A Conversation with Lewis & Tolkien

Of Wardrobes & Rings


It is October 1963, and two lions of British literature have agreed to meet.  C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien have been friends for decades but the relationship had cooled over the last few years.  Now, in the autumn of their lives, they have one last conversation and discuss the explosive issues that have driven them apart and search for a way to mend their friendship.

An intimate look at two of the most famous fantasy authors of the last century.  And a redemptive story of friendship that passes the test of time.


“Auditions for Shadowlands, British accents a help! “It was those seven words that launched a 55 year old David Payne on the most unexpected journey of his life. Intrigued, he attended the audition at Nashville’s prestigious Tennessee Performing Arts Center in the hopes of landing a small part in this play about CS Lewis and his American wife. It was no surprise he nailed the British accent because, duh, he’s British! What was a surprise is that he landed the lead role and a stage career had been begun!

Since those early performances in 1996, Payne who, on stage, uncannily looks like Lewis, has since played the famous author in a number of Shadowland productions. Yet it is his portrayal of Lewis in An Evening with CS Lewis that has won him many accolades and thrilled the many, many thousands that have attended over 500 performances.


Decades before he was asked to bring C.S. Lewis to life in today’s performance, Phil Crowley had a dream.  In it, he traveled on eagle’s wings to the mystical otherworld depicted by Lewis in his famous Chronicles of Narnia.  Some time later, Phil met with a film producer to discuss the possibility of a creative collaboration centering on Lewis’s writings for children.  To his amazement, Phil saw on the wall of the producer’s office a painting of Narnia appearing virtually identical to the realm he had visited in his dream.

From his college years onward, Phil Crowley’s appreciation for C.S. Lewis, his life and his life’s work, would continue to grow.  Phil traveled to many of the locales where Lewis lived and lectured, and to where the author enjoyed deep friendships and spirited debate with literary colleagues including J.R.R. Tolkien.

Today, Phil Crowley is a much sought-after voice actor and may be heard on commercials and documentary narrations.  Most prominently, he is the announcer on ABC’s weekly hit entrepreneurial series, Shark Tank, produced by Mark Burnett. 


Promo Photo 1
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