KOKOMO, Ind. — Most days, you will find Molly Lewis in business or music classes at Indiana University Kokomo.
But evenings and weekends, she’s out making magic for young children, bringing their favorite characters to life at birthday parties, meet and greets, and other events.
Indulging her love for acting and music, Lewis portrays characters including a snow princess, tinker fairy, and Salem sister working for Royal Events, a Tipton-based entertainment company that is not affiliated in any way with Walt Disney World Enterprises.
She loves being able to make dreams come true for children.
“They are so precious, and they can be the shyest kid you’ve ever seen, but you walk in as that character, and they’re like, ‘Holy cow, you’re here, you’re real,’” she said. “It’s just really cool to see their smiles. And the hugs. I love the hugs.”
Lewis began her career as a princess shortly after graduating from Tri-Central High School. She met owner Megan Mahaney while both were in the same show and learned that Mahaney needed a little sister to her snow queen.
“We met through theatre, and that was really it,” she said, adding that she enjoys the character’s spunkiness.
“Between the two sisters, she’s the one who can be silly,” Lewis said. “It doesn’t matter what I do, I don’t have to be the serious one. Being a first soprano, many of the characters I portray onstage are serious and reserved, but she is not.”
Lewis, from Kokomo, graduates in May with majors in human resources and management, and a music minor.
“I wanted to pick something I could do as a professional job, and continue with my hobbies in music and theatre, which have been the biggest things I’ve done in my life,” she said. “I’m very passionate about helping, and human resources is a way I can help employees and companies grow.”
Earning her degree hasn’t been easy. Lewis has taken 18 credit hours many semesters. In addition to performing in musicals, she’s also held three jobs, and participated in the honors program.
“It’s been a challenge, but it has been very fun,” she said. “The professors are very supportive. That’s why when I know someone who is looking for a school and they’re getting ready to graduate, I always recommend IUK.”
Lewis’s love of theatre goes back to seventh grade, when she performed as Princess Fiona in a middle school production of Shrek. She started auditioning for junior shows through Tipton Community Theatre, and participated in her high school’s musicals. At IU Kokomo, she’s had lead roles in Pirates of Penzance, Guys and Dolls, and The Mikado.
Between campus and local theatres, she has been in more than 20 musicals in five years.
“I enjoy getting to take on a new persona, pushing myself to learn new things, because even after 20 shows, there are still things I’m continuing to learn how to do,” Lewis said. “I just like how it pushes your limits. You develop this character over a span of two or three months, and it all comes to fruition when the stage lights come on and it’s just you. And then it’s over. But there will always be another event.”
Her next act includes continuing her education through IU Kokomo’s Master of Business Administration (MBA) program.
She appreciates the theatre opportunities she’s had on campus, and the work Dennis Henry, visiting lecturer in theatre; Wendy Grice, senior lecturer in music; and Garry Grice, adjunct faculty in music have put into directing.
“I love IUK,” she said. “I love the atmosphere – I love the opportunities they give to students. Being able to be in a play or a musical is one of my favorite things.”