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Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: Let Me Be Frank performer at brink in big contest

Jack Janowicz, 18, is part of a New Year’s Eve gig first.

GREEN BAY, Wis., (WFRV) – Some songs of Jack Janowicz tend to get a rise from folks, particularly women, in Let Me Be Frank Productions shows at the Meyer Theatre in downtown Green Bay. Tuesday’s annual New Year’s Eve season-recap show will have a bit more mustard around Janowicz. He’s made a significant leap as a contestant in a popular TV show seen on a station other than WFRV. Be that as it may, his situation is simply interesting.

Janowicz is 18. He’s a June graduate of De Pere High School. He performed with the Let Me Be Frank Productions show troupe with regularity – six or so shows – through his final years in high school. To do so, he passed up a return to the high-energy Kids from Wisconsin show troupe after two summers of heavy duty performing around the state and at the Wisconsin State Fair.

After a hiatus from local performing for a few months, Janowicz will re-join Frank’s for Tuesday’s show. The production features highlights from this year’s output of “CSI Kewaunee,” “Hortonville Teachers Strike,” “Love Boat 2,” “Through Curly’s Eyes” and “My Big Fat Pulaski Wedding – The Honeymoon is Over.” (Info: www.meyertheatre.com).

“The stripper is coming back,” Janowicz said with a chuckle of his signature Frank’s persona in a phone interview with me. He’ll also be “doing some fun numbers and fun dance numbers with everyone. I’m really looking forward to being back on that stage.”

A cat has been out of the bag for a few days now. Janowicz has led an existence other than one people were led to believe, all because of that popular TV show.

Janowicz said, “I have been doing a lot of stuff since May. I sent in a video audition and then I proceeded on to the producer rounds and executive producer rounds. And then I sang in front of the judges in October. And then just last week I went for the filming for Hollywood week. But now I’m home.”

Next?

“Well, I can’t really say. I can’t reveal too much about the show so people watch the show and see what happens.”

Janowicz auditioned for the judges in Omaha, Nebraska.

This got in the way of his original intention of attending a performance school in Los Angeles.

“That was my plan,” he said, “and then my school actually wouldn’t let me attend this semester because of all the contracts and I’d have to miss school for the filmings and stuff. They just said, ‘Take this semester off.’ I told everyone that I was at school but really I was doing ‘American Idol.’ I just couldn’t say anything about ‘Idol’.”

Thus, the other existence.

“Yes, for a long time, and no one knew about it,” he said.

That show was in the hopper when he did an interview with me for this column in June about another adventure he got into. He sang in a concert in New York City at the famed Birdland club. In a sense, that show was always in the hopper.

“Yup, yup. As a little kid, I mean, I started singing when I was 6 or 7. That’s right when the first season was on, when I was about 7. And I watched every season. It was my dream to audition. I auditioned once when I was 15 – three years ago – but didn’t make it. Now this year I just got lucky with it and made it a little further, so it was cool.”

It wasn’t until this week that Janowicz could say something is afoot.

“The contracts with the show are really strict, but we just got an email from the show’s top executive producer saying that we could.”

This is Janowicz’ assessment so far: “It definitely is a lot of fun. Good experience. Challenging but definitely just a great experience for me.”

You may email me at warren.gerds@wearegreenbay.com. Watch for my on-air features on WFRV at 6:45 p.m. Thursdays and every other Sunday between 6 and 8 a.m. (usually around 7:45 a.m.)

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