Russell L. Lewis, co-founder and president of Sacramento Music Circus, died Dec. 9 at his Malibu home after a brief illness.
Lewis’ career spanned seven decades, beginning with a theatrical apprenticeship in Europe in the early 1930s.
After several years, he moved to Hollywood where he worked with legendary film designer Robert Edmond Jones. In 1935, he received an Academy Award nomination for his dance direction of the grand ball sequences in thefirst full-color feature, “Becky Sharp.”
In 1940, Lewis joined forces with Howard Young and their first venture together, a touring production of “Meet the Wife,” was a financial and artistic success. In the 50 years of their collaboration, they produced nearly three dozen plays and musicals for Broadway and for the national touring circuit.
In 1951, Lewis and Young established Music Circus, incorporated under the name Sacramento Light Opera Association. Their enterprise has operated its tent theater for 42 consecutive seasons.
Lewis is survived by his wife, a son, a daughter, and three grandchildren.
At Lewis’ request, no memorial services are planned. The family requests that any remembrances be made to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.