The Z presents new rock musical Rathskeller this May

January 01, 1970

[Virginia Beach, VA]-April 15, 2024-The Zeiders American Dream Theater is excited to announce the regional premiere of the new musical, “Rathskeller: A Musical Elixir”.

Rathskeller unveils the story of John Casey, who finds himself in the enigmatic bar after a fatal accident. The Bartender, along with her vibrant rock-n-roll bar staff, introduces him to the establishment’s rules, propelling John into a confrontation with his past sins. The narrative weaves a compelling tale of choice, redemption, and the eternal questions of justice and mercy. With its powerful rock score, Rathskeller challenges the audience to reflect on what it means to be deserving of redemption or justice.

The performance largely features a cast of women, and will be the first performance of the musical to include live band orchestrations.

Performances are scheduled at 7:30 PM with additional matinees at 3:00 PM on Saturdays. Tickets are priced at $30 for standard admission, with discounted rates available at $26 for seniors and military personnel, and $15 for students.

About the Production

RATHSKELLER was conceived & commissioned in February of 2021 by Dame Productions. Brianna Kothari Barnes (Book, Music & Lyrics) and Collin Kessler (first workshop script) worked together with support from Dame Productions to create the full-length musical first workshop script. in just 6 months. This first stage of development culminated in a Workshop Production that premiered with a weekend of sold-out shows at the New Ohio Theatre in New York City on September 24-26, 2021. RATHSKELLER won Best Musical and Best Choreography in BroadwayWorld’s 2021 Off-Off Broadway Awards. In the spring of 2022.

Cast & Creative Team
Brianna Kothari-Barnes: Book, Music, Lyrics
Patrick Mullins: Director
Elizabeth Brydge: Music Supervisor/Asst Director
Jennifer Kelly-Cooper: Choreographer
James Rushin: Arrangements
Akin Ritchie: Lighting Designer & Technical Director
Dasia Gregg: Set Designer
JC Nigh: Sound Designer
Chelsea Cartledge-Rose: Costume Designer
Kurtis Wiley: Production & Props Manager

Steve Pacek as John Casey
Kristy Glass as The Bartender
Kathy Hinson as Linda
James Manno as Bill
Janae Thompson as Ty
Jessi DiPette as Peyton
Kai B. White as Tasha
Alexandra Shephard as Becca
Bar Staff:  Raymond Dimaano, Alexandra Fleshman, Moriah Leeward


January 01, 1970

The Z (Zeiders American Dream Theater) is excited to announce the 2024 lineup of the internationally renowned Vocal Jazz Summit.  

This year’s festival features headline  performances and workshops from GRAMMY-winning headliners Samara Joy (New Artist, Jazz Vocal Album, New Artist) and säje (Best Arrangement), alongside jazz legend Stephanie Nakasian. 

The Vocal Jazz Summit brings together emerging and established artists, industry leaders, and vocal jazz fans for a unique, intensive weekend dedicated to performance, connection, and education. This year’s events are no exception to the expanding weekend packed full of events.  

Highlights from the weekend:  

Thursday, June 6 

5:00pm – 9:00pm Vocal Jam Session at Town Center 


Friday, June 7  

7:00pm- säje Performance 

 8:30pm- Jam Session Hosted by Alison Crockett 


Saturday, June 8 

10:00am-5:00pm- Erin Bentlage, Johnaye Kendrick, Amanda Taylor,  & Sara Gazarek Workshops 

7:30pm- Samara Joy Performance in partnership with the Virginia Arts Festival (Sandler Center) 

9:15pm- Jam Session Hosted by Lynn Veronneau + Ken Avis 


Sunday, June 9 

10:00am- Meet The Artist: Samara Joy 

1:30pm-3pm Mark Winkler & Stephanie Nakasian Workshops  

4:00pm- Industry Panel: Mary Foster Conklin & Mark Winkler 

6:00pm- Stephanie Nakasian Performance 


For a limited time, attendees can take advantage of early ticket prices while they last. Passes include access to all festival events, workshops, performances, and networking. Limited quantities at each price tier.  

This year, The Z is proud to partner with the Virginia Beach Town Center Westin Hotel and the Crowne Plaza for specially discounted travel specials. Learn more at  

Vocal Jazz Summit runs Thursday, June 6 – Sunday, June 10, 2024. For tickets, lodging, and a full list of events, workshops and sessions, visit 


A dozen albums into her career, vocalist Alexis Cole is hitting her stride. As a sought after international performer, she’s appeared with her trio, with whom she both plays piano and sings, and is a frequent guest with big bands and pops orchestras. She’s the director of the Jazz Vocal program at the SUNY Purchase College conservatory and William Paterson University, the founder and director of the online educational community, and the cofounder and artistic director of the Virginia Beach Vocal Jazz Summit. 



