Standout performer from WKU gets TV time

Taylor Harrison

One of WKU’s theater department graduates is getting her name out there, in television, film and theater.

Shelbyville alumna Ruby Lewis started her career at WKU performing in plays and musicals, and has since toured the country with three different musicals, guest starred on television shows like “Desperate Housewives” and “Hart of Dixie” and had a lead role in a film.

She credits her final show at WKU, “Ragtime,” as well as the alumni who encouraged her, with giving her the courage to give acting her all.

“I just really felt like that show gave me the big push I needed to say, okay, I’m going to do it; I’m going to move and try to make it happen,” Lewis said.

Lewis said she loves acting and singing as well, because it makes her feel fulfilled, challenged and creative.

“Just every aspect of it, I just love,” Lewis said. “I’ve always loved it since I was a child and you know, putting on shows in the tree house and stuff. I think I’m just meant to do it.”

As far as theater, Lewis has gone on national tours with “Gypsy,” “Grease” and “Jersey Boys.” Though she now lives in Los Angeles, she originally wanted to focus on Broadway.

Now, Lewis likes living in LA and said it gives her opportunities for employment. Her dream is to be bi-coastal, doing film, TV and theater.

Lewis is currently in the rehearsal stage for “9 to 5,” which she will be performing in LA.

While she was still at WKU, Lewis got her first lead performance in a film, “Another Perfect Stranger,” in which she was on screen for most of the film with one other actor.

“While I was still at Western in 2006 — so the year before I graduated — I auditioned for a film. They were looking for the lead girl and the writer/director was from my hometown so he knew about me,” Lewis said.

She said it was difficult memorizing that much material, and she worked on the film for about 10 days.

Lewis just wrapped filming for “Pass the Light,” her most recent film, in which she has a supporting role.

“I’m good friends with the writer/producer, so that’s how I was able to get in for that,” she said. “I play a news reporter and I just kind of pop in and out of the story.”

Lewis also recently wrapped filming a guest spot for an upcoming show on Showtime, premiering in September, called “Masters of Sex,” starring Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan.

She said it was great getting to meet the stars of the show, and she hopes the guest spot could turn into something more.

Lewis has also worked with Vanessa Williams and Felicity Huffman while filming two episodes of “Desperate Housewives” and David Spade while filming “Rules of Engagement,” which she said made her really nervous.

“I have always loved David Spade and I always thought he was super cute in a weird sort of way,” she said.

Her “Rules of Engagement” episode has yet to air.

David Young, head of the theater department at WKU, said he is not surprised at all that Lewis is doing well.

He said she was a great student at WKU, and he directed her in multiple shows.

“It’s gratifying to see somebody succeeding who’s (a) really nice person who deserves that success and…they don’t let it go to their head,” he said.

Shura Pollatsek, associate professor of Costume Design and Technology, said Lewis was one of WKU’s top performers.

“She certainly stood out among the people that were in school with her at the same time, but the level she was at…there would be years where we would have nobody in school at the level that she was,” she said. “She stood out not only at the time, but in a larger sense.”