Metro Weekly

Steven Lutvak: Gentleman’s Touch

Broadway composer Steven Lutvak's life is taking flight along with his career

A Gentleman's Guide to Love Murder: Photo: Joan Marcus
A Gentleman’s Guide to Love Murder | Photo: Joan Marcus

“When I was really little, I wanted to dance,” Steven Lutvak recalls. “So my parents, who are rather sophisticated New Yorkers, took me to the ‘shoe man’ as we called him.”

But the “shoe man” in Queens wanted no part in fitting the boy. “He pulled my parents aside and said, ‘You know what your son will become if you let him dance? A butterfly.’ It’s like out of a bad sitcom,” Lutvak laughs. The scenario prompted his parents to give him piano lessons instead. And yes, they soon thought better and tried to dissuade him from that, too.

Fortunately, Lutvak’s passion for show tunes and musical theater couldn’t be suppressed. Also fortunately, his parents have fully come around. They were with him on the opening night of his musical, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder. And they were with him and his husband again, in 2014, when his Broadway debut as a composer and co-lyricist, with Robert L. Freedman, won the Tony Award for Best Musical.

The success he’s had with the show has spawned new projects, including two stage works for Disney and NBC/Universal that “I’m contractually not allowed to talk about,” he says, while noting that they’re both “adaptations of well-known properties.” Lutvak is also working with Oscar-winning screenwriter and stage scribe Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. (Birdman, Broadway’s On Your Feet) to adapt Javier Fuentes-Leon’s 2009 Peruvian film Undertow, which Lutvak describes as “a gay ghost love story.”

But Gentleman’s Guide has also prompted some big life changes, including a new, larger apartment in Manhattan from which he and his husband soon anticipate starting a family, aided by a surrogate. “I’m feeling remarkably domestic — says the man who decided to write a musical about a man who kills everyone in his family.”

Gentleman’s Guide is principally about a British man who plots to kill his way to an inheritance. “It’s the story of an outsider pretending to be an insider,” Lutvak says. “So in a certain way, this is a story of a gay outsider succeeding — and receiving his ultimate revenge. Although it’s a comedy, so it’s told very frothily.”

The show is currently on a national tour that includes a run this month at the Kennedy Center. Lutvak, who is a trained singer, will also offer one free night of cabaret on the Millennium Stage in the complex. Meaning that those who take in the cabaret and the show on Tuesday, Jan. 26, will get, as he sums it up, “an hour of Lutvak and then two-and-a-half hours of Lutvak and Freedman.” — Doug Rule

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder opens in previews Wednesday, Jan. 13, at 7:30 p.m., and runs to Jan. 30, at the Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater. Tickets are $64 to $229. Steven Lutvak also performs a free cabaret Tuesday, Jan. 26, at 6 p.m., on the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.

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