Although originally an awkward math major, Lewis took dancing lessons while in college and before long was performing for an audience. She went to New York, where she appeared in musicals and other comedies, including "Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?" Lewis was spotted by writer-director James L. Brooks, who offered her a part in a film he was making. It took several years before "I'll Do Anything" (1994) was released and then the musical numbers had been cut. Lewis had relocated to Hollywood and was working consistently in guest appearances.She did take time to return to Broadway to appear in a revival of "Damn Yankees" playing a reporter who gains access to the men's locker room and belts out "Shoeless Joe From Hannibal, Mo." Lewis also appeared alongside Patti LuPone, Bebe Neuwirth and Peter Gallagher in the concert version of "Pal Joey" (1995), as Gladys Bumps, the woman who knows all about Joey's past. She also used her musical comedy skills as Gloria Rasputin in the TV version of "Bye Bye Birdie" (ABC, 1995).