"A winning performance... distinguished himself"

Leo Ash Evens, fresh off a winning performance as Tulsa in Ravinia’s August staging of Gypsy with Patti LuPone, distinguished himself in Houston with a charismatic, smoothly sung Riff who projected a natural leader’s combination of grit, poise, and panache. A gifted dancer, Evens transformed the loose-limbed grace he displayed in Gypsy’s “All I Need Is The Girl” into the coiled tension and barely-contained violence of Robbins’ choreography for the Jets’ commander. He effectively communicated the complexity of Riff’s emotions, bringing out his bewilderment and frustration at Tony’s withdrawal from the web of gang and neighborhood loyalties that define at the end of the moments of Riff’s accidental death at the end of Act 1 and his reappearance in the Act II ballet.
Christopher Weimer