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Quintessential Broadway ‘Gypsy,’ Tony Stevens, Dies at 63

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Dancer, choreographer, and director Tony Stevens, who worked with Bob Fosse and Michael Bennett and epitomized the life of a Broadway “gypsy,” has died, according to Playbill.com. He was 63. The cause was Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Stevens danced in several Broadway shows—including the 1970s productions of The Boyfriend and Irene—before graduating to choreography. He was assistant choreographer on the original production of 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.

Tony Stevens (Photo courtesy Broadway Dance Center)

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, Stevens helped reproduce some of Fosse’s choreography in Chita Rivera: The Dancer’s Life. Recently, he was on the faculty at Broadway Dance Center.

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 bared their life stories and their feelings about their chosen profession. 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.

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. To see the full story, visit http://www.playbill.com/news/article/152719-Choreographer-Tony-Stevens-Dies-at-63

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July 2011
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