Category Archives: plays


We’ll be holding auditions for this summer’s Austen in Elgin season on Sunday, January 29,  starting at 2:00 pm at the Elgin Art Showcase, located on the 8th floor at 164 Division Street in downtown Elgin.

Jane Austen is coming to Elgin

You can use mapquest for directions and the location. It is located 30 miles west of Chicago.

We’re looking to cast Pride & Prejudice, directed by Marge Uhlarik, and Sense & Sensibility, directed by Terry Domschke. Both plays are adapted from the original stories written by Jane Austen. The productions will begin rehearsals in May and run June 29-July 22.

We’re seeking men and women to cast both productions. All parts are open.

Appointments for auditions are by email only. Please contact us at to request an audition time. A headshot and resume is welcome but not required. We’ll be conducting readings from the script. There is pay.

Tagged , , ,

Stop The Press – Stories About The Rep

The Janus Theatre Summer Rep has been getting a lot of print.

Everywhere you look both shows are getting stories. Here’s a piece from the Daily Herald about why we started the Rep.

Apparently, it had been on our minds for a long time.

Decade-old dream realized for Janus founders

Dream of two shows realized for Janus founders

August 10, 2011

By Jack Helbig

When Terry Domschke co-founded Janus Theatre with Sean Hargadon 10 years ago, they dreamed of running two full-length shows at once in what is called rotating repertory.

They would travel to Canada’s Stratford Shakespeare Festival, featuring a dozen or more shows running in repertory, and talk of doing something similar — if far less comprehensive — back home.

Domschke, a retired Elgin Community College theater professor, just wanted to put on two shows at once, and this summer he finally gets his chance with both Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest” and William Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” sharing the stage on a rotating basis in Elgin.

“I love seeing a couple of shows at a time by the same theater.” Domschke explains.

Janus Theatre has grown in fits and starts over the years. It has also called a number of spots home including a coffee shop in Arlington Heights,

a public park in Arlington Heights and a brew pub in Elgin until setting down roots at the Elgin Art Showcase.

“We have had our ups and downs,” Domschke admits.

Last year, Hargad
this summer.on suggested to Domschke that it was time to try out their rep idea and settled on

“I said immediately I wanted to do ‘The Importance of Being Earnest,’” Domschke says. “He wanted to do a Shakespeare, ‘Twelfth Night.’ They are both plays about mistaken identities and they contrast well.”

They are also both popular plays in the public domain, meaning Janus would not have to pay royalties.

“At first we were going to combine the casts for both plays,” Domschke explains. “But the rehearsal time was so short. So there is no crossover between the casts.”

Both “The Importance of Being Earnest” and “Twelfth Night” are oft-produced chestnuts of the theater world. Oddly enough, however, Domschke had never directed “Earnest” before. That didn’t stop him from giving the story his own twist.

“I transposed the action to the early 1920s,” Domschke says. “Putting the play in the ’20s gives me more freedom to make the play more bouncy and active.”

The change gave the women characters more freedom — and less restrictive costumes — than they would have had with the original 19th century staging.

Plus, the change allowed Domschke to do what he loves best as a director: “developing a world vision through the play.”

“I enjoy developing a play,” he says, “so you create a whole world on the stage.”

For the complete story with photos, go to

One Two Punch – Twelfth Night Finishes Opening Weekend

We had Wilde. Then we had Shakespeare.

We just finished the opening weekend to Twelfth Night by Shakespeare and everything went fantastic. The actors, set, lighting and sound all came together for a memorable weekend.

Following the strong performances of The Importance of Being Earnest during the first week, this was a wonderful opportunity to add to the acting chops already on display during our Rep series at the Elgin Art Showcase.

What can I say? This is one strong acting company. From the leads to the supporting roles, everyone has shined throughout the process and delivered some wonderful work. Now both shows will start alternating nights, which is where the real fun begins. But first, we need an audience.

That’s right. I said it. Audience. Sure, we’ve had people come out and see the work, but when you start seeing more empty chairs than people, it starts to wear on you.

Sometimes I am surprised to find that the arts destination that is Elgin is regrettably lacking in support of the artists. Sure, this is a longer run than one weekend and we know that the classics are not everyone’s cup of tea, but still, attention should be paid when a modest theater company tackles something so large.

Well, westward ho, as the saying goes. Here are some pics from Twelfth Night, courtesy of John Congram.  Makes you want to call the Box Office right now – 847-841-1713. Doesn’t it?

Chris Bibby as Sir Toby and Justin Schaller as Sir Andrew


Liz Vanderhoof as Viola

Joe Hoover as Malvolio


Ross Patrick Frawley as Orsino


Kate Donoghue as Olivia and Tyler Thompson as Feste


Janus Theatre Opens Rep with “Earnest”

Well, one down and another to go.

We opened The Importance of Being Earnest on Thursday and everything went very well.  We had a nice size house and the actors did a fine job playing live for the first time in front of an audience.

The show will continue tonight and tomorrow and then take a week off for Twelfth Night to open. After that, both shows run in tandem on alternate nights, so stay tuned.

Here are some production photos from Earnest.