Liz Terrell has been a part of The Zeiders American Dream Theater team since 2015 and currently serves as the Music and Community Series Producer after having worn many hats as the Company Manager, Artistic Associate, and Bookkeeper. When not working behind the scenes at The Z you can find her on stage performing as one of Virginia’s most sought after jazz vocalists. Over the past decade, Terrell’s musical career has navigated through the performance spectrum, ranging from musical theater and cabaret to touring Europe in a gospel ensemble until she found herself firmly planted in jazz. Her latest album “It’s All Right With Me” was met with critical acclaim and a warm welcome into the jazz world. 


Virginia Stage Company presents Pearl Cleage’s Blues for an Alabama Sky

January 01, 1970

[Norfolk, VA] – April 2, 2024

Virginia Stage Company is thrilled to announce its upcoming production of Blues for an Alabama Sky by Pearl Cleage. This poignant and gripping drama is set against the backdrop of the Harlem Renaissance and promises to captivate audiences with its powerful storytelling, dynamic characters, and timeless themes.  This production is presented by Capital Group.

 Meet Angel Allen, a resilient yet disillusioned nightclub singer yearning for stardom amidst economic hardship. Alongside her is the fiercely independent and outspoken Delia, a passionate social worker determined to uplift her community despite the odds stacked against her. Their lives intertwine with the charming and enigmatic Guy, a flamboyant costume designer grappling with his own identity in a world filled with prejudice and uncertainty. As they confront the harsh realities of poverty, discrimination, and lost love, each character must confront their own moral compass and wrestle with the complexities of right and wrong.  Angel, Delia, Guy, and their companions navigate the tumultuous landscape of 1930s Harlem, discovering that true strength lies not in the absence of struggle, but in the resilience to rise above it.

“I am excited for the opportunity to bring Blues for an Alabama Sky to Virginia Stage Company,” says Jerrell L. Henderson, director of the production. “Pearl Cleage’s powerful play explores themes of resilience, hope, and the pursuit of dreams, making it as relevant today as it was when it was first written…Magic exists in this world but it exists in the warmth of the evening sunset or the whisper of a breeze. It exists in the sounds of paper boys early on the morning and the alchemy of how the right kind of fabric, designed by the right set of hands, can transform an insecure spirit searching for a sense of self into an angelic figure capable of anything…even change or growth.”  He continues, “We can’t wait to share this compelling story with audiences and to ignite conversations about the enduring struggles for freedom and equality.”

In addition to its thought-provoking themes and compelling characters, Blues for an Alabama Sky features stunning period costumes, evocative set design, and a soulful playlist that captures the spirit of the Harlem Renaissance.

In addition to the mainstage performances, there will be two pre-show panel discussions presented in partnership with YWCA South Hampton Roads.  The first panel is “Beyond the Blues: Women Reclaiming Health During the Harlem Renaissance” and will be hosted on Wednesday, April 17th at 6:30pm in The Wells Theatre Tazewell Lounge before the performance.  The second panel is “Beyond the Blues: Exploring Queer Lives of Color in the Harlem Renaissance” and will be on Wednesday, April 24th at 6:30pm in The Wells Theatre Tazewell Lounge, concurrent with our Hampton Roads Pride Night at the theatre. There are also two post-show talkbacks after the first two Sunday matinees on April 21st and 28th and playwright Pearl Cleage will virtually join both for the discussions.   Both panels and talkbacks are free to ticket holders of each of these performances.   For more information, visit:

Blues for an Alabama Sky will run from April 17th  to May 5th, 2024, at the Wells Theatre in downtown Norfolk. Tickets are now on sale and can be purchased online at or by calling the box office at (757) 627-1234.

 The Z Fringe Festival returns to Virginia Beach for the Second Year 

January 01, 1970

Virginia Beach Art that pushes the envelope is taking over The Z this April. The Z Fringe Festival returns to Virginia Beach Town Center with performances of theater, comedy, and new works, alongside a visual arts installation. 

This year’s selections include local and national artists, featuring performances of theater, comedy, music, in a 2-day festival celebrating storytelling of all genres.  

New to the 2024 Festival 

This year, the festival returns with 2 new categories of works: Visual Arts and Works-in-Progress. 

Visual artwork will be displayed gallery style in the lobby through the entire festival. Artist submitted individual works, full gallery displays, and maker space crafter tables. Artists will sell their work and be available during the Festival Gallery Tour, Saturday, April 6 from 12:00PM to 4:00PM. 

Pieces submitted as “Works-in-Progress” will allow artists to present a new work still in the creative process for audience feedback on performance day. 

This Year’s Performances 

The 2024 Festival features 25 acts selected by lottery from over 50 submissions, and will showcase new plays, poems, stand-up routines, music acts, and visual galleries. 

Performers are traveling from out of town, as well as local favorite creators debuting new works, with the total number of artists involved hitting over 200! Some of the featured works include: 

  • Operation Smile’s Puppet Friends Show 

“The Puppet Friends Show” presented by Operation Smile’s Interactive Learning Center, is a captivating performance that will delight audiences with the stories of our Puppet Friends. This dynamic show uses puppetry, song and interactive storytelling to explore the challenges faced by children with cleft conditions and the life-changing work of Operation Smile. 

