Cabaret Zazou’s ‘Luminaire’ is delightfully entertaining with Frank Ferrante – Chicago Tribune

When I first wrote about Teatro Zinzanni’s dining and fun dining room adding Chicago as its home base in July 2019, not only was it the delicious feast that attracted, but also acrobats daring, aerial performers, creative comedy, musical spotlight and the one-and-only impresario Frank Ferrante with his welcoming spirit that made me want to come back and grab a chair again and again.

With silly interaction with the audience and memories of culinary menus being prepared, the evening’s festivities are new and adventurous every night.

Now, after three years of packed audiences and surviving a global pandemic, the Chicago producers have changed their name and relaunched a tasty and fun new show called “Cabaret Zazou Presents Luminaire”, wonderfully directed by Dreya Weber, which recalls: “As opposed to a millionaire, a luminary is someone rich in illumination and shines that light for all.

This quick three-hour escape is still presented in a space affectionately dubbed the Spiegeltent ZaZou on the 14th floor of the Cambria Hotel, 32 W. Randolph St. in the Chicago Loop located in the Theater District. The previously forgotten space was uncovered in 2017 during the hotel’s renovation, when the dropped ceilings were removed, revealing the quirky and opulent Great Room – originally built as a Masonic lodge – in this historic building of 1926.

Randolph Entertainment LLC, also producer of former fan favorite Teatro ZinZanni Chicago, describes this open stage opportunity as “an immersive dinner show.”

Acclaimed stage talent Frank Ferrante is joined this time by singer Liv Warfield leading an international cast of artists backed by a stellar live band, complemented by the delicious multi-course meal.

Award-winning actor and comedian Ferrante, who previously starred as The Caesar for Chicago’s Teatro ZinZanni run, earned the Chicago Tribune nomination as one of the “Top 10 Performers of 2019 “. He is also famous for his national PBS television show “Frank Ferrante’s Groucho”.

Singer, songwriter and producer Warfield has toured the country with her unrivaled vocal talents and style, and now she’s proving she can swing and sing too, as if suspended above the audience during her song sets, under the direction of Weber, whose aerial design and choreography credits include antennae for Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, Britney Spears, Rihanna, Madonna, Cher, Michael Jackson, Christina Aguilera, Kylie Minogue and Pink’s 2010 Grammy Awards of “Glitter in the Air”.

The cast also includes Broadway star and Grammy nominee James Harkness from New York, master juggler Viktor Kee from Ukraine, incredible contortionist Ulzii Mergen from Mongolia, and hand and balance talents (including the roller skating!) trapeze artists Trio Vertex from England aka Cornelius Atkinson, Isis Clegg-Vinell and Nathan Price.

Individual tickets, which include the four-course meal, range from $125 to $210, all available at or (312) 488-0900.

The show menu begins with an exotic trio of hummus as an appetizer, a Caesar salad, your choice of entrees such as salmon, flank steak, chicken or risotto, and a decadent chocolate mousse dessert as a exciting and appetizing feast of comedy, cabaret, spectacle and live music are served table side with a fun twist.

Because the gifted and versatile good guy Frank Ferrante is famously personified as a tribute to the late great Groucho Marx, who died aged 86 in 1977, today’s recipe is to make Groucho’s favorite matzo balls, which surprisingly , having posted over 1,000 recipes over the past two decades, I have never featured a recipe for matzo balls, which, of course, is a staple in Jewish kitchens and on holidays like Rosh Hashanah , which begins on September 25. This recipe was first published in a 1933 cookbook called “Famous Recipes by Famous People”.

Although I never grew up on matzo ball soup, today it is one of my favorite dishes that I can enjoy on occasion. I’d like to think Groucho might have gotten this original recipe from his own mother, Minnie Marx, who pushed her boys into show biz to become the iconic Marx Brothers of comedy stardom.

Columnist Philip Potempa has published four cookbooks and is the Marketing Director of Theater at the Center. He can be reached at [email protected] or send your questions: From the Farm, PO Box 68, San Pierre, IN 46374.

Makes 6 servings

5 matzo tea crackers

4 tablespoons melted chicken fat

1 medium sized onion, finely minced

1 egg

2 teaspoons chopped parsley

1 level teaspoon ground nutmeg

Matzo meal

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Chicken broth to serve


1. Soak tea matzo crackers in cold water and when soft, drain and wring out.

2. Sauté the onion in the chicken fat and add to the matzos in a mixing bowl and add the egg, parsley, nutmeg, salt and pepper, stirring until combined. be well mixed.

3. Add enough matzo flour (about 1/4 to 1/3 cup works well) to hold the contents together and roll into balls the size of a hard-boiled egg yolk.

4. Place the matzo balls in the cooler (refrigerator) for 3 or 4 hours, and when ready to serve, immerse them in boiling water. When the balls float to the surface of the water, let them boil for about 2-3 more minutes, then remove them.

5. Add two or three scoops of your choice to each serving of hearty hot chicken broth and serve.

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