Getting to Know SLCT Member Lew Crawford

You probably remember seeing Lew Crawford in one of his recent roles, Croc Chaser in murder mystery dinner theater’s Dealt a Deadly Hand or Uncle Aubrey in The Last Round-up of the Guacamole Queens. Or maybe you caught him clowning around as one of The ImproVables in one of their sold-out shows. If you did see Lew, you spent a good deal of the time laughing, and that suits this 84-year-old just fine. “I’ll continue to act with Sun Lakes Community Theatre (SLCT) as long as my memory holds out and I can make people laugh,” said Lew when asked if he’ll continue to audition for shows.

Lew was born in Chicago but raised in the northwest suburb of Glenview, Ill., until he left for Purdue University. He began his academic career with an eye on engineering but wisely changed his majors to history and philosophy when he began feeling the call to ministry and also found he really didn’t like calculus. After college, he attended North Park Theological Seminary and was ordained in 1964. He spent 40 years total in the ministry, relocating from Ohio to the Phoenix area in 1989. There he met his wife of 24 years while serving as a hospice chaplain. Sharron was there for a close friend and neighbor who passed away the day after Lew met Sharron. They became friends and wed six months later.

In February of 2020, the couple moved to Sun Lakes. Of course, everything was shuttered due to COVID-19. But in 2021, they attended Old Fashioned Radio Hour, and Lew’s love for performing was rekindled. You see, for 20 years, Lew had been active in Clown Ministry. Yep, that’s right, Clown Ministry. He was one among about 15 in a group that acted out the messages in worship services. In fact, he was called Froggy the Clown and wore a button that read, “Kiss Me, I Might Be a Prince.” He was the sad, silent clown in the manner of Emmett Kelly.

So, when he saw the SLCT show, he knew he had to audition for Dealt a Deadly Hand. He got the part, and the rest, as they say, is history. When he attended the Improv Workshop and then was invited by Phyllis Novy to join The ImproVables, it was a no-brainer for Lew. “I love starting off the week with two hours of laughter,” he said. He believes strongly in the “Laughter and the Power of Play” philosophy that he learned while attending a workshop so titled. There he heard both Steve Allan and Steve’s son, a doctor, speak about the healing power of laughter. Performing with The ImproVables gives Lew the opportunity to make people laugh, and he loves that. When asked what’s next, Lew says he hopes to participate in SLCT’s Children’s Theatre.

Interestingly enough, in both of his roles so far with SLCT, Lew has been cast as a hard-drinking character. Ironically, Lew has never tasted alcohol in his life. But he sure can convince you that he has, can’t he? If you haven’t had the pleasure of seeing Lew in a show, stay tuned. You’re sure to see him on stage again soon. He’s that good.