Gypsy's Evens Will Be Riff in London West Side Story

News   Gypsy's Evens Will Be Riff in London West Side Story Leo Ash Evens, the young singer-actor-dancer who played Tulsa in the Ravinia Festival's production of Gypsy starring Patti LuPone, has landed the role of Riff in the upcoming production of West Side Story at London's Sadler's Wells.
Leo Ash Evens
Leo Ash Evens

The classic Leonard Bernstein-Stephen Sondheim-Arthur Laurents musical will play the London venue July 22-Aug. 31. Joey McNeely will direct and choreograph the production; McNeely is also attached as choreographer for the forthcoming Broadway revival of the classic musical, which will be directed by its librettist, Laurents.

About his latest role, Evens told Playbill.com, "This is my fourth time in the role, and I'm equally as excited as the first! From Houston TUTS to Barrington Stage to the 50th Anniversary Tour last summer, playing Riff has been an incredible opportunity for me to grow as an actor. I'm really excited to work with Joey as well."

As previously reported, the 50th anniversary production of West Side Story launched its European tour at the Théâtre du Chatelet in Paris in November 2007. The six-week run preceded engagements in Vienna, Zurich, Leipzig and Baden-Baden. The Sadler's Wells run will be followed by an Athens engagement.

Leo Ash Evens graduated with a BFA in Drama from Carnegie Mellon University. He played Mike in the tour of Disney’s On the Record and Hollinger in the tour of Casper the Musical. He was seen in the revue I Prefer to Dream at the Triad and in the 45th Street Theatre productions of Good News and Lady, Be Good! His numerous regional theatre credits include mountings of Oklahoma!, 42nd Street, West Side Story, Chicago, The Secret Garden, Big River, Jesus Christ Superstar and Hair. Evens also took part in readings of Harmony, But I'm a Cheerleader!, Easter Rising, Rainy Day People and The Adventures of Gilda. Visit www.leoashevens.com for more information.

West Side Story features a score by Leonard Bernstein (music) and Stephen Sondheim (lyrics) and a book by Laurents. The musical opened on Broadway at the Winter Garden Theatre Sept. 26, 1957. It played 732 performances before closing June 27, 1959. Conceived, directed and choreographed by Jerome Robbins, the original cast included Larry Kert as Tony, Carol Lawrence as Maria and Chita Rivera as Anita. The classic Bernstein-Sondheim score boasts such tunes as "Tonight," "America," "Maria," "I Feel Pretty" and "Somewhere." Visit www.sadlerswells.com for more information.

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The Broadway revival of the classic American musical West Side Story will make its premiere at The National Theatre in Washington, DC, in December before arriving on Broadway in 2009. The eagerly awaited revival will play the DC venue Dec. 2, 2008-Jan. 4, 2009. A Broadway run at a theatre-to-be-announced is scheduled to commence in early February 2009. The production, directed by Arthur Laurents, will also feature Jerome Robbins' original choreography, re-created by McKneely (Tony nominee for The Life and Smokey Joe's Café). Patrick Vaccariello will be the production's musical director. Kevin McCollum, James Nederlander, Jr. and Jeffrey Seller are producing the revival of West Side Story.