Memorial for Choreographer Tony Stevens Set for November

News   Memorial for Choreographer Tony Stevens Set for November A memorial for Tony Stevens, the dancer, choreographer and director who worked with Bob Fosse and Michael Bennett and epitomized the life of a Broadway "gyspy," will be held Nov. 8.

The memorial will take place from 2-4 PM at the New York Society for Ethical Culture, which is located at 2 West 64th St. (at Central Park West). Memories of a "wonderful talent, a valued colleague and an extraordinary friend" will be shared.

Mr. Stevens died in July at the age of 63. The cause was Hodgkin's Lymphoma.

Mr. Stevens danced in several Broadway shows—including the nostalgic 1970s productions of The Boyfriend and Irene—before graduating to choreography. He was assistant choreographer on the original production of Bob Fosse's Chicago, and then co-choreographer with Gower Champion on Rockabye Hamlet in 1976. He was put fully in charge of the choreography on Rachel Lily Rosenbloom and Don't You Ever Forget It, but the 1973 Broadway musical failed to officially open.

He choreographed the Frank Loesser revue Perfectly Frank in 1980. A graduation to directing did not turn out well when the musical Wind in the Willows folded in four performances in 1985.

In 2005, Mr. Stevens helped reproduce some of Fosse's choreography in Chita Rivera: The Dancer's Life. "A huge part of me has left…gone to light the heavens for us as he did on earth," said Rivera. "I carry Tony with me. I always have and always will. My god how I will miss him." For all his various credits over the decades, Mr. Stevens' greatest claim to fame was the supporting role he played in providing the spark for one of Broadway's landmark musicals. In 1974 he and another dancer, Michon Peacock, organized a series of taped workshop sessions in which dancers confessed their life stories and feelings about their professions. At some point, Michael Bennett was invited to sit in as an observer. That taped material eventually led directly to the text and subject matter of A Chorus Line.

Mr. Stevens also found work in film, providing footwork for the movies "The Great Gatsby," "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas," "Johnny Dangerously" and "She's Having a Baby." He also performed in the movie "Tommy."

He also was the director and choreographer of the Off-Broadway show Sheba, choreographed the Off-Broadway productions of Zombie Prom and Body Shop, and earned a Lucille Lortel Award nomination for his choreography of The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged). Tony Stevens made his Broadway debut as a dancer in the 1969 show The Fig Leaves Are Falling. He had roles in Billy and Jimmy the same year, and Georgy the next.

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