With dozens of credits to his acting and directing resume, a true lover of theater has exited stage left.
Longtime Colorado Springs resident Christopher Lowell died Tuesday from cancer. He was 77. He is survived by his wife, three children and two stepchildren.
A celebration of life will be held at some point.
Lowell began his theater career at 7, with a role as Little Lord Fauntleroy, and went on to spend more than five decades working with many companies, including TheatreWorks and Millibo Art Theatre. Some of his memorable roles were in well-known shows such as "Twelve Angry Men," "Noises Off," "Death of a Salesman," "Irma Vep," "The Crucible," "Angels in America" and "Othello."
"Christopher Lowell, as Shylock, sealed the deal with feeling and ferocity," wrote former Gazette reporter and critic T.D. Mobley-Martinez about TheatreWorks' 2011 production of Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice."
Kelly Walters directed Lowell twice, in "The Crucible" and "Noises Off."
"He was definitely one of the most committed actors I’ve ever met," he said. "He cared so much about the theater. He was the first person I saw on stage 20 years ago when I moved here. It was 'Gaslight’ at TheatreWorks. I was thrilled. I said there are good actors in Colorado Springs."
In 2004, Lowell expanded his acting repertoire into character reenactment with his portrayal of Benjamin Franklin. His wife, Sue Lowell, said he came to the conclusion he could inhabit Franklin after directing a duo portraying John and Abigail Adams.
"He looked around and thought about all the different characters he might portray," said Sue. "He looked in the mirror and said Abe Lincoln just didn’t fit. It was about the 300th anniversary of Ben’s birth at that time, so that's what he did."
As Franklin, he performed for 15 years in front of business groups, nonprofits, libraries and museums, and also in a series of presentations done in French to the French diplomatic and business communities in Paris.
"If there ever was an embodiment of the spirit of founder extraordinaire Ben Franklin, it’s Christopher Lowell," wrote Mark Skousen, author of "The Compleated Autobiography by Benjamin Franklin." "Of all the Franklins out there, he is the best. Lowell’s passion for history, science, politics and the arts makes for an unforgettable evening, all with an unsurpassed joie de vivre. His felicity of expression, sometimes in impeccable French, has never been duplicated by Franklin imitators."
Lowell also spent more than four decades teaching. He taught French and was a theater director at Fountain Valley School for 27 years, and spent five years teaching theater at University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.
"He was a deeply loving man with everything he did," said Sue. "He loved his family. I was fortunate he loved me. He loved languages and people and their cultures from all over the world. He was very passionate about French and theater and Ben. He loved taking that character to children and adults alike."