCT: The Apple Cider Braised Pork Shoulder.

CH: The pork and salmon dishes have gone above and beyond. I eat them at least once a week.

WCT: Speaking of eating, you are an expert fire eater?

CH: Yes, but in Chicago they are not going to let me do that [because of] safety regulations. It is one of my favorite things to do because people don't expect Lucy to have skills like that. I play it off like the character doesn't know what she is doing, then impress them with a big fire trick. The crowd usually goes insane. I wish I could include a fire stunt for Teatro ZinZanni, but I can't.

WCT: Would you like to have a Las Vegas residency one day?

CH: The Vegas that is here now is not something I am interested in, but the one that is coming I am interested in being a part of one day. There is more avant-garde and contemporary art moving into the performance spaces.

I was told to dumb down my act when I was shopping it around out there, and it taught me that it's not the time to be there yet. I like having a Shakespeare joke in my act even if only part of the room understands it. I can hear laughter from gay people when I make a gay joke or the young people laugh at the TikTok humor. I want to hear older people enjoying a Mary Tyler Moor reference, but Vegas just wanted the lowest common denominator of comedy. Thankfully that is changing!

Visit ZinZanni.com for tickets to Love, Chaos & Dinner starring Lucy Darling. who is currently contracted through March 31.


This article shared 1662 times since Mon Feb 12, 2024
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Out and Aging
Presented By

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Theater Review: Billy Elliot, The Musical 2024-02-19
- Book and Lyrics: Lee Hall; Music: Elton John. At: Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora Tickets: 630-896-6666 or Paramountaurora.com; $28-$79. Runs through March 24 Billy Elliot: The Musical may nearly be two decades old, but ...


Gay News

'West Side Story' gets a sex-positive spin with new burlesque show 2024-02-19
- In partial observance of National Condom Day, which was Feb. 14, Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) presented A West Side Story Burlesque at the Harris Theater for two hour-long performances on Feb. 17. The show, ...


Gay News

Second Glance Productions hosts LGBTQupid Soiree 2024-02-16
- In celebration of Valentine's Day, Chicago based film and media production company Second Glance hosted The LBGTQupid Soiree. The event, which was focused on spinning attitudes on this particular day, was presented at The iO ...


Gay News

THEATER Dot-Marie Jones talks Goodman production, 'Glee,' 'Bros' 2024-02-12
- Running through Feb. 18 at the the Goodman Theatre, the production Highway Patrol works with a script conceived entirely from Emmy-winning actor Dana Delany's (TV's China Beach) digital archive of hundreds of tweets and direct messages ...


Gay News

Dr. Lady J explains how opera can be a drag 2024-02-10
- On Feb. 8, Center on Halsted, in partnership with Lyric Opera of Chicago, presented a lecture by historian, drag activist, podcaster and curator Dr. Lady J. The event, titled "Castrated Superstars, Cross Dressed Divas, and Queer ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Raven-Symone, women's sports, Wayne Brady, Jinkx Monsoon, British Vogue 2024-02-09
- In celebration of Black History Month, the LA LGBT Center announced that lesbian entertainer Raven-Symone will be presented with the Center's Bayard Rustin Award at its new event, Highly Favored, per a press release. She joins ...


Gay News

Chicago-based production company to host all-inclusive, LGBTQ-focused Valentine's Day event 2024-02-07
--From a press release - CHICAGO — Second Glance Productions will host the LGBTQupid Soiree this Valentines Day, Wednesday, February 14, 2024. The event will be held at the iO Theater, 1501 N. Kingsbury St., from 6 pm to 11 pm ...


Gay News

THEATER Nostalgic 'Sunsets' still offers a timely reflection of LGBTQ+ community 2024-02-07
- Nostalgia reigned on a variety of scales this past weekend in Chicago. During her Celebration tour, at a majestically packed United Center, Madonna acknowledged the last 40 years of her career, highlighting her '80s interactions with ...


Gay News

The Jeff Awards announces the 50th-anniversary non-Equity theater nominations 2024-02-06
--From a press release - (Feb. 6, 2024 - Chicago) — Celebrating its 50th anniversary awarding recognition for Non-Equity theater, the Joseph Jefferson Awards announces its nominations for theater excellence among Non-Equity theater during the ...


Gay News

DANCE Choreographer Dwight Rhoden talks David Bowie, Alvin Ailey, queerness 2024-01-31
- In "STAR DUST: A Ballet Tribute to David Bowie," Complexions Contemporary Ballet co-founders Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson—backed by their Alvin Ailey lineage—and their dance troupe tackle many of the ...


Gay News

Broadway star Chita Rivera dies at 91 2024-01-30
- Chita Rivera—a Broadway legend with more than seven decades of credits—has died at age 91 after a short illness, People Magazine reported. "It is with immense personal sorrow that I announce the death of the beloved ...


Gay News

Rue-ing the day: Vince Kelley drags out Blanche's charm in Golden Girls spoof 2024-01-26
- Picture it. Broadway Playhouse. 2024. Four queer men dress in drag to portray iconic women. Murray & Peter present Golden Girls: The Laughs Continue, a parody written by Robert Leleux and directed by Eric Swanson. The ...


Gay News

Out truth-teller Jeff Hiller takes his act on the road 2024-01-21
- Jeff Hiller is an openly gay American storyteller who is bringing his act to the Midwest in February. He's making his way across the United States while filming the third season of HBO's Somebody Somewhere and ...


Gay News

Upcoming Lyric Opera performance Champion explores famed boxer's gay identity 2024-01-21
- Grammy Award-winning composer Terence Blanchard and Tony Award-winning librettist Michael Cristofer's opera, Champion, is set for its Lyric Opera of Chicago debut Jan. 27. It runs through Feb. 11. This contemporary "opera in jazz" features the ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Laid,' 'Nimona,' Lukas Gage, Lil Nas X, Lily Gladstone, John Waters 2024-01-19
- Peacock has given a straight-to-series order to the comedy Laid, which is slated to feature queer actress Stephanie Hsu (Everything Everywhere All at Once), Variety noted. Based on the Australian series of the same name, the ...


 


Copyright © 2024 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.

All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.