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Lewis named 2017 FHS Distinguished Graduate

Friona High School officials announced this week that Del Lewis has been named the 2017 FHS Distinguished Graduate. Lewis will be honored at the FHS Senior Academic Awards on Sunday, May 7 at 2 p.m. in the FHS Auditorium.

Long before Del Lewis was an actor, director, educator and member of both Actors Equity and the Screen Actors Guild, he was known as 1955 Friona High School graduate Don Edwin Lewis. Lewis was one of twenty-seven graduates that year. Lewis is married and now resides in Portland, Oregon.

Lewis studied acting with Uta Hagen, Irene Dailey, Joe Hardy and Alan Miller. He studied voice with Sergius Kagen at The Julliard School of Music. He holds a Bachelor of Sacred Music Degree with a concentration in Voice and Choral Conduction and a Master of Fine Arts in Directing.

He studied theatre-acting/directing at University of Wisconsin-Madison and voice & choral conducting at Midwestern State University.

He was awarded a Kennedy Center Medallion for excellence in service to the field of theatre education. Lewis served as Chair of Region One KC/ACTF. He has also been on the national board of the University/Resident Theatre Association.

Lewis is the former Chair of Theatre Department, Director of Center for the Arts at Northeastern University for ten years before becoming the Director of The Center for the Arts for ten years leading up to his retirement. He is the former Associate Professor, Head Graduate Acting, Director of Theatre at University of Wisconsin-Madison; and the former Assistant Professor in Theatre at East Carolina University.

Recently Lewis appeared as Mr. Higginbotham in episode 518 of “Grimm” on NBC and finished shooting two films: a short film “Desire’s Masquerade” and a sci-fi thriller “The V-force.”

His theatre accomplishments are many.

For Third Rail Repertory Theatre, Lewis appeared as Doyle in the 2016 production of “The Nether” and in 2015 as Maurice in their production of “The Night Alive”.

In Portland Center Stage’s 2014 production of “Othello”, he was the Duke of Venice and in 2013, he was the Rabbi in “Fiddler on the Roof”.

With the Sowelu Theatre Ensemble’s production of “Hard Times Come Again No More” he was Yasha.

Just prior to moving to Portland in 2010, he created the role of Man in a one-person show entitled “Only the Words Break the Silence” from excerpts from Beckett’s “Text for Nothing”.

In 2007, Lewis played the Superintendent in My Fair Heathens’s Off-Broadway production of “Death of an Anarchist”. With the members of Gaiety, he played Pozzo in a production of “Waiting for Godot” in Dublin and Boston.

He has appeared on Broadway as Jacob Rothschild in “The Rothschild’s” and in “Fiddler on the Roof” as Moishe, the Cobbler.

Some of his off-Broadway roles include Captain Fairweather in “Streets of New York”, Sir Feeble Bredwell in “All in Love”, and Chuck in “It’s Only a Small Shower, Noah”. With the National Company, he played Andrew in “There’s A Girl in My Soup”. With the National Theatre Company he performed Cleante in “The Miser”, Captain in “Androcles and Lion”, and Injun Joe in “Tom Sawyer”.

Regional Theatre roles included Cervantes/Quixote in “Man of La Mancha”, Gene in “I Never Sang for My Father”, and Noah in “The Rainmaker” as well as seasons of summer stock in Michigan, Missouri and New York.

As a director, his credits include ten productions as founding Artistic Director of Madison Repertory Theatre in Madison Wisconsin, including a noted production of “A Streetcar Named Desire”; in North Carolina, he directed “A Christmas Carol” for The Playmakers Repertory and the outdoor drama “First for Freedom”. As founding member of the York Players in New York, he directed “The Tiger” and acted in “The Interview”. For the National Theatre Company he directed Ionesco’s “The Lesson.” As a director for University Theatre, he has directed over 80 productions.

Lewis now joins a long and distinguished list of graduates who attended and graduated from Friona High School.