Harvey Evans, actor in Broadway’s golden years, dies at 80
NEW YORK – Harvey Evans, an actor, singer and dancer with a knack for starring in original Broadway classics like “West Side Story,” “Follies” “Hello, Dolly!” and the “gypsy,” died. He was 80 years old.
A friend and Broadway actor, dancer, singer, producer and director Lawrence Leritz said Evans passed away on Christmas Eve at the Actors Fund Home in Englewood, New Jersey. “He was loved by the Broadway community,” Leritz said.
Evans is rarely given lead roles on Broadway but has found a place in timeless shows. He co-starred with Angela Lansbury in “Anyone Can Whistle” and played Barnaby in “Hello, Dolly!” opposite Carol Channing, then Betty Grable and then Eve Arden.
“When I look back,” Evans told Playbill in 2007, “I think I had some sort of angel on my shoulders, leading me to the best shows in Broadway’s golden years. I didn’t. pick and choose them – they just come around that way.”
Evans, born Harvey Hohnecker, grew up in Cincinnati and fell in love with the musical scene after seeing the play “Song of Norway”. “My entire childhood was spent waiting for graduating from high school so I could go to New York and do a Broadway show,” he told Playbill.
Evans arrived in New York in 1955 and became friendly with choreographers Bob Fosse and Jerome Robbins. Evans’ first musical as a dancer on Broadway was “New Girl in Town,” starring Gwen Verdon and choreographed by Fosse.
He changed his name when he played a small role in Blake Edwards’ 1962 “Experiment in Terror” starring Glenn Ford and Lee Remick. He and actress Taffy Paul decided to remake themselves – he became Evans and she became Stefanie Powers.
Evans was also chosen by Fosse for “Redhead,” along with Verdon, and the film “The Pajama Game.” Other highlights were starring on Broadway with Henry Fonda and Margaret Hamilton in the 1969 revival of “Our Town” and as a back-up for Jim Dale in “Barnum” in the early 1980s. I was the chimney sweep when Julie Andrews immortalized “Mary Poppins” on film in 1964.
“I had my name above the title and I had it very low,” he told Playbill. “It doesn’t matter to me. It’s great to be a part of this community.”
His later Broadway credits include the mid-1990s revival of “Sunset Boulevard,” “The Scarlet Pimpernel,” and as a minor actor in “Oklahoma!” in 2002. He also guest-starred in the film “Enchanted” with Amy Adams in 2007. He joined Broadway in the original “West Side Story” and later in the 1961 film version.
Tony Yazbeck tweeted: “It’s really hard to put into words how much Harvey Evans means to me. “He’s the personification of kindness. It’s funny and supportive. He’s been to every show I’ve ever been on and inspires me to keep going! A real triple threat who has the opposite. heart as big as his incredible career.”
Bebe Neuwirth added: “One of the kindest, most delightful, loveliest gentlemen I have ever had the good fortune to know.” Betty Buckley also sent her regards: “With a lot of love.”