Tag Archives: featured

From Much Ado to Much ADONE!

Much Ado about Nothing

August 2023

Directed by Jarrod DeRooi

…there are no actual weak links in DeRooi’s presentation, but its absolute strength is in the fun brought by Luxton and Blouin, who prove well-matched with their facial expressions, delivery, and the physicality…

The Prenzie Players’ Much Ado About Nothing is a gift to the Quad Cities: a true testament to how art can transform a space, and how classical theatre continues to be relevant.

Madeline Dudziak, River Cities’ Reader
JC Luxton (Benedick) and Lily Blouin (Beatrice) [Photo Credit: Mattie Gelaude]

See also John Turner’s interviews with cast and others:

“The People of Much Ado”

After a three-and-a-half-year hiatus, the PRENZIE PLAYERS mounted a production this August [2023].

Prenzie Veteran Jarrod DeRooi directed Shakespeare’s MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING. This comedy from Shakespeare’s middle period is one of his wittiest, with Benedick and Beatrice starting out with total disdain for each other that blossoms (with much help) into deepest love. Of course, everything that could possibly go wrong with this love story does, and the ways disaster is defeated are more than half the fun of this engaging work.

The cast is a Who’s Who of talent in the Quad-City area and beyond.

There are founding members of the Prenzie Players — JC Luxton playing the male lead (Benedick) and Denise Yoder as Dona Petra.

There are Prenzie regulars Jess White, Noah Stivers, Jen Brown, Mattie Gelaude and Kitty Israel in major roles.

Noah Stivers (Claudio), Denise Yoder (Doña Petra), JC Luxton (Benedick) [Photo Credit: Mattie Gelaude]

People new to Prenzie include female lead Lily Blouin (Beatrice), who has participated in just about every other theater group in the QC area, and Iowa City actors John Smick and Ryan Elgin.

There are even some new faces to theater here. Mark Garden, who turned heads with his stunning work in his first-ever role in TWELVE ANGRY JURORS (Playcrafters) plays the ‘heavy’ Don John, and the troubadour Balthazar is to be the first role since high school for Davenport musician Jenny Lynn Stacy.

The Watch: Ben Graham (Dogberry), John Smick (Seacoal), Milo Houdyshell (Verges), and Mischa Hooker (Oatcake) [Photo Credit: Mattie Gelaude]

Jarrod DeRooi has been a Prenzie regular for 14 years and had the title role in CORIOLANUS in 2017.

This show promised to re-introduce the Prenzie motto: “Theater is not a passive experience.”

MUCH ADO played at the Village Theatre (2113 E. 11th St, Davenport), August 3-6.



Jessica White
Leonetta, former soldier of Messina

Lily Blouin
Beatrice, Leonetta’s niece

Mattie Gelaude
Hero, Leonetta’s daughter

Denise Yoder
Doña Petra, Princess of Aragon

JC Luxton
Benedick, an officer in Doña Petra’s army

Mark Garden
Don John, bastard brother of Doña Petra

Kitty Israel
Corrada, a soldier in Doña Petra’s army
Ursula, a waiting gentlewoman to Hero

Ryan Elgin
Borachio, employee of Leonetta
Friar Francis

John Smick
Antonio, Leonetta’s brother
George Seacoal, a member of the Watch

Jen Brown
Margaret, a waiting gentlewoman to Hero
The Sexton

Mischa Hooker
Hugh Oatcake, a member of the Watch

Ben Graham
Dogberry, Master Constable of the Watch

Milo Houdyshell
Verges, attendant to Dogberry

And Introducing…

Jenny Lynn Stacy
Balthasar, a soldier and musician


Director: Jarrod DeRooi

Stage Manager: Liz Sager

Producer: Mike Schulz

Artistic Director: Catherine Bodenbender

Costumes: Kate Farence, THE CAST

Lighting Design: Roger Pavey, Catherine Bodenbender, Josef Bodenbender

Fight Choreography: Lily Blouin, Denise Yoder

Set Design: Jeremy Mahr, Jarrod DeRooi

Photography: Mattie Gelaude

Set Construction: Aaron E. Sullivan, Jenny Lynn Stacy, Denise Yoder, Jessica White, Deb Herman, John Herman, Joe DeRooi, Ron DeRooi, Cody Tebbit, Eila Tebbit, Matt Moody, Andrew Bruning, Emily Brehn-Stecher, Alice DeRooi, Jarrod DeRooi, THE CAST

Publicity: John R. Turner, Mischa Hooker, Denise Yoder, Kitty Israel, John Smick

Special Thanks

Matt Moody & The Village Theatre
Brent Tubbs & The Spotlight Theatre
Playcrafters Barn Theatre
Mischa Hooker & The New Athens Players
Jeremy Mahr
Andy Koski
Aaron E. Sullivan
Andrew Bruning
John and Sandy Turner
Deb and John Herman
Thorin Peugh & the Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity ReStore