Dennis Edwards as Jack and Lucy Zukaitis as Gwendolen


Joceyln Adamski as Cecily with Edwards and Zukaitis


Corey Noble as Algernon, Jocelyn Adamski, Dennis Edwards, Lucy Zukaitis and Brian Rabinowitz as Lady Bracknell



Summer Rep 2011 coming in August

Janus Theatre presents its first Summer Rep 2011 series featuring…

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde and Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare. The Summer Rep 2011 series will open August 4 and run through August 28 and is sponsored in part by the Elgin Cultural Arts Commission and the Palmer Foundation.

Both plays will be presented in rotating repertory, featuring The Importance of Being Earnest on August 4,5,6,7,18,20,26,28 and Twelfth Night on August 11,12,13,14,19,21,25,27 at the Elgin Art Showcase, 164 Division Street, on the eighth floor of the Professional Building.

These two classic comedies get new, intimate productions for this summer’s theatrical season. We’ve produced many classical plays in the last few years and what we learned was that the Elgin Art Showcase adds a great deal of understanding and fun to the works of Shakespeare and other classic writers.

Presenting The Importance of Being Earnest and Twelfth Night in rotating repertory was a natural fit considering both plays deal with mistaken identity that leads to some exciting comedy. For many years, we wanted to see how two plays being performed on alternating nights might complement each other. With these two plays, the characters and the language are wonderful – it should be an excellent series.

The Importance of Being Earnest features Dennis Edwards (West Chicago) as Jack, Corey Noble (Chicago), Lucy Zukaitis (Chicago) as Gwendolen, Jocelyn Adamski (Oak Park) as Cecily, Brain  Rabinowitz (Oak Park) as Lady Bracknell, Patricia True (Chicago) as Miss Prism, Brad Davdison (Mount Prospect). The production will be directed by Terry Domschke (Elgin), stage-managed by Kate Collins (Elgin) with light design by Kelly Herz (Wayne).

Twelfth Night features Ross Frawley (Elgin) as Orsino, Liz Vanderhoof (Chicago) as Viola, Kathleen Donoghue (Chicago) as Oliva, Joe Hoover (Chicago) as Malvolio, Chris Bibby (Hoffman Estates) as Sir Toby, Justin Schaller (Hoffman Estates) as Sir Andrew, Sarafina Vecchio (Elgin) as Maria, Tyler Thompson (Elgin) as Feste, Luke Donia (St. Charles) as Fabian, Corey Noble (Chicago) as Sebastian, Brad Davidson (Mount Prospect) as Antonio, Stetson Cross (Elgin) as Sailor/company, Bradley Brankemper (Naperville) as Valentine/company. The production is directed by Sean Hargadon (Elgin), stage-managed by Kate Collins (Elgin) with light design by Kelly Herz (Wayne).

The Janus Theatre Summer Rep 2011 will be performed at the Elgin Art Showcase, 164 Division Street, 8th Floor of the Professional Building in downtown Elgin on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays 3pm. Tickets are $15 – paid by cash or check at the door. Reservations can be made by calling 847-841-1713. For more information, go to WWW.JANUSTHEATRE.WORDPRESS.COM. Look for Janus Theatre Summer Rep 2011 on Facebook.

All In The Timing

Tomorrow night we open the second-annual Elgin Short Play Festival at the Elgin Art Showcase. Tech week as gone well and everyone is ready for an audience. Here’s a photo sample of some of the shows, courtesy of John Congram.

Kelly Bolton in The Universal Language


Luke Donia in A Singular Kinda Guy


The cast in Philip Glass Buys a Loaf of Bread


Ann Marie Nordby in Speed The Play


Going From Dark To Light

This Thursday the Elgin Short Play Festival will begin its second year. In many ways it will be a departure from previous Janus productions.

This year we’re cracking a smile.  

You see, the last few seasons we’ve produced a steady diet of what some people might call “heavy drama” or plays that leave you feeling a bit cathartic. It started in 2009 when produced Oedipus Rex, Miss Julie, Romeo & Juliet and then continued in 2010 with Macbeth, The Guys, and the short plays of Theresa Rebeck. Sure Rebeck’s plays were funny, but they were also pretty dark.

So for 2011 the sun will be coming out – in full force. It starts with this week’s short comedies from David Ives – a master wordsmith, who loves to turn the world of a play upside down. 

Janus is no stranger to Ives. This is our third encounter with the master’s work. Every time we produce his plays, something new is discovered. And these plays are a perfect start to the summer season.

Following Mr. Ives, we’ll be producing our first summer rep series when we present two classic comedies in August – The Importance of Being Earnest and Twelfth Night. Good times. 

So you may be asking, why the change? Where’s the vengeance of Medea or the melancholy meanderings of Hamlet or the fiery defiance of Antigone?

Well, like any good meal, you need to have an appetizer before the main course. And frankly, the last few years have been nothing but large meals full of starch. I sure do love a wonderful Fettuccini Alfredo (with a side of crusty bread), but sometimes you just want some cheese and crackers and a glass of Sangria. Or maybe just the Sangria.