Experience the Z

Emerging Artists, Nationally Renowned Musicians, Witty Comedians and New Works Take Center-Stage at Virginia Beach’s Newest Entertainment Venue
By Grace Silipigni

Situated on the second story of Virginia Beach Town Center’s newest shopping and dining district is Zeiders American Dream Theater. The nonprofit organization, locally known as The Z, first opened in a speakeasy-like storefront in Town Center in 2015, and expanded its operations to a state-of-the-art, multi-staged theater in October 2018.

The Z’s contemporary layout caters to a host of one-of-a-kind performances. “We are a very diverse theater,” says marketing director James Bryan. “You name it, we probably do it. We have a 120-seat studio and 300-seat main stage [on which] we recently hosted a live ice skating performance.”

Central to The Z’s mission and programming is the chance for audiences to “See it Here First” including nationally emerging artists, new works, uniquely themed festivals and cabarets, an annual TasteBreakers concert series featuring up-and-coming musicians, and The Hatchery.

“The Hatchery puts a new theater piece, be it a play or musical, in front of an audience and gives the writer a place to [further] develop their piece,” explains Bryan. “Part of our mission is to foster emerging artists whether they’re local, regional or national. Some have gone on to win Grammy Awards and introduce shows overseas.”

The Z also presents shows by resident groups like Plan B Comedy and the Children’s Theatre of Hampton Roads, and works with neighboring businesses to create a well-rounded entertainment experience.