Orisirisi: Moonlight Stories

a Family Time Event

February 07, 2024


Main Stage Theater

Celebrate Africa with Orisirisi drumming, dance, and call and response, inspiring the audience by exploring traditional stories of African heritage. The audience meets “Dog and Turtle,” “The Wolf and The Three Kids,” “Anansi and his Six Sons,” and hear many more entertaining stories that impart life lessons. Nigerian-born Adetutu “Tutu” Harrell and music scholar Don Harrell are spirited performers who have performed all over the world for Disney.

A Z Ticket Bank, FREE, evening Family Time performance provided by Arts for Learning and Virginia African American Cultural Center. Funding for this performance comes from Virginia African American Cultural Center, Virginia Tourism Corporation, Virginia Commission for the Arts, and National Endowment for the Arts.
Orisirisi African Folklore is an awe-inspiring adventure rooted in the history, culture, and traditions of Africa: folktales, legends and myths, spirited drumming, dance and song, children’s games, and the African tradition of audience participation. Husband and wife team Don and Tutu Harrell founded this nationally acclaimed company in 1986 to share the beauty and poignancy of African life and culture. Since then, the company has presented its unique brand of folklore to countless people from a vast array of demographics and cultural backgrounds.

A Motown Christmas

Live at The Z Music Series

November 30, 2023 to December 09, 2023

7:30, 3PM, 4PM

Main Stage Theater

Motown Christmas! A musical Cabaret exploring traditional holiday classics with the Motown Flare we all know and love! Celebrate the joyous holiday season with one of the most incomparable musical institutions of America! Motown Christmas is a musical Cabaret that takes you on a journey through the ages that explores the iconic Motown Catalogue and their contributions to music as we know it today!

This exciting, high energy show will have you full of holiday cheer, reminiscing the ground breaking, chart topping songs from icons such as: Dianna Ross and the Supremes, The Temptations, the Jackson 5, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Stevie Wonder and so many more!

Written By: Nate Jacobs

Directed by: Derrion LaZachan Hawkins

This performance is presented in collaboration with the Zeiders American Dream Theater and The Underground Performing Arts Collective (UPAC)


The Underground Performing Arts Collective believes that representation matters. As a result, it is our mission to provide a safe, inclusive space and give voice to performing artists and designers from underrepresented, diverse populations and abilities to create art that inspires, educates, promotes social change, and builds community. Our goal is to produce works that reflect those underrepresented and allow for creative exploration, collaboration, audience engagement, community advocacy, and artist development.

Rathskeller: A Musical Elixir

a Curtain Up! New Musical

May 03, 2024 to May 18, 2024

7:30pm & Sats. at 3:00pm

Main Stage Theater

Book, Music, and Lyrics by Brianna Kothari Barnes
Conceived by Dame Productions

A mystical dive bar somewhere between heaven and hell, RATHSKELLER is the place John Casey finds himself when he wakes up after a fatal accident. When the mysterious Bartender and her ruckus rock-n-roll bar staff explain the rules of their den of darkness, the man is left with a choice – to face the deadly sins that landed him on their stool or stay in Rathskeller for eternity. A battle for the soul musical, with a powerhouse rock score, Rathskeller: A Musical Elixir asks the audience – What makes someone worthy of mercy or justice? Can redemption be earned? What do any of us deserve?

Storytime with Mark Twain

a Family Time Event

November 18, 2023


Main Stage Theater

with Ryan Clemens

Who is that famous, funny, old fellow with wild hair and the mustache in the white suit? Why it’s Samuel L. Clemens – also known as Mark Twain – here to tell tales of his life and great works. Actor Ryan Clemens, a relative of Mark Twain (pen name of writer Samuel L. Clemens), brings to life the celebrated American author and humorist in this theatrical and engaging performance. In addition to sharing stories from Twain’s boyhood, Ryan Clemens tells how Twain got his penname on the Mississippi and offers humorous insights behind his classic stories. Audiences love watching Ryan Clemens deftly transform into the varied characters of Twain’s world – his performance will show you why Twain’s wit and wisdom remain poignant and laugh-out-loud funny today!

A Z Ticket Bank, FREE Family Time performance provided by Arts for Learning. Funding for this performance comes from Virginia Arts and Humanities Commission, Helen G. Gifford Foundation, Virginia Commission for the Arts, and National Endowment for the Arts.
Ryan Clemens is a performing and teaching artist who has written and performed as Virginia Stage Company’s Resident Theatre Artist. He has also spent several seasons performing with both the Virginia Shakespeare Festival in Williamsburg and Tidewater Stage in Virginia Beach, and he hones his improv skills as a member of Plan B Comedy. His great passion has always been sharing the wit and wisdom of his famous relative, Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain). Ryan holds a BA in Theatre from Western Washington University and an MFA in Acting from Regent University. As a theatre professor at Old Dominion University and the Governor’s School for the Arts, he has offered his knowledge and techniques to students of the performing arts.

