Von Essen, according to his official website, will portray Tony in the classic musical, which will play the Houston venue Oct. 24-Nov. 5. The production will also feature Leo Ash Evens — seen as Tulsa in the Patti LuPone Gypsy at the Ravinia Festival — as Riff.
Max von Essen, who was seen as Patrick in the Kennedy Center's production of Mame, appeared Off-Broadway in Finian's Rainbow and in the Paper Mill Playhouse production of The Baker's Wife. On Broadway the actor has been seen in Dance of the Vampires, Jesus Christ Superstar and Les Misérables; his Off-Broadway work also includes The Fantasticks and John & Paul. Von Essen's regional credits are numerous and include Dorian the Musical, My Fair Lady, Hair, Blood Brothers and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. He was also part of the all-star benefit concert of Children of Eden and was seen in the Two River Theater Company's production of The Umbrellas of Cherbourg.
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. After West Side Story Evens will play Jimmy in Thoroughly Modern Millie at the Arvada Center in Denver, Nov. 28-Dec. 31. Visit www.leoashevens.com for more information.
West Side Story debuted on Broadway at the Winter Garden Theatre in Sept. 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 Leonard Bernstein-Stephen Sondheim score boasts such tunes as "Tonight," "America," "Maria," "I Feel Pretty" and "Somewhere."
For tickets call (888) 558-3882 or visit www.tuts.com.