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A Day in the Life of Ruby Lewis of ‘Cirque du Soleil Paramour’

Category Broadway

|by Jeryl Brunner |


The leading lady of ‘Paramour’ shares a day that includes a photo shoot, Trader Joe’s shopping, yoga class, magic juice making, rehearsal and, oh, soaring on Broadway

Ruby Lewis got her first big break singing in church. It was the holidays and she was dressed like an elf, sitting on a piano. “The song was written just for me,” says Lewis, who grew up in Shelbyville, Kentucky. “The choir would sing a line and I would repeat it. I knew I nailed it because everybody was just freaking out.”

Lewis was only three.

In fact, Lewis’ mother says her daughter sang before she could talk. “From a very early age, I was fully immersed,” recalls Lewis who also studied dance from an early age. “Coming back and forth from dance class, my mom, who was an opera singer, would sing something like ‘Silent Night’ and have me harmonize with her in the car,” she explains.

Jeremy Kushnier and Ruby Lewis perform a song from ‘Cirque du Soleil Paramour’ (Photo: Richard Termine)

Jeremy Kushnier and Ruby Lewis perform a song from ‘Cirque du Soleil Paramour’ (Photo: Richard Termine)

By the seventh grade, the triple threat landed her first professional acting gig playing Brigitta in The Sound of Music at the Musical Theatre Louisville. She will never forget the last performance, standing in the wings. “I remember being completely overwhelmed, thinking I will never stand here, in this costume, in this character, at this time ever again,” she shares. “I was so sad because it was ending. I tried hard to take a mental snapshot and managed to take a pretty poignant one.” What truly stayed with her was the feeling, the longing for more. “I wanted to recreate that moment — getting ready to take the stage and share a character — as often as I could,” recalls Lewis.

After majoring in Performing Arts at Western Kentucky University, playing roles like Mother in Ragtime and Mrs. Johnstone in Blood Brothers, Lewis was cast as Dainty June in a touring production of Gypsy. Then, she went on the road with GreaseJersey Boys and We Will Rock You. She eventually moved to L.A. and got an agent. “I was very lucky,” she says. “There’s maybe one musical theater agent out in L.A.”

She was sent to an audition for the television series Medium with Patricia Arquette, where she had to portray a girl who dies from asphyxiation. “I sat in a chair in an office, pretended to suffocate and die,” says Lewis. It was so believable that she got the part. “I really do look like I’m dying when I see the clip,” she adds. After that co-starring role, more television parts followed, and she worked with Gilles Marini, Felicity Huffman, Vanessa Williams, David Spade, Nicholas D’Agosto and Ben Savage.

In May 2016, Lewis made her Broadway debut as leading lady Indigo James in Cirque du Soleil Paramour. The production combines jaw-dropping acrobatics with narrative storytelling. For her, Paramour is a beautiful merger of all the things that she learned in her career. “When I lived in L.A., I did a lot of on-camera work, and in the show, I get to do some on-camera work. I dance and sing so many different styles of music,” she explains. “Paramour almost feels like a quilt that has been patched for me in all of my years touring and doing summer stock. It’s really kismet.”

Lewis also remains in awe of her Paramour cast mates, who dazzle her. “Every night, I am blown away by the human capacity. Like all Cirque du Soleil shows, Paramour is so joyous, so full of color and light — it’s like entering a magic wonderland,” she says. “And then to be on Broadway! It doesn’t feel like I should be getting paid. It feels like I should be paying them.”

The Paramour star takes us through her chock-full, multi-tasking, high-flying day.

8:15am
I have my alarm set much earlier today. Well, let’s be honest — I usually don’t set an alarm at all on a Friday. But I’ve got a photo shoot with my castmate, Martin Charrat, this morning. And I’m super excited about it. First things first, though, I check on my friend Justin who is in town from Vegas to make sure he’s not still sleeping. He’s attending the ECC (Equity Chorus Call) for Hamilton today, and I told him to get there nice and early. I see he’s made it out the door.

