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Harvey Evans, Original Cast Member of Follies, Anyone Can Whistle, and More, Dies at 80

Evans was also in the original production of West Side Story and both film versions of the musical.

Harvey Evans
(© David Gordon)

Broadway veteran Harvey Evans died on Christmas Eve at the Actors Fund Home in Englewood, New Jersey. He was 80.

Born January 7, 1941 in Cincinnati, Ohio, Evans — formerly Hohnecker — made his Broadway debut in 1957 at the age of 19, dancing Bob Fosse's choreography in New Girl in Town. At the same time, word began spreading of a new project from choreographer Jerome Robbins, titled West Side Story. He begged producer Harold Prince for an audition after the show opened, and he became the first Jet replacement, in a role called Gee-Tar.

Evans stayed with West Side Story through the end of its New York run, and would follow that show with stints in the chorus of Redhead, opposite Gwen Verdon, and Gypsy, opposite Ethel Merman. It was during Gypsy that Evans landed the role of Mouthpiece in the now-classic 1961 film of West Side Story. On screen, he also appeared as a dancer in The Pajama Game and Mary Poppins, as well as the filmed television productions of Dames at Sea and Applause.

On stage, Evans would go on to perform in the original Broadway productions of Hello, Dolly!, Anyone Can Whistle, George M!, Barnum, and, most notably, Follies, where he played Young Buddy. Additional credits include Sunset Boulevard, The Scarlet Pimpernel, and the 2002 revival of Oklahoma!, which was his final Broadway appearance.

Evans was universally beloved in the Broadway community and was a fixture at opening nights and various charity events. His last screen appearance can currently be seen in Steven Spielberg's new adaptation of West Side Story, where he plays a security guard at the Gimbels department store.

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