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John Lewis

Creative Director

John Lewis has been active in the entertainment industry for over 50 years.  After his first year of college with a theater scholarship in 1968, John left school to join the Marine Corp and spent a year in Vietnam. Returning home highly decorated, John returned to finish college and began working with special needs kids and adults.

With a degree in Psychology and hypnotherapy, he continued his work with special needs while also teaching high school theater. During this same time, John continued his experience from military intelligence and, using his acting skills, worked “undercover” for various law enforcement agencies for many years. He also taught acting classes to undercover operatives for many of these same agencies.

John has continued to teach acting classes with his own “Not Acting” style for the past 40 years. John wrote two plays, Nathan and Of Shadows Lost, each based on his experiences with special needs. Both plays had extensive runs in Hollywood in the 1980’s.

In 1983, John directed Grease in Hollywood with Fran Drescher, Eve Plumb, Jerry Mathers, Barry Livingston and Gary Lewis. John co-founded his production company Morning Star Entertainment and for the next 40 years, John produced and directed hundreds of plays and musicals for professional, community and church organizations.

From 1996-1999 he directed the world’s largest passion play, Memphis Passion Play.  With his Production company, John wrote several live action Stunt Shows, including "Dueling Pirates", the famous pirate water Stunt Show in Las Vegas. In 1991 John was part of the production team for the film The Pistol: Birth Of A Legend, as script supervisor, scenic artist, still photographer, and actor. In 1997 John co-authored “The Complete Guide To Play Production” with two of his partners Laura Andrews and Flip Kobler. Also, in 1997 John wrote Annabelle’s Wish, the Christmas animated special starring, Randy Travis, Cloris Leachman, Jerry VanDyke, Dolly Parton, Jim Varney, and many other stars.

After witnessing the detrimental effects of the entertainment industry on child actors for so many years, John and Partners decided to take a detour from their own careers and ambitions and guide “wannabe” child actors through the dangers and pitfalls of the industry. In 2004 they founded the non-profit Ovation School for the Performing Arts. The mission was to teach life skills through the arts, preparing them for life first and then, develop their skills as performers.

At the same time, the partners began their for-profit production company, Moon Shadow Entertainment as a way of helping fund the non-profit.  In 2018 John wrote and directed the 2 ½ hour docudrama, Silent & Forgotten (ages 16+) bringing to light the abuse of women actors in the silent film era.

In 2021 John wrote and directed another feature film, using actors from Ovation School. At Last I Found You focuses on child abduction and human trafficking.

John’s wife Nancy was Assistant to the Executive Producer of Days Of Our Lives for over twenty years. Their four children were child actors. Their oldest son, Christopher as an adult won two Emmys for editing. Second son Matthew, also a child actor, has been teaching acting at Ovation for the past 10 years. Daughter Kelly got her degree in Theater and worked in production for Disney on such projects as Lilo & Stitch and The Weekenders and now teaches High School. The youngest son Jeremy has his Masters Degree in Directing and was Professor of Directing at Cal State Fullerton for many years, and is now on staff in the theater department at Glendale College. Many of the 10 grandchildren have worked in the entertainment industry as actors and musicians.

After writing dozens of plays and screenplays and directing hundreds, John continues to live a “creative” life. But by far the most rewarding is watching the students from Ovation grow up to become extraordinary people, changing the world for good.

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