Overnight success isn’t really, usually “overnight”. We understand that on some deep level. However when we look at the “overnight” success stories we read about in the media or watch on television, we are more inclined to zone in on the “success” part of the story rather than consider the achiever’s tenacious march to his accomplishment.
That march is long, tedious, marked by a fierce tenacity and, of course, abundant talent and devotion for his or her craft. Enough devotion to appreciate the necessity of endless learning and honing of the requisite skills.
I would love to play the banjo for an adoring audience who would laud my nimble fingering and deft strumming ability. Be able to sing melodiously as I accompany myself on that fabulously fun instrument. But I just do not have the tenaciousness required to embark on that journey to success.
What I can do, however – and lovingly so – is bask in the sunlight of a dear friend’s “overnight success” and this is to whom I dedicate this week’s blog.
I first met Steve Lutvak back in the 80’s (1980’s not 1880’s as my grandchildren would assume.) I was a fledgling actress-who-can-sing – as they say in the “biz” – but really needed great help with that “can-sing” part of my bio. That’s where Steve came into my life. First as vocal coach, then as pal, finally as very dear friend.
And together we watched each other and supported each other as our lives ebbed and flowed through some tough times and some fine periods, as all lives tend to do. I knew Steve to be a caring man and extremely talented singer/songwriter/musician/coach and felt sincerely that this was a great success in the making. But that making took far longer than either he or I imagined it would.
Rave reviews and multiple awards have been bequeathed upon Steve for his work. Major forces in the entertainment industry have commended him on his talent. His tenacity kept him on his creative path, with those of us who love him assuming that major success was surely not far from his reach.
And then, at the age of 44, he began to realize his dream of bringing to Broadway the 1949 Alec Guinness, “Kind Hearts and Coronets.” Steve started composing the score and then approached his long-time writing partner, Robert Freedman about the project and the two were on their way. But not so fast – for first came the hunt for backers and believers along with a copyright infringement suit against Steve and Mr. Freedman that threatened to derail everything. The judge ultimately dismissed the case and the show’s title was changed to “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder.”
The writing, the casting, the legal complications, the funding, all that goes into creating such a production took ten years. Steve is now 54 and finally making his Broadway debut – something he assumed would have happen in his 20’s, then 30’, then 40’s.
On Sunday, November 17th, “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” opened at the Walter Kerr Theatre to the most gorgeous rave reviews. The critics and audiences love it and, according to Jordan Roth, whose company owns and operates the theatre, “A Gentleman’s Guide’ had one of the best-performing post-opening days at the box office in the history of the Walter Kerr”
My friend, Steve Lutvak, is finally realizing his long-held dream of success. He even takes taxis now instead of the subway. And might even be able to move out of his tiny eastside studio apartment one day in the near future. Although when we last spoke on the phone I heard running water and knew he was still washing his own dishes.
I am thrilled beyond belief as are all of us who are fortunate to call him our friend.
His success is so well deserved. But it sure isn’t “overnight”. But then, as Steve so appropriately puts it in the title of his first CD, “It Takes the Time It Takes.”