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updated: 8/2/2011 12:00 PM

Mistaken identities keep Janus audiences laughing

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Submitted by Janus Theatre

Janus Theatre presents its first Summer Rep 2011 series featuring "The Importance of Being Earnest" by Oscar Wilde and "Twelfth Night" by William Shakespeare.

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The Summer Rep 2011 series will open Thursday, Aug. 4 and run through Aug. 28. It 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 Aug. 4-7, 18, 20, 26, 28 and "Twelfth Night" on August 11-14,19, 21, 25, 27 at the Elgin Art Showcase on the eighth floor of the Professional Building, 164 Division St. in Elgin. Performances will be at 8 p.m. Thursdays to Saturdays, and 3 p.m. Sundays.

Two classic comedies get new, intimate productions for this summer's theatrical season.

"We've produced many classical plays in the last few years," said artistic Director Sean Hargadon. "What we learned was that our studio space 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," said Hargadon. "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, Brian 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).

"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). Both productions will be staged-managed by Kate Collins and feature lighting design by Kelly Herz (Wayne).

Tickets are $15, paid by cash or check at the door. Reservations can be made by calling (847) 841-1713.

For information, visit janustheatre.wordpress.com. Look for Janus Theatre Summer Rep 2011 on Facebook.

Janus Theatre Company is a nonprofit theater, founded in 1998, that creates intimate theatrical experiences bringing the audience and actor closer together. In 2010, Janus produced the first Elgin Short Play Festival, featuring the work of Theresa Rebeck, a commemorative production of "The Guys" by Ann Nelson; featuring an art installation by renowned artist George Kokines, entitled "September 11," a new version of Shakespeare's "Macbeth," and the company also won this year's Best in Show Award at the annual Walkabout: Theater on Your Feet.

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