Virginia Beach’s Little Theater Presents ‘Something Rotten’ – The Virginian-Pilot


A spark was ignited when Zack Kattwinkel’s sixth grade English class read “Much Ado About Nothing” by William Shakespeare.

Several years later, while a sophomore at First Colonial, a class assignment landed Kattwinkel in Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar.” The play was performed in the school yard, using sheets as togas.

The 2010 First Colonial graduate is back in school teaching English and is expected to take over the school’s Patriot Playhouse this fall when Nancy Curtis retires after 40 years at the helm. His plans include a Shakespeare play in March.

So it’s no surprise that Kattwinkel is taking on the role of Shakespeare in “Something Rotten,” which is currently playing at the Little Theater in Virginia Beach. The 2015 Tony Award-nominated musical is set in Renaissance England as Shakespeare rose to stardom. Nick Bottom, a jealous playwright in search of success, tries to get ahead of Shakespeare’s next big hit.

“The piece is about someone who wants to be known and leave their mark,” Kattwinkel said. “It’s something we can all relate to.”

“Something Rotten” has been in the works for more than two years, but the pandemic has changed the schedule, said director Jeff Seneca, who recently helmed “Clue” at the Little Theater.

Seneca says the play should appeal to anyone who loves Shakespeare or appreciates clever comedy or storyline. The play has a cast of 34, with another 15 offstage.

Kattwinkel’s first role was playing Barnaby Tucker in “Hello, Dolly.”

“Going from Barnaby – a 17-year-old store clerk – to Shakespeare is quite a leap,” he said.

Although widely recognized as the greatest playwright of all time, Shakespeare was also fortunate that so many of his plays survived.

“Maybe other playwrights had better material, but we’ll never know,” Kattwinkel said.

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At First Colonial, Shakespeare’s first production next year will be the play “As She Likes It”, with a modern take-off of “As You Like It”. Heading into the Patriot Playhouse, Kattwinkel comes full circle.

“I look forward to revisiting the many traditions I walked through as a student,” he said. “It’s not lost on me, what a privilege it is to work at such a great school and for such a great school system.”

Eric Hodies, [email protected]

What: “Something Rotten”

Where: Little Theater of Virginia Beach, 550 Barberton Drive

When: July 15 to August 7

Information: For tickets, visit or call 757-428-9233


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