Eitan Loewenstein was born in Tel Aviv, Israel on August 12th oh so many years ago (mustn’t reveal my real age) to Avrum and Fredda Loewenstein. He lived there for only a year and a half before his parents moved back to the states. They moved to the lovely city of Sharon, Massachusetts (quite near Boston). It was there that his sister, Shira, was born. Lest they get comfortable, the whole family moved again to glorious Los Angeles, California. But quickly they moved once again to Bethesda, Maryland (right near NIH and the Naval Hospital). It was here that Eitan’s life started to get interesting.
While being educated at the Hebrew Day Institute in Rockville, Eitan was introduced to the dramatic arts. He spoke his first lines on stage, “So did we.” In front of an awed and hushed crowd (Eitan swears the theater wasn’t empty, but no one believes him). He performed in various productions under the guidance of Dr. Ruth Newhouse until his graduation from 6th grade. There he left for the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School. He only performed in one play at this school, an all Hebrew version of “Oliver!”, before his parents whisked him away once again to sunny California (Eitan is not a military brat, his father simply moved to wherever construction was going on).
A concerned observer would wonder if all this moving around would have some sort of negative effect on Eitan’s psyche, but I digress.
For two years the Loewenstein family lived in glamorous and glorious southern Beverly Hills (it isn’t glamorous or glorious). Eitan was lucky enough to attend the Beverly Hills Public School “Horace Mann.” He was lucky because he realized quite early on how much he hated this school. His 8th grade year was spent hiding in corners and crying, sometimes literally. Upon his graduation from this school, home of one of the worst graduation ceremonies ever, he left for the shelter of Shalhevet High School in Los Angeles and soon after this his family moved to their current house in West Los Angeles.
He was a regular in the SHS plays, all directed by the brilliant and radiant Emily Chase (HAIL CHASE!). He also learned a bunch of Jewish stuff which he will always keep in his mind and heart regardless of what he does (he made me put that in there for his parents who put him through private school, you can ignore it). Eitan also played basketball in high school (not well at all) and was told by his coach Marty Beagle, “Eitan, there are two types of men in this world. There are ball players and ladies men. You are not a ball player.” That stuck with Eitan for quite a while.
It was during his Junior year that Eitan made a serious life choice, this is a pattern, which will repeat itself. Eitan was in the middle of a physics lab at his school when he decided on his collegiate major. He was playing with some electronic circuitry and decided that was what he wanted to do. Clearly Eitan was a moron.
With a good showing on his SATs and a less than stellar GPA in his hand Eitan began searching for a school in which to pursue his dreams of becoming an electrical engineer. He dreamed of years in a cubicle, building some chip that no one would ever hear about, while basking in the riches brought forth by his stock options as the stock market was doing well back then. Senior year came around and Eitan decided to attend the University of California at Santa Barbara a mere 100 miles from home and right on the ocean (not that Eitan ever went in it) to study electrical engineering.
During Eitan’s freshman year he was a diligent student (compared to later in his academic career at least). He did well in all his core classes and was allowed to take only one elective his entire freshman year. He couldn’t get into a drama class, so he took a religious studies one instead. Due to whatever luck, Eitan had an early registration time for Fall quarter of his Sophomore year. Eitan got into a class that was difficult to squeeze into, Intro to Acting (DA 5). It was there that he was told about the school’s audition system. This is where that whole engineering thing started to go downhill. Winter quarter Eitan auditioned for, and was cast in, a one act directed by graduate student Anna Jensen. That quarter he missed both physics and engineering labs to attend rehearsals, something that would repeat quite frequently over the next few years. Eitan was hooked to theater once again.
He noticed fliers hanging around the drama department for people casting student films. He responded to one hoping that they were not planning on making a snuff film and was cast in his first student film. I’ll not mention the name here, because there’s no need to tarnish the name of the director. Production was not a smooth process, to put it nicely. The actress playing opposite Eitan was recast halfway through forcing re-shoots at less than friendly locations (Eitan is very allergic to poison ivy). Thankfully it was finished so Eitan could recover from his skin irritation and return to his studies (which he still took seriously at this point).
He auditioned for many things over the next few quarters at the school, but with little luck. Perhaps his dreams of bright lights and brighter marquees would have died out, if it were not for a student drama group called the “Sherwood Players.” By some odd coincidence Eitan’s DA 5 teacher had previously told the class about the company as they had produced a script she had written. He saw a flier advertising auditions for a show being directed by Matt Weinglass called “Dark Rapture.” Eitan was cast as the smart ass waiter and the drummer in the cheesiest night club act ever. Eitan’s performance was met with rave reviews (some guy told him he was great and it went to his head). Since he wasn’t cast in anything else through the school (except a few student scenes) Eitan performed in the next Sherwood Player production too. He also shot another student film, this time with the visionary: Kenny Krauss.
The spring quarter Eitan gets a call from Kenny asking if he wanted to be in another one of his projects. Eitan had nothing else to do that quarter so he responded with an enthusiastic “YES!” It’s weird for a student film to actually be as good as this film was. You could even say it was as good as gold (it was called “As Good as Gold,” the biographer simply has an odd sense of humor). It went on to play at the UCSB Reel Loud film festival (it didn’t win, but people told Eitan it should have) and a few other venues since.
To retrogress (and to work that great SAT word into the story) for just a second, let us go back to the winter quarter of Eitan’s junior year. Eitan had been performing in some student directed scenes and was enjoying having up to six hours of rehearsal a day so much that he decided to become a dramatic arts major (Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting to be precise). He did lots of research, and even picked up all the forms to change his major before his spring vacation. He was planning on auditioning in the spring for the program and extending his graduation date by two years. He, thankfully, sat down with his parents to discuss this proposition. They responded with a resounding “NO WAY.” They didn’t oppose his choice of careers, mainly his staying in school for an extra two years to get a degree that really didn’t mean that much in the real world (no offense you BFA folk). So they made a deal with him. If he finished his electrical engineering degree he could live at home (which later became “live at home for a year”) while he pursued his dream (of being a professional actor, not the one he has where he’s being chased). Eitan agreed and went back to school to graduate while doing as little engineering work as possible. He succeeded.
The next year was met with much more success in his department of dramatic arts. He was cast in one of the big shows (Hotel Paradiso), which was very cool as he was one of only two people from completely outside the department, during those three years he auditioned, to accomplish this feat. He was cast again the next quarter in another one act for which he again got rave reviews (same guy as before). By the end of this last year he had convinced many students and even a faculty member, that he was a student in the drama department. Even those who knew the truth accepted him with open arms or the paraplegic equivalent. Meanwhile he managed to graduate with a B.S. in electrical engineering by taking the “Intro to..” course load. Pretty much every class Eitan took was named “Intro to” something, and was therefore not very difficult. He was quite amused when one of the engineering professors recognized him from a show on campus. By time he graduated Eitan was so fed up with engineering that he didn’t even attend his graduation. Instead he left for Los Angeles to seek his fame, fortune, his parent’s house and his mother’s good cooking.
Eitan quickly began taking classes at the Groundlings school with Ted Michaels, Ben Falcone, Davide Jahn and Roy Jenkins and scene study with Harry Mastrogeorge. He managed to hold down a real job (9AM-6PM + transit time to Northridge) for around two months before he left so that he could actually pursue his acting career and not just tell people he was doing it. He recently got his headshots done and is excited to get them printed up so he can start going on auditions and things like that.