Songs & Stories

Premier Sponsor: Gold Key PHR | Event Sponsor: TowneBank

October 26, 2023


Main Stage Theater

Experience an amazing night of original music from some of Hampton Roads’ most dynamic and creative emerging artists, featuring Virginia Beach’s own BJ Griffin.

BJ Griffin’s July audition for America’s Got Talent received a standing ovation and unanimous raves from the judges. The Z helped inspire him to pursue his original music and is partnering with BJ Griffin in mentoring more musicians with the 2023-2024 Live at The Z music performances.

Support The Zeiders American Dream Theater’s Theater’s mission with our newest resident artist Big Juicy Entertainment at a spectacular show by exceptionally talented artists on their way to stardom!

6:30pm Meet & Greet Catered Cocktail Hour 

with Open Bar featuring Coastal Cocktails and a Silent Auction

7:30pm Songs & Stories Concert 

featuring BJ Griffin and Big Juicy Entertainment artists

8:30pm After Party 

Sing Along around the grand piano with Morgan Davis

Your support benefits The Z’s non-profit mission to launch the careers of young and talented artists in our region.

Donation Levels:

  • Individual Tickets $125
  • VIP Sponsors $1,000- Includes 4 tickets with personal beverage service. Recognition at the event.
  • Hospitality Sponsors $2,500 – Includes 6 VIP Tickets with personal beverage service for your group. Recognition in Invitation, Website, Event Signage, Intro Remarks & Social Media.
  • Presenting Sponsors $5,000 – Includes 10 VIP Tickets for second-row seats with personal beverage service for your group. Recognition in Invitation, Website, Event Signage, Intro Remarks & Social Media.
  • Event Sponsor $7,500- SOLD

  • Premiere Sponsor $15,000-SOLD

Gold Key PHR

Seating is limited to 299, so early RSVP is encouraged! 

If you can’t attend, your support makes a difference.

Host Committee: Morgan Davis, Jayna Eller, Linda Forehand, Sheri Davis, Pam Levinson, Sharon Smith, Joel & Sara Jo Rubin, Rae Fox, Lenny Burns, Neil Rose, Priscilla Jaffee Deurance, Ed Ware, Kim Kellam, Shannon Malbon, Jeanne Evans Cox, Mike Zeiders, Linda Dyer, Terry Flint, Elizabeth Terrell

Event Contacts:
The Z Theater Box Office at 757-499-0317
Linda.Dyer@theZ.org or JaynaEller@gmail.com

Presenting Sponsors

Charles Barker Companies

No photo description available.

$2000 Sponsors

The Breeden Company

Michael Sifen


Coastal Cocktails


Nando’s Peri-Peri

Legal Sea Foods

Azar’s Mediterranean 

Cosmopolitan Palate



$1000 Sponsors

Sharon Smith
Hugh Tierney
Atkinson Realty
Neil and Gina Rose
Rubin Communications
Jeff and Rae Fox

David Nygaard presents Out on Film: Hedwig and The Angry Inch

A Variety Event

September 21, 2023


Main Stage Theater

Hedwig and the Angry Inch is a 2001 American musical comedy-drama film written for the screen and directed by John Cameron Mitchell and based on Mitchell’s and Stephen Trask’s 1998 stage musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

The film tells the story of the “internationally ignored” rock singer Hedwig Robinson and her search for stardom and love as she tours the country with her band. The music is steeped in the androgynous 1970s glam rock style of David Bowie (who co-produced the Los Angeles production of the show), as well as the work of John Lennon and early punk performers Lou Reed and Iggy Pop.

The film won the Best Director and Audience Awards at the Sundance Film Festival as well as Best Directorial Debut from the National Board of Review, the Gotham Awards, and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association. Mitchell received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy and the Premiere magazine Performance of the Year Award.
About Out on Film, Presented by David Nygaard
Join the Virginia Queer Film Festival and our local theater partners for Out on Film.

Presented by David Nygaard, a year-round schedule of full length LGBTQ+ films. We’ve curated a comprehensive collection of wide-release feature films and documentaries, and thanks to our presenting theaters, we will be screening one a month at one of the alternating locations listed below.
Produced in conjunction with Zeiders American Dream Theater (Virginia Beach), the Naro Theater (Norfolk), and the American Theater (Hampton).
Follow the Film Festival Facebook page or subscribe to our email newsletter for the complete schedule and dates.