Student Spotlight: Kent Lewis
When his father sang barbershop, Kent Lewis fell in love with the harmony.
Lewis knew where he was going to college after visiting College of DuPage and speaking with Professor Lee Kesselman about the theory classes and the opportunities to perform.
“At COD, I learned to speak the language of music,” he said. “Understanding theory is crucial to my ability to communicate with other musicians, as well as the discipline of being an accountable member of a team in a performing group or production, whether onstage, backstage or in a creative capacity.”
Since leaving COD, Lewis has traveled the country performing in musical theater. He was with both the first national tour of “Billy Elliot” as a swing and the first national tour of “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” understudying Caractacas Potts. He also lived in Las Vegas singing ABBA songs in “Mamma Mia!”
“I’ve played the upright bass in upstate New York, and I’ve tap-danced in Tinseltown. I’ve directed and choreographed for regional theaters and even music directed with The Second City,” he said.
In 2015, he was nominated for a Joseph Jefferson award, the highest Chicago theater distinction, for his role as Johnny Cash in “Ring of Fire” at the Mercury Theater in Chicago. The show received six total nominations.
He also worked with Tony nominees and winners Hunter Foster in “The Buddy Holly Story,” Marcia Milgrom Dodge in “Fiddler in the Roof” and Mary Zimmerman at Chicago’s Goodman Theater in “Wonderful Town.” He was with “Million Dollar Quartet” at the Paramount Theater in Aurora in 2017 and was in one of the first regional productions of “Once” in 2018.
Also in 2018, he returned to his role of Johnny Cash in “Ring of Fire” produced by Williams Street Players at The Raue Center in Crystal Lake. The show broke all previous box office records and he hopes to return next year.
His goal is to own a theater and write musicals. As for students considering College of DuPage and the Music program, his advice is to do it, to show up and to take advantage of any opportunities.
“At COD, I formed a barbershop quartet with friends. We auditioned for Six Flags Great America, and through a series of events, I found myself singing and dancing in the park’s patriotic revue ‘America.’ An actress from that show invited me to visit her in Indiana. During the visit, I accompanied her to an audition for ‘Guys and Dolls.’ I wound up playing Sky Masterson, and from there kept finding new rungs on the ladder of theatrical success.”
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