Berton Bramlette “Bram” Lewis
Bram was born on a farm in Lebanon, Ohio and educated at The Buckley School in New York City, St. Paul’s School in New Hampshire, and at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London, England.
He was assistant to Ted Mann at Circle in the Square Theatre on Broadway, and then assistant to Hugh Southern at the Theatre Development Fund. Besides playing the recurring role of Jocko on One Life to Live for ABC, he also did 45 national network commercials and voiceovers, and then played Freddie on the NBC primetime series Tattingers written by multiple Emmy-award winner Tom Fontana.
During the next ten years, he acted in and directed over 40 dramas, comedies, classics, revivals and world premieres nationally and internationally, from London to New York to L.A. and back again.
He then founded The Phoenix Theatre Company which became one of the most prestigious theatres in America over the next decade. At its inception, during the crash of 1987, the company began with only 250 subscribers, no corporate, foundation, or government support of any kind. Thanks to early and vocal praise from Helen Hayes, the company started selling out. By the end of a decade, in its facility at the Performing Arts Center, SUNY/Purchase, subscriptions topped 10,000- a record unequaled in the county of Westchester then or since.
A short list of Stars who worked for and supported the company include: Alan Arkin, Ellen Burstyn, Billy Crudup, Ruby Dee, George Grizzard, Julie Harris, Rosemary Harris, Helen Hayes, Kevin Kline, Michael Patrick King, Carrie Nye, Jason Robards, and Elaine Stritch. Celebrated directors included John Barton (founder The Royal Shakespeare Company), Liviu Ciulei (founder the Bulandra Theatre of Bucharest), Marcia Milgrom Dodge (President of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers), Jose Quintero (founder of Circle in the Square), and Ellis Rabb (founder of the APA-the first non-profit rep company on Broadway).
The Phoenix Theatre achieved more than 60 glowing notices and reviews from The New York Times, Gannett, NY Post, NY Daily News, The Village Voice as well as a multi- page spread in the nationally syndicated magazine “Theatre Week”. Additionally, Mr. Lewis also created and hosted “In The Wings”, a weekly TV talk show devoted to The Phoenix and to theatre in general. It ran on Westchester cable and aired to over 250,000 households.
Concurrently, Mr. Lewis also taught acting at many conservatories including the American Academy of Musical and Dramatic Arts, The Actor’s Space, The T. Schreiber Studios, as well as being an adjunct professor at the State University of New York (SUNY Purchase). Additionally, he created workshops and master-classes devoted to acting for the Phoenix Theatre, with Alan Arkin (improv), Ellen Burstyn (acting technique), Ruby Dee (Scene Study), Jose Quintero and Jason Robards (O’neil workshop), and many master-classes with John Barton, Harriet Walter, Kevin Kline, Sam Waterston and others on Playing Shakespeare….which subsequently were produced at The Public Theatre and the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
Bram currently is the Producing Artistic Director of ‘The Schoolhouse Theater’. It is Westchester’s oldest non-profit professional theater.
His recent tenure there includes new works, his own adaptation of ‘The Gift of the Magi’, Sokeo Ross’s ‘Cambodian Lullaby’ and Janice Maffei’s ‘ How to bury a Saint’. The last two were reviewed by Sylviane Gold in the New York Times and won rave reviews.
This years season includes a revival of the much loved ‘Gift of the Magi’. The world premier of ‘The Mask of the Jaguar King’ by Stuart Warmflash and one more world premier by Lois Robbins, her comedic play ‘L.O.V.E.R.’
He makes his home in New York City with his daughter Kaili and his mother Emily at Pomander Walk on the Upper Westside.