Artist Spotlight

Molly Wilson

It’s difficult to say where you might have seen Conner Lewis before. This senior, a double-degree vocal performance and theater major from Cedar Rapids, Iowa seems to get onstage as much as possible. He’s been involved in musicals, operas and plays at Lawrence, most recently as Gilbert in “When the War is Done,” last spring’s LUMP production. During his freshman year, he joined the Lawrence University Jazz Ensemble on baritone sax, a group he played in for two years. Lewis has also been singing in choirs at Lawrence since his arrival.
Lewis’ first break in theater came in fifth grade, when he played Michael in his brother’s high school production of “Peter Pan.” When asked about the experience, Lewis simply commented, “The harness cracked my ribs … it was wonderful.”
From there Lewis has moved onto less physically damaging theater experiences. He spent last summer in Falmouth, Mass. at the College Light Opera Company, which puts on nine shows in 11 weeks. Among his favorite roles he cites Sir Joseph Porter, K.C.B., First Admiralty of her Majesty’s Royal Navy, in Gilbert and Sullivan’s “H.M.S Pinafore.” Said Lewis, “It was fantastic. The way I thought about Sir Joseph was like Gilderoy Lockhart … but in the navy.”
Right now, he’s playing Romeo in Lawrence’s production of “Romeo and Juliet,” set in the 1980s on the Jersey shore. “It’s like an acid trip,” Lewis said of the production. “Shakespeare’s really cool because you can set it any time and it works; but you have to be smart, and this production is.”
Among other things, Lewis promised the production would include a disturbing giant face named Tilly onstage at all times – apparently a staple of the Jersey shore – as well as “crow bars, tire irons and throat cutting!”
“Romeo and Juliet” opened Thursday night, and there will be shows Friday, Saturday and Sunday. If Lewis in a “tight pink emo shirt” isn’t enough of a draw for you, you can catch him next as the crook – his solo already draws laughs at every opera rehearsal – in the Lawrence production of “Candide” winter term.