In the Pipeline: Holiday shows that are nostalgic, jaw-dropping

So it's that time of year when kids are home and many adults take some time off from work, and in this column I like to call out a couple of nearby attractions or performances that might be a fun way to spend some time over the holidays.

This year, there are two theatrical performances I attended recently that I can highly recommend.

The first is something that's appropriate for the entire family, the musical comedy, "The Addams Family," now playing at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa through Dec. 30.

For those of us old enough to remember not just the marvelous TV show but also the Charles Addams cartoons that inspired the show (and ultimately the movies and stage show), the musical is of course very different than what we grew up with — but it's very appealing, funny and for kids especially. It's a nice way to introduce them to a theatrical production with marvelous sets, catchy songs and a gently (and playfully) macabre mood to offset to the holiday season. Also, this is the last series of shows for the touring company so this is your last chance to see the show for awhile.

Now for the adults. Several weeks ago, for my wife's birthday, we attended "Teatro ZinZanni's Love, Chaos & Dinner," also at Segerstrom. Held within a 100-year old historic Belgian Spiegeltent tent called the Palais Nostalgique, the show has packed houses, or rather tents, in San Francisco and Seattle for 10 years and it is no wonder. The show is a three-hour spectacular featuring international cirque, comedy and cabaret all served up with an impressive five-course feast from Chef Joachim Splichal's Patina Catering located right next door.

Teatro ZinZanni was created in 1998 in the Pacific Northwest to bring to life magical, Fellini-esque evenings that are as sublime, provocative, sexy and bawdy as they are jaw dropping. Much of the acrobatics, slight of hand and gymnastics were unlike anything we'd ever seen before, absolutely spectacular feats of human magic.

Also, the acting and singing are first rate, and the intimate setting (the tent holds just 285) all but guarantees that at some point, you will be a part of the show on some level. This is the sort of unique, European-style cabaret that can only be realized when top artists schooled in cirque, clowning, cabaret, aerial and balance artistry, magic and illusions are brought in, and we felt as if we'd seen some of the world's best.

Dinner is served during short intermissions for the most part, I won't spoil the surprise about how dessert is delivered, but for a couple's night out I'm hard pressed to think of anything this escapist, unique or tantalizing. It was just that impressive.

Tickets to see "The Addams Family" and "Teatro ZinZanni's Love, Chaos & Dinner" are on sale now. They are available online at, at the Box Office at 600 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa or by calling (714) 556-2787.

So those are a couple of recommendations this holiday, as I like to do. Hoping you all are enjoying a happy holiday season and best wishes from my family to yours.

CHRIS EPTING is the author of 19 books, including the new "Baseball in Orange County," from Arcadia Publishing. You can chat with him on Twitter @chrisepting or follow his column at

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