WASHINGTON — Ruby Lewis grew up listening to Queen’s Greatest Hits album in the basement of her Kentucky home, using the band’s melodies and lyrics to get pumped up for her family game night.
“My favorite was ‘Another One Bites the Dust,’ and I knew all of the songs,” says 29-year-old Lewis.
In the musical, Lewis plays Scaramouche — a young rebel in a futuristic society who, with the help of a pal, Galileo, seeks out rock and roll in a world void of music and individuality.
The story, which originated from a book by author and comedian Ben Elton, is told with the help of 24 Queen songs.
“It’s very nostalgic for a lot of folks, and so I think people in D.C. will have a really good time. It takes you back to a time when you first heard that song on the radio,” Lewis says.
The seven-city U.S. tour marks the show’s first North American tour since it debuted in London in 2002.
Queen members Brian May and Roger Taylor gave their blessings to the show, which pays homage to lead singer Freddie Mercury, who died in 1991.
“I think a lot about what Freddie would think and say,” Lewis says. “He really marched to the beat of his own drum. He did what he did because he loved it; he never put anything on — and for that reason I think he would love the show.”
The high-energy musical is meant to feel like a concert, Lewis says.
“We want people to sing along and wave their arms and stand up and head-bang or whatever else they want to do,” says Lewis, who is participating in her fourth national tour. She has previously toured with “Jersey Boys,” “Grease” and “Gypsy.”
Despite her other notable roles, Lewis says Scaramouche is one of her favorite characters to play.
Also, her love for Queen’s hits supplement her passion for the show. Lewis had already been using Queen’s “Somebody to Love” for previous auditions and, naturally, she used it for her “We Will Rock You” audition. But this time, she performed it in front of May and Taylor.
“It was definitely crazy to walk into the final callbacks and Brian May and Roger Taylor were there and to meet them and to know that they created Queen and did some amazing things in their time and with their music,” she says.
Now, Lewis is hoping the show makes the same impact Queen’s songs have made on generations of fans.
“It can really change people’s perception of musical theater for one, but [also] music and love,” she says. “It’s inspiring.”
Tickets for the show are still available and can be purchased through the Warner Theatre’s website.
Watch a video of Lewis opposite Brian Justin Crum (Galileo), as they sing “You’re My Best Friend”: