In 1940, at the suggestion of the late Homer Curran, Lewis joined forces with Howard Young, a junior producer on Curran’s staff. Their first venture together, a touring production of “Meet the Wife” starring Mary Boland, was a financial and artistic success, and the tow formed a partnership which lasted until Young’s retirement in 1991. In the 50 years of their collaboration, Lewis and Young produced nearly three dozen plays and musicals for Broadway and for the national touring circuit.
In 1951, Lewis and Young productions, with financial underwriting from The Sacramento Bee, established Sacramento Music Circus, the first of the newly popular tent theatres in the West and only the third in the country.
Throughout his long career, Lewis preferred to remain out of the limelight, but his voice and vision were crucial to the company’s success. He combined an old-world sense of style and elegance with sound business practices and rigorous fairness in dealing with others. Along the way he mentored many of the most influential artists and administrators in contemporary arts and enriched the lives of two generations of theatregoers.
Lewis was married to actress Evelyn Bell, who was a member of the acting company during the first Music Circus season, and they had two children, Richard and Dita.
Russell Lewis died in