The Kennedy Center

Steven Lutvak


Steven Lutvak is one of New York's most exciting musicians. Steven wrote the title track to MAD HOT BALLROOM, the 9th most successful documentary of all time. In 2006, he won the Kleban Award for Lyric Writing for the Theater and the Fred Ebb Award for Songwriting for the Theater, each with his principal collaborator, Robert L. Freedman, which was the first time these two awards were presented to the same team in the same year. They were invited to the Sundance Theater Institute that same year, as well.

Steven began his association with Sundance when he was invited to participate in the Sundance Institute’s Theater Laboratory’s Writers’ Retreat at the Ucross Foundation in Wyoming. At Ucross, he and Robert worked on their musical CAMPAIGN OF THE CENTURY, which was originally commissioned by the American Musical Theater of San Jose, and was more recently presented in New York as part of the New York Music Theater Festival, and, in a concert version, was the closing event of 2004’s Chicago Humanities Festival, both starring Tony Award winner Michael Rupert. CAMPAIGN OF THE CENTURY won the California Musical Theater Competition from the Beverly Hills Theater Guild, and was presented in LA starring Tony winner John Rubinstein.

Lutvak was commissioned by the Harmony Project of the National Alliance for Musical Theater to adapt A.R. Gurney’s THE WAYSIDE MOTOR INN, for which project he was named Artist-in-Residence at the Eugene O’Neill Opera Music/Theater Conference. THE WAYSIDE INN, written with screenwriter Ron McGee, was optioned by Mick Leavitt (lead producer of the TONY Award winner for Best Musical, THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE).

With the release of CLASSIC AMERICAN POPULAR SONG, a follow-up to Alec Wilder’s classic book, AMERICAN POPULAR SONG, by David Jenness and Don Velsey (Taylor & Francis, publishers, 2006), where several of his songs are discussed at some length, Steven Lutvak’s place in the American Popular Songbook is even more firmly planted.

Steven received a New American Work grant from the National Endowment for the Arts for his musical ESMERALDA, which premiered at the Studio Theater of the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis. His musical ALMOST SEPTEMBER premiered on the mainstage at the St. Louis Rep, and was subsequently produced at the Missouri Repertory Theatre, and was honored with eight Bay Area Critic’s Circle Awards and seven Drama-Logue Awards for its run at Theatre Works in Palo Alto, California. ALMOST SEPTEMBER was shown this past May in a concert version in Montauk, NY. Lutvak scored Off-Broadway’s HANNAH SENESH, which was nominated for a Drama Desk Award, and was later produced at the Zephyr Theatre in Los Angeles, the Philadelphia Theatre Company, the Baltimore Center Stage, the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, and most recently at Penguin Repertory Theatre. The production also toured throughout Canada and Israel. During the 1994 Toronto Summer Arts Festival, a revue of Steven’s songs was presented as part of Garth Drabinsky and Live Entertainment of Canada’s New Voices Series. Other works of his have been performed at the Berkshire Theatre Festival, La Mama ETC, Weill Recital Hall and the New York Shakespeare Festival.

As a singer/songwriter, Lutvak has performed to sold-out audiences at such prestigious New York venues as the Russian Tea Room and The Algonquin Hotel’s Oak Room, and the Rose Garden and Gardenia clubs in Los Angeles. In 1998, he made his debut at Carnegie Recital Hall, and in November of 1999, debuted at Carnegie Hall, performing with Skitch Henderson and the New York Pops. He headlined with Broadway’s Dee Hoty at New York’s Rainbow and Stars. Lutvak has performed in four of the Annual Cabaret Conventions at Town Hall; in 1994, their songwriters’ night was named after his My View Of You From the Piano, which he performed with Linda Lavin. In 1997, he sang at the annual New Year’s Eve Concert at St. John the Devine before an audience of over 5,000. After a second sold out performance at Chicago’s Humanities Festival, Steven was invited to do a solo run at the Noble Fool Theater in January of 2004. The release of his solo CD, THE TIME IT TAKES was celebrated with a sold-out run at New York’s hottest venue, Joe’s Pub.

Other awards include the first Johnny Mercer Foundation Emerging American Songwriter Award, two Jonathan Larson Performing Arts Foundation Grant for his work in the theatre (he is the first and only recipient of two such awards), and two Bistro Awards. Lutvak has received a MAC Award (the New York City Cabaret community’s top honor) three times; for Outstanding Special Material (The Dinner Party), Outstanding Singer/Instrumentalist, and for Song of the Year for his song Inside My Body Is A Dancer. He has been the recipient of an ASCAP Award annually since 1984.

Other film work includes the score to ANYTHING BUT LOVE, a film starring Andrew McCarthy and Eartha Kitt, which was released by the Samuel Goldwyn Company. His first film score was for THE STARLIT SYMPHONY, starring Philip Bosco, which screens daily at the Smithsonian Institutions’ Air and Space Museum.

Apart from his work as singer/songwriter and composer/lyricist for the theatre, this multi-talented artist has worn a number of other hats. He performed one of the lead roles in a pre-Broadway workshop of MANCINI, directed and choreographed by Otis Sallid (SMOKEY JOE’S CAFÉ). He was also brought in by lyricist Sheldon Harnick (FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, SHE LOVES ME, FIORELLO, etc.) and composer Michel Legrand (YENTL, THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG, etc.) to play a role in a recording of their new musical L’AMOUR FANTOME.

Steven has worked as musical consultant on Tim Robbins’ hit film THE CRADLE WILL ROCK, working with Hank Azaria, John Turturro and Emily Watson, and served as the original musical director and orchestrator for NOEL & GERTIE, starring Twiggy, at the Bay Street Theatre. He also served as both vocal coach and vocal arranger for Laurie Anderson’s MOBY DICK. Steven is worked as a Musical Consultant on WHERE ELEPHANTS WEEP, a cross-cultural collaboration between a Cambodian composer and an American librettist, which will be seen in Cambodia in the next year.

Steven resides in New York City.

Watch Past Performances

Video 1/26/2016: Steven Lutvak

We welcome back Steven Lutvak, composer and co-lyricist of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder, the Tony Award®-winning Best Musical, running January 13-30, 2016 in the Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theater. Come hear the songs and repartee of the man whom the New York Times called, “an upper-middlebrow Billy Joel crossed with a lower-highbrow Tom Lehrer with a pinch of Debussy.”

Video 12/2/2014: Steven Lutvak

Singer, songwriter, pianist, and raconteur Steven Lutvak performs, fresh from his 2014 Broadway debut as composer and co-lyricist of the musical A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder. Part of Broadway: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow, presented under the auspices of the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP).

Steven Lutvak