A famous line from Shakespeare's immortal "Romeo and Juliet" could be applied to a quirky Quad-Cities theater troupe: "O Prenzie, Prenzie! Wherefore art thou Prenzie?"
You may need a scorecard and a map to keep up with this unique, nomadic band of merry players, presently in their ninth season. Performing at their ninth location this coming April -- for the first time at the Center for Living Arts, 2008 4th Ave., Rock Island -- the Prenzie Players will hold auditions for "Romeo and Juliet" from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Jan. 12 and 1 to 4 p.m. Jan. 15. Callbacks will be 6 to 9 p.m. Jan. 16.
But wait!To further complicate things, the auditions will be at the Establishment Theatre, 220 19th St., Rock Island, where Prenzie co-director Tracy Skaggs is a member of the resident ComedySportz Quad Cities company.
Prenzie's last show, Shakespeare's "Pericles," was done in November at St. Peter's Episcopal Church, Bettendorf.
The Center for Living Arts is "a great facility and has a lot of opportunity," co-director Kristin Skaggs said this week."I think we'll keep moving around. We really do like the center," but its owner and creative director, Dino Hayz, "just does so much there, it's really hard to schedule."
Center widens its focus
The center -- in its current location since 2007 -- is entering its sixth year of offering musical-theater experiences for Quad-Cities children and youths.Opening up for an "adult" organization is part of Mr. Hayz's plan to start a monthly performing-arts series there, Mr. Hayz said this week.
"We have to diversify or die," he said. "Hopefully, we'll be starting in February, about half of them non-student." Among other planned performers will be the Imani Dancers.
As is the Prenzie style, this "Romeo" will be modernized -- while retaining the original dialogue -- and set in a "third-world, Latin-American" setting, where the politics, emotion and romance are hot, Ms. Skaggs said.
"I think people can connect more with the characters this way," she said. "We wanted to do something with political parties." The warring families represent rival political parties in the Prenzie version.
Ms. Skaggs is an English and theater teacher at Rivermont Collegiate, Bettendorf, and her husband has worked on several Prenzie shows, including playing the title role in the recent "Cyrano de Bergerac."
"Romeo and Juliet" will open Friday, April 8. Monologues and headshots are not necessary for the Prenzie auditions. For more information, email@example.com call (309) 787-1931.
'Joseph,' 'Rent' on tap
Soon after "Romeo" ends, Center for Living Arts students will perform "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" the last weekend of April and first weekend of May.This musical-theater class, for grades K-12, meets Thursday afternoons from January through April and costs $160, or $40 a month, Mr. Hayz said. Registration still is being accepted.
Staffers areexcited to debut the school version of the popular musical "Rent" at the Center in May. Auditions for that show will be 7 to 0 p.m. Jan. 21 and 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 22.
"We've had more people call us for this show than we've ever had," Mr. Hayz said, including people with no association with the Center. He said he wanted to do "Rent" partly because he has many graduating high-school seniors who really want to be in it. The cast will extend up to people in their mid-20s, he said.
The script and lyrics of the school version are "toned down slightly" compared to the Broadway version (including removal of a sexual song), but Mr. Hayz still considers it "rated R," and students need parental permission to try out.
"It's still very much 'Rent.' It's hard to tell the difference," he said.
For more information on the center, visit center4living.com or call (309) 788-5433.