  • Steadfast by Chris Anderson, a new musical 

Steadfast is the story of brilliant reformer and public servant Frances Perkins. Set in 1911, before women even had the vote, Miss Perkins sets out to end child labor and improve living conditions for the working poor. 

  • Meet Me at The Casino, a new play by Ashlee Rey 

Meet Me At The Casino” is a riveting play that delves into the complexities of family dynamics against the backdrop of a lively casino setting. The story follows the King family as they gather for a long-awaited reunion on Father’s Day weekend. 


What is a Fringe Festival? 

The Z’s Fringe Festival is a celebration of self-produced performance art that pushes the envelope and makes a statement. Performances at The Z Fringe are theatrically-based, meaning they have a viewpoint, tell a story, or connect multiple pieces with a theme. Like the origin story of Fringe Festivals, The Z Fringe was created to give performing artists access to performance space and the opportunity to explore new concepts and performance formats that don’t fit a ‘traditional’ production model.  

A full list of performances and the full performance schedule can be found at All-access passes, single day passes, and single-show tickets are available online or by calling the box office at 757-499-0317.  

Auditioning with a Pianist Workshop

January 01, 1970

Please register to join us Saturday, March 9th, at 9am for a lively musical workshop on auditioning with piano accompaniment, brought to you in partnership between LittleTheatre Norfolk and Nancy Whitfield ( of Whitfield Music, LLC (
The workshop will be 1.5 hours at the Little Theatre Norfolk:  801 Claremont Ave, Norfolk, VA 23507.
Please come prepared with sheet music for a selection you would choose to audition with.
For more information, please email

Z Fringe Festival Auditions

January 01, 1970

AUDITION For Artist-Produced Works at the 2024 Z Fringe Festival


WANTED – Actors who can SING for an excerpt of a new musical play by award-winning songwriter to be presented at the Z FRINGE FESTIVAL on Saturday, April 6 (late afternoon.)

This show is part of the works-in-progress portion of the Fringe. Lyrics and recordings to practice with by early/March. Some rehearsals via Zoom. MAXIMUM in person rehearsals = 4.
Parts – 3 males and 3 females. Some parts already cast.
Want more details? Please get in touch.


For New Musical Concert Reading
at Zeiders Theatre Festival on April 6, 2024
Each Cast Member to be Paid $100 for Performance on April 6th

Auditions Locations
Friday, March 1, Audition : Denise Walls Dance Studio, 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm
4020 Bonney Road, Suite 116, Virginia Beach 23452
Or Saturday, March 2, Audition: Fairfield Inn & Suites Town Center, 10:00 am to Noon
Meeting Room, 20 Constitution Drive, Virginia Beach 23462
Sunday, March 3, First Rehearsal: Harmony Yoga Studio, 3:15 to 6:00 pm
4540 Princess Anne Road, Suite 109, Virginia Beach 23462

RSVP Zoe Conner, Producer, by TEXTING 415-264-4941 with your name and which day you will audition. Be prepared to sing Happy Birthday and read scenes.

BACK FROM IRAQ Musical follows the young men and women from diverse backgrounds on a 90 minute fast-paced modern musical “boots on the ground” tour of duty in the Middle East.

See the CAST BREAKDOWN below. Also needed is a STAGE MANAGER as Narrator and two

FEMALE DANCERS. The Cast will not be needed again until April 1st through April 6, 2024 for rehearsals, tech and performance.
PIN-UP GIRL – Think Gwen Stefani. Pop singer/dancer with her own “Pussy Cat Dolls” dancers. She is a modern icon of the 1940’s bombshell who exudes self-confidence.
CAPTAIN – Male, about 30 years old, experienced with successful missions but bravado covers his fear of failure. He tries to live up to an idealistic role of a leader.
GRAMPS – Grandfather to Captain, sadder but wiser after Viet Nam. He is a bit stoic and hesitant to ever talk about his own war.
GUNG HO – The youngest recruit, athletic, strong, aggressive but feels pressure to please Marine Dad who has a chest full of medals.
GRIM REAPER – Black male knows violence from roaming with a gang in the streets but wants a better life for himself.
LEGS – Asian female Medic from a formal cultural background who wants to feel brave and empowered. She cannot dishonor her parents but she also can no longer live as a shadow of herself.
BRAINS – Very intelligent male who signed up after 9/11 to outsmart the enemy but has spent his life adrift and unattached to anyone.
BEAST – Male, funny, self-deprecating but a smart computer wiz. He loves to cook and eat and play video games and is very hairy.
HERRERA – BASED ON REAL SOLDIER (Mary J. Herrera) – Latin female gunner (from dancing/singing CORPS)
ACE – Male constantly focused on flying Apache helicopter (from CORPS)
FARSI – Female Interpreter educated from Iran (from CORPS)

This audition offers the opportunity to contribute to a vital conversation, shedding light on topics such as postpartum depression, societal pressures, and domestic challenges within relationships. Join us as we aim to educate and inspire our community through the art of storytelling.