Opening Nights: Caliente!

Stunning stunts and hilarious harassment.

Mexico meets Moulin Rouge!. TZZ's new production features a cast rowdier than a pack of college kids on spring break in Cancún. The Latin-themed dinner show sounds like a potential disaster, but ¡Caliente! is an epic party well worth the steep cover charge.

The story is, well, plausible: A pair of bigwigs want to tear down a dinner tent and transform it into mixed-use development—with not one but two Trader Joe's! But the determined kitchen staff refuses its pink slips and vows to change the entrepreneurs' minds with, yes, a musical/cabaret extravaganza.

Leading the three-and-a-half-hour spectacle are Tres (Christine Deaver) and Cinco (Robert Lopez, aka El Vez ), an overeager sister/brother act intent on becoming become "the Mexican Donny and Marie." To that end, they sing, dance, and harass the audience. (To wit, my date was forced to prove his manhood by chugging tequila and galloping in circles on a stick pony while rocking a sombrero and fake handlebar mustache.) Rounding out the comedy is a slew of international acts, many of them TZZ veterans: French acrobatic trio Les Petits Frères, Ukrainian hula-hoop artist Vita Radionova, and Chinese aerialist Ling Rui. But it's Atlanta's Mike Geier, in his first-ever TZZ gig, who appears the most foreign. At 6´8", he's a beast of a man with a baritone voice reminiscent of Elton John's. If those pipes sound familiar, it's likely because you've heard him on the Cartoon Network and Adult Swim.

Appropriate to the Latin theme, the five-course meal includes several spicy options. (I recommend the Guajillo New York Steak for an entrée.) While you're at it, you might as well indulge in the tequila flight, too. It'll make your evening all the more festive, and—if Mexican Marie tries to hit on you—your embarrassment that much easier to swallow.

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