THE LEADING MEN: Lucas Steele Proves His Mettle in Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812

By Wayman Wong
01 Aug 2013

Phillipa Soo and Lucas Steele
Photo by Chad Batka

What about Amber Gray, who plays Anatole's fiery and fierce sister, Helene?

LS: That girl is a star in the way Eartha Kitt was, with a little Chita Rivera. Whenever you look in her eyes, she is telling you a hundred stories. And though we don't play it out, there is definitely something incestuous going on between Anatole and Helene. There's also a backstory going on with his buddy, Dolokhov (Nick Choksi). Anatole's a guy who likes his pleasure. (Laughs.)

You're a songwriter yourself, so what do you admire about Dave Malloy's music?

LS: Dave crafts music that is intelligent, sophisticated and artistic, and still has hooks. He does an incredible job of marrying the two. In Natasha, there's a lot of dance, techno and folk. And I hear Adam Guettel and Sondheim. He loves all kinds of music.

Many celebrities, such as Neil Patrick Harris and Josh Groban, have seen Natasha. Do you have a favorite encounter?

LS: Yes, Bernadette Peters. I grew up in a tiny town of 500 people (in Wyalusing, PA). One night when I was 13 or so, PBS was showing Into the Woods with the original Broadway cast. I recognized Bernadette because I had seen her in "The Jerk" with Steve Martin. She was incredibly funny and beautiful. Anyway, one night after Natasha, I was coming out after the show, and Bernadette saw me and said some very lovely things. Then I told her: "You were a large part of a very integral moment in my life, and I just wanted to thank you." She smiled and hugged me. It was so cool. It was a full-circle moment. She was absolutely lovely.

Natasha got five Drama Desk nominations, but in 2010, you were in another musical that got five Drama Desk nods, The Kid. Michael Zam, Andy Monroe and Jack Lechner wrote about Dan Savage and his boyfriend, Terry Miller, and gay adoption.

LS: I was proud to work on a piece about what it really means to be a family. Ultimately, what cements you is not a piece of paper that defines your marriage or whether this child is yours; it's love. I also adored working with Christopher Sieber, who played Dan. He's one of the best actors and guys in the business. He can do anything. He's hysterical. He's sincere. He's a wonderful actor and singer and such a giving human being. Anytime I had a doubt, he'd take it away. He was always, "Don't sweat it." He's amazing.

What was it like meeting Dan, Terry (whom you played) and their son, D.J.?

LS: Surreal. They were lovely, but maybe a little freaked out, and rightly so, to see their story musicalized. At the opening night party, I asked them if what we did was okay, and they said it was more than okay and they couldn't be happier.