Age & Hometown: 39; Miami
Current Role: A Broadway debut performance as Luther Dixon, the suave, Mad Men-era lover of record producer Florence Greenberg (Beth Leavel) in the musical Baby It’s You!
Man of Many Talents: Born in Haiti, Louis moved to Miami at age five with his mother. By the time his sisters arrived three years later, he had forgotten how to speak Creole, and they didn’t speak English. “From an early age, I was acting through miming,” he says. “I grew up feeling like I was part of many different worlds, and I liked that.” After graduating from New World School of the Arts, where he excelled in musicals, Louis entered the Goodman Theatre School at Chicago’s DePaul University. “They said, ‘We don’t sing and dance here,’” he recalls. “I thought, ‘Oh crap! OK.’ So I studied the classics for four years.” Moving to L.A., he snagged guest roles in CSI: Miami, Boston Legal and the film Stomp the Yard. But his urge to sing and dance never went away.
Idol Friendship: When he wasn’t talking tough onscreen, Louis played a glam-tastic rocker dubbed MzA Superstar in the underground L.A. club hit The Zodiac Show alongside eventual American Idol runner-up Adam Lambert. “Adam was a musical theater kid I’d met in The Ten Commandments,” Louis recalls of a D.O.A. musical starring Val Kilmer (!). “The Zodiac Show offered us pure freedom of expression to create visual performance art.” (To see the pair in action, click here.) When Lambert made it to the Idol finale, his pal was in the audience. “He was onstage with KISS wearing rhinestone shoulder pads that I had built,” Louis says with a laugh. “It was wild.”
Baby, It’s Him: After several false starts, including a stint as Booker T. Washington in the 1997 L.A. company of Ragtime, Louis finally made it to Broadway in Baby It’s You! “Playing Luther Dixon is the most fun I’ve had in my entire career,” he says. Paired with Tony winner Beth Leavel, Louis raves, “Besides being a brilliant singer and Broadway artist, her emotional life is right there when she looks at you. A few months ago, she said to me, ‘I love swimming in your pool,’ and I thought, ‘That’s exactly it.’” Away from the theater, Louis enjoys exploring his new neighborhood, Harlem, and hopes to continue working in New York after Baby It's You! closes on September 4. “The universe has an amazing plan,” he says, “and I’m in love with my life here.”