Original article found here.
By Kendra Meinert
Jack Janowicz is onstage playing a farmer … in a musical comedy about the signature stench in Kaukauna … during one of the snowiest Aprils on record.
He’s definitely not in California anymore. At least not until Monday when he heads west.
The De Pere native has spent the last month back in the Green Bay area performing in Let Me Be Frank Productions’ “Something Stinks in Kaukauna,” which ends its four-week run Saturday at the Meyer Theatre. Janowicz is Farmer Langlade, the show’s version of a grouchy ol’ “Get off my lawn!” guy but with a tendency for dressing sexy and revealing.
“So it’s kind of a weird paradox,” he said.
Janowicz gets to bring down the house each night when he sings Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition” in a full dance sequence for the finale. That’s hard to beat, even for somebody whose day job back in California is working at Disneyland.
After making it as far as the Hollywood Week auditions on TV’s “American Idol” in 2014, Janowicz moved to Los Angeles that same year to pursue a career in singing and dancing. He’s been there since — performing, networking, auditioning and gaining some eye-opening wisdom in just how the entertainment industry works.
“I’m not as heavy, heavy into auditioning as I used to be. I’ve had agents. I’ve had managers. I’ve had the whole thing. I don’t want to say it wasn’t my thing, but I guess some of the people who were in charge of me, I don’t think they really had my best interest at heart. They were kind of trying to force me to do things that I wasn’t comfortable doing and didn’t want to do,” he said.
“So I’ve just parted ways with all of those people, and it’s kind of like I’m restarting, in a way, and kind of figuring out what I want,” he said. “When I moved out there I was only 18. I was just a kid. Now I just turned 23 this month. I feel like I know who I am, and I’m confident and feel strong in who I am, and that I’m not afraid to say no to certain things.”
On Tuesday, Janowicz and his best friend from childhood were on their way to Chicago for an audition together. He continues to keep close tabs on audition notices on his own and hopes connections he’s made in the last five years, including people he knows who work for casting agencies, will benefit him going forward. He hasn’t ruled out perhaps auditioning again at some point for “American Idol.”
He has moved from Los Angeles to Anaheim in Orange County, literally just down the street from Disneyland, where he’s involved with parades and character work. He also works at a spa at a Disney resort hotel.
When Let Me Be Frank founder Frank Hermans and his son, Blake, were out in California, they looked up Janowicz at Disneyland. The idea of having him return to the troupe he first joined as a senior in high school (he played a stripper cop in a 2013 production of “CSI: Kewaunee”) came up over dinner. Hermans told him to name his month and he would write a part for him. Janowicz welcomed the chance to be back on the Meyer stage.
“Let Me Be Frank is pretty much my home. I love all the people in the group, and they just feel like total family. It felt like I never left,” he said. “I can’t believe it’s been four or five years since I last did a show. It’s been amazing to just get back out onstage and feel a lot of love from everyone.”
He’s staying put in California, where there’s always a beach to go for a run on or a mountain to hike. Anaheim is less hectic than L.A. It’s more spread out but feels closer-knit, he said. There’s almost a small-town vibe to it.
“It kind of reminds me a little more of Wisconsin. Kind of. Sort of,” he said.
Wisconsin is still home. He misses the frozen custard, the cheese and the steaks. He’s discovered favorite new additions to downtown Green Bay like Nectar and The Creamery. Reconnecting with family and friends has been a way to recharge and “get away from the craziness.”
Wisconsin’s idea of spring weather, however, that still needs some work.
“My dad kept saying, ‘What did you bring with you?’ ‘I’m like, ‘I don’t know, but it wasn’t California weather. I know that much,’” he said. “(The blizzard) was kind of fun. I was trapped in the house for a couple of days straight. I pretty much just watched Beyonce’s Coachella performance 12 times in a row.”