Lewis has been working with the theater since 1980 when she directed Lillian Hellman's Watch on the Rhine. She was appointed interim artistic director in 1991 when her predecessor, Stan Wojewodski Jr., departed for the Yale Repertory Theatre. One year later, she assumed full artistic leadership in 1992.
During her tenure, she has nurtured such playwrights as Kwame Kwei-Armah and Lynn Nottage. Among the actors who have been seen frequently at the theater during this period are Jefferson Mays, Lawrence O'Dwyer and E. Faye Butler. In 1997, The Triumph of Love, a musical which had its premiere at CENTERSTAGE and which was written by James Magruder, another Lewis protégé, was produced on Broadway.
A nationwide search for Lewis' successor is already under way. The committee will be headed by Jed Dietz, a Center Stage board member and director of the Maryland Film Festival.