by Tony Swanick
Robert Evan suffers from a unique kind of split personality disorder. Unlike other sufferers, Evan is only affected in the evenings and only at the Plymouth Theatre where he has been amazing audiences in his dual title role in the Frank Wildhorn musical Jekyll and Hyde.
“I guess it will be kind of weird when people ask my kids what I do for a living,” Evan said. “‘My dad plays a mass murderer with multiple personalities’ just doesn’t sound like someone you want to join the PTA.”
But for Rob, the only thing that could make his soaring career take a back seat is his family, wife Beate and sons Johan Phillip and Max August. If there is any doubt that this young man has a bright future, consider that besides his regular job in one (actually two) of the most difficult roles on Broadway, Rob performed at his first solo concert with great success on Sunday, April 25, at the China Club in NYC. It was announced at the concert that he will receive the 1999 Shining Star Award on October 4 at the Twelfth Annual Jane Elissa Extravaganza to benefit the Leukemia Society of America. He is also finishing up work on his first solo CD tentatively titled Moments.
Rob was born in Georgia, the youngest of four children. He has one brother and two sisters. He is a past recipient of the Georgia Music Festival Talent Award and also played varsity football at the University of Georgia, where he majored in
In 1992, he landed a role in the national tour of Les Misérables, playing the student leader, Enjolras. Rob continued to tour with Les Misérables into 1993 and, in the following year, made his Broadway debut in the role of Brujon in Les Miz. Rob later took a detour from Broadway, playing Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar, in Rhode Island.
In 1995, he played the lead in a concert version of Chess in Miami. That year also brought other important advances to Rob's career. Rob was the understudy to the lead in Jekyll & Hyde, a new musical. He then returned to Broadway in Les Misérables. As 1995 drew to a close, Rob was on tour with Jekyll & Hyde, as standby to the title roles. Rob and Beate's son, Johann Phillip, was brought into the world in 1996 the same year he returned to Broadway as the understudy to the title role, Jean Valjean, in Les Miz - and later the role became his own.
Also in 1996, Atlantic Records recorded the recently-released album The Civil War: The Complete Work and Rob lent his voice as one of the “Broadway All-Stars” (along with Amick Bryram, Dave Clemmons, Michael Lanning, Ray McLeod, Gene Miller, Royal Reed and Chuck Wagner who is currently playing the lead in the touring version of Jekyll & Hyde). In 1997, Rob became the alternate for the title roles of Jekyll & Hyde on Broadway, performing those roles on Wednesday and Saturday matinees, and covering for the lead whenever the need arose.
His rendition of "This Is The Moment" was performed at the 1998 Goodwill Games, the New York City Inaugural Gala, the 1998 New York Yankees World Series Celebration at City Hall and, most recently at the opening of the International Wheelchair Tennis Tournament at Arthur Ashe Stadium in Queens. Robert created the role of Nanki-Poo in TUTS/Pittsburgh CLO's premiere of David Bell's Hot Mikado. On tour, he has also been seen in Hello Dolly! with Madeline Kahn and regionally, he has played Tommy in Brigadoon, the Red Shadow in Desert Song and Anatoly in Chess. Robert produced and starred in the BC/EFA New York Concert of Chess at the John Houseman Theatre last season. He can be heard on the recordings of Jekyll & Hyde (original Broadway Cast), The Civil War (Atlantic), Zorro The Musical, and his upcoming solo debut, Moments, due this fall.
Rob and I spoke recently after his triumphant performance at New York’s China Club where he rocked the audience with a wide selection of material ranging from Wildhorn to Tom Jones. Still, his major gig is the dual role of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde at Broadway’s Plymouth Theater and that was the first subject we discussed.
Photos courtesy of The Robert Evan Fan Club, Linda Russack, President and Christophen Muller, Webmaster.