The Write Stuff
InTheater

Steven Lutvak is in a separate class... in that he only sings songs he wrote himself, or in collaboration with others. But, unlike most other composers, Lutvak has developed into a highly polished entertainer. Possessed of a pleasing, light baritone, he recently put on a "one-night only" show at the Algonquin Hotel's Oak Room that demonstrated why this young songwriter is among the very best working today.

From his comically chilling "Beware the Anger of Soft-Spoken Men" to one of his many dramatic masterpieces, "Museums," Lutvak pierced the heart with a powerful yet understated emotional intensity while engaging the mind with words that are, by turns, witty, wise, and (always) wonderful. For instance, "Debby, Teddy, and Me" – a song about a complicated love triangle – has a bouncy melody one cannot help but hum after the show, and also features deliciously droll lyrics.

Happily, Lutvak is in the process of writing a new musical. It's based on a play by A.R. Gurney, who came to the Algonquin on the night we also attended Lutvak's show to hear a couple of songs from that work-in-progress for the first time, including a wry number titled "I Sometimes Pretend That I'm Sleeping." Rest assured that no one sleeps during a Lutvak gig; most of the time one either listens intently, laughs uproariously, or applauds mightily. The only thing this fellow is missing – or rather, we're missing – right now is a CD of his work.

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