Listen: Hear 'TOPEKA!' A Final Piece From Broadway Composer Steven Lutvak

Visit Topeka has released “Topeka!,” a song by the late Broadway composer Steven Lutvak, celebrating Topeka, Kan.’s commitment to its civil rights heritage.

By: Jun. 05, 2024
Listen: Hear 'TOPEKA!' A Final Piece From Broadway Composer Steven Lutvak
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Visit Topeka has released “Topeka!,” a song by the late Broadway composer Steven Lutvak, celebrating Topeka, Kan.’s commitment to its civil rights heritage and welcoming spirit.

One of Lutvak’s last works before his passing in October 2023, “Topeka!” reflects the composer’s lifelong dedication to inclusivity—a shared value that corresponds with Topeka's commitment to creating a community that welcomes all.

Topeka boasts numerous landmarks, events and programs celebrating its civil rights legacy. Among these, the Brown v. Board of Education National Historical Park celebrates the end of U.S. legal school segregation, and the rainbow-colored Equality House stands as a vibrant symbol of LGBTQ+ rights. Annually, the city hosts Fiesta Topeka – one of the largest Mexican heritage festivals in the Midwest – India Mela, and For The Culture KS, a Kansas Black excellence festival.

"We were honored to work with someone of Steven's caliber. Our mission was to make sure every type of family and person could see that Topeka is a community that would welcome them for who they are, and that this city will surprise you," said Sean Dixon, president of Visit Topeka.

“This was not just any song for Steven; it was a personal expression of our family’s journey and values,” says Lutvak’s husband, Michael McGowan. “As partners, we understood the significance of acceptance and diversity, values that are regrettably not always given the priority they deserve. Topeka, however, stands apart in this regard, especially as a Midwest city, and Steven infused these sentiments into 'Topeka!’”

A New York native, Lutvak initiated the song with these values up front, with the following lyrics: “Topeka is a city with her arms, open wide! Be yourself, see yourself, free yourself in Topeka,” complemented by visuals featuring community members from diverse backgrounds, including Topeka’s Ukrainian refugees and the city’s expanding Hispanic community, a population that has grown by 24% in recent years.

Lead vocals are sung by Topeka native and Broadway performer Jeff Kready, along with his partner and Broadway star Nikki Renee Daniels. Kready is recognized for his roles in Broadway productions including, "The Great Gatsby," "Company," "Tootsie," and "A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder"—a musical composed by Lutvak that earned four Tony Awards in 2014. Lutvak and Kready’s collaboration on "A Gentleman’s Guide” forged a connection that led to Lutvak's introduction to the “Topeka!” project.

“Steven was deeply moved by the concept of a community celebrating diversity and inclusivity with such passion, especially when the national climate is so charged,” says Kready. “This excitement was palpable when he embarked on the ‘Topeka!’ project. Steven was deeply impressed and inspired by Topeka’s openness, which fueled his creative process.”

The song was commissioned by Visit Topeka, the convention and visitor’s bureau for the capitol city of Kansas, to anchor its 2024-2025 campaign welcoming visitors. The timing of the launch aligns with the arrival of the 2024 Topeka City Guide which is produced in English and Spanish and celebrates the themes presented in the song.

“We were honored to work with someone of Steven’s caliber,” said Sean Dixon, president of Visit Topeka. “We knew we wanted to create a classical Broadway-inspired musical number to capture the attention of travelers around the country. Our mission was to make sure every type of family and person could see that Topeka is a community that would welcome them for who they are, and that this city will surprise you.”

“Topeka!” can be viewed/downloaded here. For more information on Topeka and its diversity efforts and opportunities, visit http://www.visittopeka.com/freeyourself.

About Visit Topeka

As Topeka’s official destination marketing organization, Visit Topeka Inc. is dedicated to marketing the region as an exceptional destination for meetings, events, sports, and leisure tourism, thereby enhancing the local economy. Visit Topeka is a 501(c)6 nonprofit. Learn more at VisitTopeka.com.



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