9:07am
I get ready for the photo shoot, pack my bag, grab a cup of Trader Joe’s Honey Greek Yogurt and am out the door.

9:15am
The C train heading uptown comes right away.

9:26am
I get off at 81st Street.

9:30am
I exit the train and have a half an hour to find the espresso I promised Martin. I head over to Amsterdam Avenue to an Italian espresso bar and record a voice memo to explain my morning adventure: “…I have a photo shoot with my fellow castmate and acrobat, Martin Charrat. I’ve been wanting to do a shoot with him since we started the early process of rehearsing on Long Island. He takes beautiful, dynamic photos — and photos that translate into black and white well. So I’m wearing a stark white dress, put my fake hair clips in, and we’re going to the park to shoot in front of Belvedere Castle.”

I make it to Caffé Noi espresso bar, order Martin a double espresso and chocolate croissant and an iced coffee for myself.

10am
Right on time and with coffee in hand, we meet at the 81st Street entrance to Central Park and start to explore! I think Martin was grateful for said espresso and croissant.

10:15am
And then we have our photo shoot!

11:30am
I wrap the photo shoot with Martin. Then, I have to head back downtown to give Justin my keys. He just finished his Hamilton audition and needs a nap — like pronto. He nailed it. Also, I eat a snack.

12:38pm
I’ve made it downtown for yoga. It’s a 1pm hot yoga at my favorite studio, Modo Yoga in the West Village. I’m so glad I arrived early because I have time for a cup of tea in the locker room before class.

2:45pm
I just walked out of the yoga studio and I look like this because of sweat. I’m walking up 6th Avenue to grab some essentials at Trader Joe’s.

2:46pm
I sign a petition to stop the use of the pesticide neonicotinoid because it’s killing off the bee population. And that’s really irresponsible, super sad and scary.

3:01pm
I have my shopping done in no time and get in line to check out with all the things I routinely get at Trader Joe’s, except the parsnip chips because my dresser Neely asked me to pick those up for her. I’m sure they’re delicious. Miraculously, there is no line.

3:41pm
I finally hail a cab to head back uptown. I have to head straight to the theatre for rehearsal. I’m sure the groceries can sit awhile! Magnus at the door will watch them for me.

4pm
Rehearsal with our vacation swing Xander. I have a hard time focusing around acrobats.

4:20pm
I go back to my apartment to put the groceries away. I put the flowers in a vase, make one of my favorite summer snacks, work on some cards I need to put in the mail and do some scheduling things.

5:30pm
I have time for a nap, so I’m taking one.

6:05pm
The nap was unsuccessful as the gas company knocked to read the meter.

6:10pm
I get going on dinner and my magic juice.

Magic Juice:
Big bunch of ginger
Lemon
Orange juice
Oil of Oregano
Cayenne extract

I made enough for the long weekend. I also make a quick 12-minute dinner, tuna with multigrain pilaf and pomegranate seeds.

6:48pm
Leave for the theatre. It’s close to my apartment so I can walk there.

6:58pm
Sign in! Friday night on Broadway!

My dressing room is never organized. You can tell I’m super embarrassed about it.

Neely is excited about the Parsnip chips.

8:16pm
I head to the stage in full Indigo! We’ve had such great audiences at Paramour. I love introducing Indigo to new folks every night. The acrobatics never cease to amaze me. And if you need proof that the people I work with are amazing, they are the ones who built and stocked my shower bar.

9:58pm
I said everyone in the cast was awesome. Except this acrobat. Lee. He steals my phone and takes pictures with my sweat rag.

10:45pm
I finish taking pictures and signing autographs at the stage door. It was an amazing show tonight. I could tell people really loved it!

To “wine” down, I grab a glass with my favorite clown, Nate. This is our go-to spot. When we need a glass after a long day, we ask the other if they’re up for an “escape.”

12:35am
Finally bed time. Honestly, this has been the craziest day I’ve had in a while. But so productive and full of amazing people and talent. And we entertained almost 2,000 tonight — not a bad way to call it a night.

And the photos with Martin turned out great!

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