Entertainment Music

Steven Lutvak, Whose Darkly Comedian Present Received a Tony, Dies at 64

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Steven Lutvak, a composer and lyricist whose solely Broadway present, “A Gentleman’s Information to Love & Homicide” — a black comedy a couple of killer in London who bumps off the family members who stand in the best way of his turning into a rich royal — gained the Tony Award for greatest musical, died on Oct. 9 at his work studio in Manhattan. He was 64.

The trigger was a pulmonary embolism, stated Michael McGowan, his husband.

Over time, Mr. Lutvak wrote a number of musicals that have been staged in regional theaters and Off Off Broadway. However none have been almost as profitable as “A Gentleman’s Information.”

Set in Edwardian England, it’s the story of Monty Navarro, a poor man who, after studying that he’s a distant relative of the wealthy D’Ysquith clan (after which being denied a declare to its lineage), kills the eight kinfolk (all performed by one actor) within the line of succession between him and the pinnacle of the household, the Ninth Earl of Highhurst.

The present opened in November 2013 and ran for 905 performances over greater than two years.

In his evaluate in The New York Occasions, Charles Isherwood stated that the rating — Mr. Lutvak wrote the music and collaborated on the lyrics with Robert L. Freedman — “establishes itself as probably the most completed (and possibly essentially the most literate) to be heard on Broadway previously dozen years or so, for the reason that much less rigorous necessities of pop songwriting have taken over.”

“A Gentleman’s Information to Love & Homicide” was nominated for 10 Tonys in 2014 — Mr. Lutvak and Mr. Freedman have been nominated for authentic rating — and gained for Mr. Freedman’s e book, Darko Tresnjak’s path and Linda Cho’s costume design, in addition to for greatest musical.

“Steve was a gifted composer, lyricist and musician, however greater than something he was a born storyteller,” Mr. Freedman stated by cellphone. “I used to be capable of converse to him in my very own language about story, plot and characters in a means that not each composer can do.”

“A Gentleman’s Information” had been percolating inside Mr. Lutvak since he was a scholar at Binghamton College, a part of the State College of New York, and noticed “Kind Hearts and Coronets,” the 1949 comedy wherein Alec Guinness performs the eight murdered family members of the titled D’Ascoyne household.

“I noticed the film and thought, ‘Oh my God, that’s my film,’” Mr. Lutvak informed The File of Hackensack, N.J., in 2016. “I bear in mind pondering, ‘I do know that I don’t know the best way to do it now, however I do know that I will know the best way to do it.’”

It might take greater than 30 years to convey it to the stage. In 2003, he and Mr. Freedman acquired the rights to adapt the movie as a musical from the French broadcaster Canal+. However after making the deal, Canal+ positioned obstacles in the best way of manufacturing the present and terminated their settlement. In 2010, the corporate sued Mr. Freedman and Mr. Lutvak in federal court docket for breach of contract and copyright infringement.

By then, that they had stripped the musical of any connection to “Sort Hearts” and relied as an alternative on the movie’s supply materials, “Israel Rank: The Autobiography of a Criminal,” a 1907 novel by Roy Horniman, which is within the public area. After dismissing the copyright and breach of contract claims, the decide dominated towards Canal+’s final declare — that the machine of 1 actor taking part in eight roles within the musical was copyrightable.

The musical has been optioned for a movie, for which Mr. Lutvak and Mr. Freedman had written a brand new music.

“Now Steven won’t ever see it,” Mr. Freedman stated.

Steven Jaret Lutvak was born on July 18, 1959, within the Bronx. His mom, Sylvia (Bernstein) Lutvak, was an workplace supervisor. His father, Alfred, was the assistant principal of an intermediate college.

After graduating from Binghamton College in 1980 with a bachelor’s diploma in music, Mr. Lutvak entered the inaugural class of the graduate musical theater writing program at New York College’s Tisch Faculty of the Arts, the place he met Mr. Freedman.

(Mr. Lutvak had taught in that program for the previous seven years.)

“We collaborated on some issues, nothing notable, however we have been associates,” Mr. Freedman stated, “and we stored saying we’d write a present collectively.”

After incomes his grasp’s diploma in 1983, Mr. Lutvak started a various musical profession: He wrote musicals, labored as a vocal coach and carried out in cabarets.

Reviewing a efficiency on the Duplex Cabaret Theater in Manhattan in 2006, Stephen Holden of The Occasions described Mr. Lutvak as an “upper-middlebrow Billy Joel crossed with a lower-highbrow Tom Lehrer with a pinch of Debussy.”

His musicals included collaborations on “Virtually September,” primarily based on the Kenneth Grahame youngsters’s tales “The Wind within the Willows,” “The Golden Age” and “Dream Days”; “The Wayside Motor Inn,” an adaptation of a play by A.R. Gurney; and “Esmeralda,” primarily based on “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.”

Mr. Lutvak’s first collaboration with Mr. Freedman was “Marketing campaign of the Century,” concerning the media marketing campaign waged towards the muckraking author Upton Sinclair when he ran for governor of California in 1934. The present, primarily based on a e book by Greg Mitchell, had staged readings in New York Metropolis, Chicago and San Jose, Calif., however no full productions.

“A Gentleman’s Information” had its premiere in 2012 at Hartford Stage, in Connecticut. It opened on Broadway the subsequent yr, starring Bryce Pinkham as Navarro and Jefferson Mays, who had gained a Tony Award for greatest actor in 2004, because the eight doomed members of the D’Ysquith household.

“Steven confirmed tireless, infinite help and persistence for me, a non-singer,” Mr. Mays stated by cellphone. “He entrusted his music to my meager talents.” Mr. Lutvak was, he added, “a singular mixture of extraordinarily centered tenacity and strength of mind.”

Along with Mr. McGowan, Mr. Lutvak is survived by their daughter, Eliot Rose Lutvak-McGowan; his mom; his sister, Ellen Lutvak; and his brother, Larry Lutvak.

For Mr. Lutvak, its heinous murders gave “A Gentleman’s Information” broad enchantment — particularly as a result of one actor performed all eight victims.

“I’ve all the time stated that all of us need to kill our households,” he told Playbill in 2013. “However, due to the best way we’ve achieved it right here, we have now the cathartic thrill of murdering these folks, understanding that he’ll come again as anyone else.”

“So,” he added, “we get to have our cake and eat it, too, in a sure means.”