Janet has worked as a teaching artist for many years, bringing arts-integrated programs into Chicagoland public schools, and is currently the associate director of TimeLine's Living History Education Program. In 2001 she was awarded the Ed See Outstanding Theatre Alumnus Award from the University of Central Missouri, where she earned a BFA degree in theater in 1979. She has an MFA degree in acting from Western Illinois University.
Janet has been seen in several TimeLine productions, including All My Sons, Not Enough (Jeff Award nomination - "Actress in a Principal Role"), Weekend (Jeff Award nomination - "Actress in a Supporting Role"), the one-woman show Lillian, Tesla's Letters, Paradise Lost, A Man For All Seasons, and Paragon Springs.
She has also performed at Writers' Theatre, Live Bait, City Lit, Pegasus Players, Stage Left, Chicago Jewish Theatre, and is the past artistic/education director for Child's Play Touring Theatre where she taught arts integrated curriculum in local and national venues. She continues as a teaching artist with Writers' Theatre and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. She also spent years entertaining in Branson, MO.
Her down-home modesty is the opposite of an on-the-make actor's hustle. Instead, she lays her career cards on the table with disarming candor: "How do you put ten seasons at Silver Dollar City on your résumé?" she asks, referencing the many years she spent in a cancan dress at Branson's famous theme park. But Brooks knows what other actors sometimes forget: such gigs should carry no shame. "I loved working there," she says, "I love entertaining and making people happy.”
Other Chicago credits include portraying Golda Meier in Golda's Balcony at Pegasus (Non-Equity Jeff Award - Solo Performance); Richard III, A Lie Of The Mind (Non-Equity Jeff Award nomination - Ensemble) and Marathon 33 (Non-Equity Jeff Award - Ensemble) at Strawdog Theatre; Huck Finn at Steppenwolf Theatre for Young Adults; Still Life at Pegasus Players and Seagull and The Doctor's Dilemma at Writers' Theatre. She also has worked at ShawChicago, Collaboraction, Live Bait, and Northlight.
In her relatively short time back on the Chicago scene, Ms. Brooks has also landed a number of film roles too: a part in the feature films Conviction starring Hilary Swank, Sam Rockwell, and Juliette Lewis, Polish Bar starring James Badge Dale, Judd Hirsch, and Meat Loaf, and the short film Educating Cooper portraying Principal Fullbright.