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Shelby County woman playing the new Queen of rock

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Ruby Lewis of Shelbyville plays the co-starring role of Scaramouche in the touring musical ‘We Will Rock You’ that opens its U.S. tour later this month in Boston.

By Lisa King

Shelbyville native Ruby Lewis is about to embark on her latest venture, co-starring in the national tour of the Queen musical We Will Rock You, which opens later this month.  

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Lewis will play Scaramouche alongside Brian Justin Crum, who was cast in the lead role of Galileo.

“This will be the first time that I will play the lead in a national tour – it’s really exciting,” Lewis said. “It also means a lot more responsibility and doing a lot more press in all these different cities. It also means taking on more of a leadership role, because when you’re on tour, you’re kind of family. It’ll be a really great challenge.”

The Ben Elton production, a worldwide smash that has played in London for 11 years, will launch Oct. 15 at France-Merrick Performing Arts Center in Baltimore, the first of 26 stops scheduled for major cities across the country.
Lewis has been busy rehearsing, promoting and even recently sang the national anthem before a baseball game in Baltimore.

But Oct. 15 is a date that Lewis’ parents, Eve and Tommie Lewis, are awaiting anxiously.

“For my birthday, she bought us round-trip tickets to Baltimore,” Eve Lewis said. “We leave the fourteenth, and we’re going to get the red carpet treatment. We’ll get to sit with all the producers. Those will be wonderful seats. Then we’ll get to go to the big party after the premiere.”  

Lewis said Ruby tried to surprise her with the tickets but that she kind of derailed the surprise.  
“I was complaining because I wanted to go to New York while she was up there, because she has a really nice apartment they got for her on forty-second street, and I kept saying. ‘If I can find a cheap enough ticket, I am just going to fly up to New York.’ And she said, ‘Mom, will you just hold your horses!’”

TV role on Sunday
Ruby Lewis has had major roles in other musical theater productions, including Gypsy, Grease and, most recently, Jersey Boys. She also has filmed a guest appearance in a new Showtime series Masters of Sex, a biographical series about legendary sex researchers and real-life couple William Masters and Virginia Johnson.  The pilot premiered Sunday, and Lewis’ guest appearance will be this Sunday.

Eve Lewis said her daughter has for the past month been living in New York, rehearsing for her role.
“She is just on cloud nine, just like we are,” she said. “It’s been an exciting month in New York City, where she’s been learning her role as Scaramouch. I talk to her on the phone most every day, and we follow her on Facebook, and she posts all the pictures.
“You can see all the pictures of her with Robert De Niro. They had a huge kickoff last Monday, big press, where Robert was there, and you can see him as well as Ben Elton, who is a director as well as a former Emmy and Oscar winner.”  

Meeting De Niro
Ruby Lewis said she was thrilled to meet De Niro, who is one of the producers of the show.

“I’ll probably get to run into him again; he’s going to be checking in with us,” she said. “He’s been a big fan of the show since its birth eleven years ago.”

Lewis and her theater family on Monday would leave for Boston to prepare for opening night.

Eve Lewis recalled how excited Ruby was when she auditioned for the part in Hollywood, where she lives.  

“She was excited about getting the call back, and when she went there [New York], it was supposed to be in the afternoon, and it turned out they had some type of mix up by the time she got there,” she said. “She was the last call back, and she was supposed to meet Brian May, who is one of the original members of Queen, and Ben Elton and everybody else involved with the show.
“And when she walked in, there they all were. Needless to say, it pretty much took her off the planet, seeing them.”
In a recent television interview that Ruby Lewis posted on her Facebook page, she said of the upcoming role: “It’s a dream come true. She [Scaramouch] has so many layers and she goes through such a wonderful journey, that as an actor, I am just through the roof with excitement to try to get audiences to see this, and to try to do her justice because she is super cool. I sang ‘Somebody to Love,’ which I had been auditioning with anyway, and I felt very comfortable with it. And they like it, I think – they hired me.”

Smile onstage
Tommie Lewis said the role is so prestigious that it could be a major turning point in his daughter’s career.  
“We’re hoping that this role will open a few more doors that she’s been knocking on in the last few years,” he said. “Some of that [performing] started back when she was eight years old, and she was dancing in competitions, and her grandmother, who she was named after, reminded her after a performance that she wasn’t smiling on stage.”  
Ruby told her grandmother that she was just nervous, Lewis said.  
“Her grandmother told her, the only connection you have with the audience is to project that you’re having the best time of your life whether you are or not,” he said. “You have to make them believe that and that they believe it, the more they’ll love you. So I think she’s kept that perception.”
Lewis, like his wife, said he is looking forward to spending a week with Ruby in Baltimore, the first time in a year they have been together. But no matter how busy she is, Ruby manages to fit time in to her schedule to spend with family and friends, he said, whether it’s spending a weekend with her sister, Kelley, who also lives in California, or her lifelong friend, Abby Rigney, who is in the Navy and is stationed in San Diego.
Eve Lewis said she’s really excited for her daughter, and that she and her husband are very supportive of her career.
“She’s doing what she has a passion for and what she does so well, and that’s live performance,” she said. “Her dad and I both kind of live vicariously through her. It’s just really exciting to be able to share this with her. I went and got a special haircut the other day. I told the stylist, I want to look like a rock star’s mommy! But then I looked in the mirror, and I still looked like a sixty-two-year-old Shelbyville girl.”
Ruby Lewis said she hopes the tours gets closer to home than Tennessee, where a performance is scheduled.
“We’re coming to Nashville soon, and I’m hoping that eventually we’ll make our way to Louisville, but we haven’t had any dates confirmed there yet,” she said. “I think this tour is also going to be fun and exciting on social media; the tour will have a Facebook page. We’ll be posting a lot of photos and videos of the tour.”