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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, July 4 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 27
Ruby is Queen! An interview with Ruby Lewis
Arts & Entertainment
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Ruby is Queen! An interview with Ruby Lewis

by Eric Andrews-Katz - SGN A&E Writer

WE WILL ROCK YOU
5TH AVENUE THEATRE
July 8-13


Ruby Lewis has earned the Triple Crown of performing. She's performed in a recurring role on 'Desperate Housewives,' and Showtime's 'Masters of Sex.' She's been in films and has been seen on stage since age 12 when she performed in The Sound of Music. But the young girl from Kentucky has grown up and is currently playing the role of Scaramouche in the musical, We Will Rock You - based on the music of Queen and Ben Elton. Rocking it's way into the Emerald City, the SGN caught up with this talented performer.

Eric Andrews-Katz: Who were your earliest influences in becoming a performer?

Lewis Ruby: I'd have to say Aretha Franklin was a big one. And Whitney Houston, too. We listened to a lot of Bonnie Raitt in my house as well. As far as turning on the radio, or putting on a cassette tape of music, those were my top three.

Andrews-Katz: What was the first Queen song you remember?

Lewis: I think the first one I remember was 'Another One Bites the Dust.' At least, that is my favorite as a kid.

Andrews-Katz: After performing in The Sound of Music and Ragtime, how did you get yourself prepared for the We Will Rock You audition?

Lewis: I was transitioning into rock musicals at that time, so it worked out really well. I had moved out to L.A. and started working for a company called For The Record. We would sing soundtracks from iconic film scores and sound tracks. So I was singing a lot of rock music when the audition came about. I was using the song 'Somebody to Love' as an audition song, and that's my big solo in the show. I had been using it for years. It was my audition song for Jersey Boys as well. I got the audition notice and luckily I knew the song really well!

Andrews-Katz: Is it more difficult playing in a rock-n-roll musical or performing in a more traditional musical?

Lewis: This show takes a lot of discipline, especially in the way of a lifestyle. I need to make sure I get enough sleep and drink enough water. It's not glamorous. I don't understand how Steve Taylor and those guys did it! It takes such a toll on your body and voice. The feedback from the audience helps. It gives us adrenaline and I feel like I can do anything on stage.

Andrews-Katz: Do you think Jukebox musicals are more popular than traditional musicals?

Lewis: These days I think people are looking for something different. There are waves of what's popular and starting with American Idiot and Spring Awakening, they started writing Broadway shows that are more rock based. It took off. I think people that aren't natural theater goers like to go now, and have the music take them back.

Andrews-Katz: What is it about Queen's music that resonates with the general public so well?

Lewis: I was shocked when I got the job and listened to their catalogue - at how versatile their voices and music were. How many different sounds they did. Freddy changed his voice just slight for the song 'A Crazy Little Thing Called Love' (and people think Elvis did it first, they're wrong) and how unique it sounded.

Andrews-Katz: Which do you find more challenging as a performer, the movies, on television, or on stage, and why?

Lewis: I prefer having constant interaction with my audience and like being on the stage. It's totally different - the kind of energy - and much more fulfilling at the end of the day. It's like during the Curtain Call every night, I have this moment of gratitude that sweeps over me. I say to myself, 'Wow!' every night. 'We are feeding them and they are feeding us,' and it's instant and that's why theater is so unique and magical.

Andrews-Katz: If you could play any role - regardless of any limitations - what would it be and why?

Lewis: Right now I'm really into autobiographical stuff. My dream would be to play Judy Garland or Marilyn Monroe in. ...whatever. One of those two definitely. I think the layers of their personalities are there, and we idolize them for that. I want to show how special they were and how poorly they were treated.

Jim Beach - the manager of the group Queen - was first approached about a Jukebox musical based on Queen's music as early as 2000. A year later the show We Will Rock You opened in London's West End. It celebrated its 11th anniversary before closing in London on May 31, 2014.

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