After five years ensconced in a former Cadillac dealership in Belltown, the long-running dinner-theater attraction Teatro ZinZanni will return to its original location near Seattle Center next fall.

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After five years ensconced in a former Cadillac dealership in Belltown, the long-running dinner-theater attraction Teatro ZinZanni will return to its original location near Seattle Center next fall.


At an unspecified date in the autumn, the colorful, antique Belgian spiegeltent (cabaret tent) that houses Teatro ZinZanni will be carted back to 222 Mercer St., a large parking lot between Mercer and Roy streets and between North Second and Third avenues, where the show debuted in 1998.


Teatro ZinZanni will have an open-ended run at the Lower Queen Anne site, which is owned by the Seattle Opera. The site was given to Seattle Opera by the Kreielsheimer Foundation to use for revenue-producing activities until the Opera chooses to develop it for its own usage.


Elegant yet boisterously zany, Teatro ZinZanni serves a five-course dinner (designed by local chef and restaurateur Tom Douglas) along with a raucous, European-style buffet of entertainment.


The dinner menu changes every few months, as do the shifting array of clowning, musical and circus acts by veteran performers from Europe, Canada, Asia and United States. The featured pop chanteuses on the bill have included Seattle rocker Ann Wilson (of the band Heart), disco queen Thelma Houston and blues diva Maria Muldaur.


Produced by the nonprofit group One Reel (also producer of the Bumbershoot festival and other arts events), Teatro ZinZanni has won raves and sold well.


In 2000 the show’s Seattle edition closed and relocated to San Francisco, where it is still running. In 2002, One Reel imported a second Belgian cabaret tent to Seattle and opened a new version of the show here in the old dealership at Battery and Sixth Street. Counting this run and the 1998-2000 run, Teatro ZinZanni has sold an estimated 280,000 tickets, at about $100 per head.


One Reel publicist Beth Brooks says the move back to Mercer was instigated after One Reel learned last year that its Belltown site, owned by Clise Properties, had been sold to a real-estate developer and would soon be unavailable.


In a press release, ZinZanni’s Seattle managing director, Markus Kunz, said the Seattle Center location is a good fit, because it “brings us closer to our performing-arts colleagues and provides our patrons with easy access and plenty of parking.”


Teatro ZinZanni will continue at its Belltown locale into this summer. Its current show, “The Trickster’s Trunk,” will be replaced Jan. 25 with “Love & Lunacy,” featuring master clown Geoff Hoyle.


Misha Berson: mberson@seattletimes.com