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Casnoff began his career touring in the 1972–73 national company of Godspell where he understudied Jesus and Judas. He was cast as understudy for the title role in the 1976 Broadway production of Rockabye Hamlet, a rock musical version of Shakespeare's play, but the show closed after only seven performances.
In 1988, Casnoff starred as Freddie Trumper, an arrogant American professional chess player in the short-lived Broadway production of the musical Chess and received warm reviews for his performance. "Remarkably fine", wrote New York Post, "does justice to the role", commented New York Daily News, "wonderful singing", mentioned The New Yorker. It brought Casnoff the Theater World Award for Best Debut Performance.
Casnoff created the lead role of John Blackmore in the Shogun: The Musical (1990), based on the popular book and miniseries by James Clavell. During the previews of the show, he suffered minor injury when struck by a piece of scenery but quickly recuperated and returned to the performances after just one day-off. The production, unfortunately, survived only for 12 previews and 72 performances, but Casnoff received a lot of critical acclaim. "Mr. Casnoff had the swaggering self-assurance of a star in complete command of a vast production", wrote Frank Rich in The New York Times.
In 2000, he joined the cast of Lifetime Television's Strong Medicine. As Chief of Staff Dr. Robert Jackson, Casnoff stayed with the show for five seasons, until 2005. He also directed an episode and went on direct an episode of Monk.
His other screen credits also include Numb3rs, Without a Trace, Material Girls, Law & Order, Frasier, For All Time, Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Diagnosis: Murder, ER, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, The Nanny, NCIS.
Casnoff's first leading role in a feature film was in a movie Sight Unseen, which is still in a post-production with release date still TBA.
He also directed two episodes of Monk (TV series), namely Monk stays in bed, (July 22, 2005) and The Captain's wife, (January 27, 2006).
Casnoff graduated from Central High School in June 1967; and attended Wesleyan University, attaining his B.A. in 1971. He has been married to actress Roxanne Hart since 1984. They have two sons, Alexander and Macklin. Casnoff presently lives in Los Angeles.
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- "Philip Casnoff". Nndb.com. Retrieved 2010-10-18.
- "Philip Casnoff Biography (1955-)". Filmreference.com. 1955-08-03. Retrieved 2010-10-18.
- "Philip Casnoff Filmography". Fandango.com. Retrieved 2010-10-18.
- Philip Casnoff at the Internet Movie Database
- Philip Casnoff at the Internet Broadway Database
- Central High School of Philadelphia - 226th Class