Press agent Bill Evans. (Photo: Anita Shevett)

Veteran press agent Bill Evans is retiring after close to 50 years in the industry. 

Evans was the longtime press agent for Neil Simon, representing 18 of his plays. Leading up to his retirement, Evans was the director of media relations for the Shubert Organization. 

Evans began his career in 1972 as the apprentice press agent for Stephen Sondheim’s “A Little Night Music.” In 1976, he was hired by producer Manny Azenberg to represent Simon’s “California Suite,” which led to the creation of Evans’ own press agency and a longstanding working relationship with Simon. 

Evans also had a close friendship with Simon and donated a kidney to Simon in 2004. 

In addition to working on Simon’s plays, Evans worked on 30 of Azenberg’s productions and 10 productions directed or produced by Mike Nichols. He led the press strategy for three Tony Award-winning best musicals — “City of Angels,” “Crazy for You” and “Ain’t Misbehavin’” — and five best play winners: “Children of a Lesser God,” “The Real Thing,” “Biloxi Blues,” “Lost in Yonkers” and “Master Class.” 

Evans attributes the early successes in his career to luck and then to the relationships he was able to make on the way. He’s tried to bring the same generosity to others starting out in the industry.  

“There’s no way you can actually repay the people who give it to you,” Evans said. “I always try to pay it forward.” 

After eight years with the Shubert Organization, Evans will retire effective March 31. Evans and his husband, Chuck Fischer, are relocating to Cleveland to live near family.