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Chuck Wagner (born June 20, 1958) is an American actor, director, musical theater historian and teacher. He has had an extensive career in theater, but is perhaps best known for co-starring in the short-lived science fiction TV series Automan (1983–84).
Education and early career
Wagner was born in Nashville, Tennessee, and raised in Hartsville, Tennessee. He attended public school in Gallatin. While at Gallatin High School, he performed the leads in "My Fair Lady", "Carousel", and "Inherit the Wind" under GHS' drama teacher Juliet Doyle Guthrie. As a BFA student, he attended the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa under Edmond Williams and the University of Southern California in Los Angeles under John Houseman. His collegiate summers were spent in Manteo, North Carolina where he played John Borden in The Lost Colony, America's longest running outdoor drama.
He is best known for his role in the short-lived science fiction 1983 TV series Automan as the title character. He also starred on the soap opera General Hospital as Randall Thompson in 1981 and 1982. Chuck has made guest appearances on numerous TV shows, including The Dukes of Hazzard, Dynasty, Matlock, As the World Turns, and the Late Show with David Letterman.
Wagner has had roles in several Broadway productions. His first role on Broadway was in The Three Musketeers with Brent Spiner. He went on to originate the role of Rapunzel's Prince in the original Broadway cast of Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods (1987). The recording of that show, on which Wagner appears, won the Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album. Wagner has also appeared on Broadway and in the U.S. national tour of Les Misérables as Inspector Javert. In 1994, he began a four-year stint as "The Beast", in Disney's Beauty and the Beast, in both the Broadway and Toronto productions. Wagner originated the title roles in Frank Wildhorn's Jekyll & Hyde in 1990 and Svengali in 1991 at The Alley Theatre in Houston, Texas. He reprised his dual roles in Jekyll & Hyde in the post Broadway national tour in 1999. He then toured the U.S. in the Cole Porter's Kiss Me, Kate as the MacArthuresque General Harrison Howell and understudy to Rex Smith's Fred Graham. He appeared on Broadway in 2004, in Wildhorn's Dracula, The Musical, standing by for Dracula, Van Helsing and Quincey Morris.
Wagner also sang the role of Sir Percival Blakeney, aka The Scarlet Pimpernel, in the original concept recording of The Scarlet Pimpernel (1992). In 1999, he released a self-titled solo CD, on which he sang songs from the various musicals in which he has appeared. He played The Captain of the S.S. American in Kathleen Marshall's production of the Cole Porter's Anything Goes in a year long tour that began in late 2012. In the fall of 2013 he starred as Jean Valjean in Les Miserables as Equity Guest Artist at Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee.
In the Spring of 2014, Chuck reprised his role as Javert in Les Miserables for the North Carolina Theatre in Raleigh. He was accompanied by his former broadway co-star, Craig Schulman, who reprised his role as Valjean. The show was directed by Dave Clemmons, who played Valjean opposite Wagner during the U.S. National Tour. In May he plays Javert in Les Miserables for Studio Tenn with the Nashville Symphony at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center. In June he appears as Jean Valjean in Les Miserables at the Lyric Theatre in Oklahoma City in a production featuring a 100 voice chorus.
In 2010, while at home in Pensacola Beach, Florida, he joined the response to the BP oil spill helping to coordinate a large scale mechanical beach operation while safeguarding the local sea turtles.
He has appeared in commercials for Zyban, and toured as the Ringmaster in both the 136th edition of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, Circus of Dreams (2006 through 2007), and the 138th edition Over The Top (2008 to 2009).
An avid musical theatre historian, Wagner served as Visiting Artist in Residence at the University of West Florida in Pensacola. He performs concerts and teaches in high schools and colleges. Between theatrical jobs he is a member of the touring concert series, Neil Berg's 100 Years of Broadway.
- Into the Woods (1991) (TV)
- The Sisterhood (1988)
- General Hospital (1981–82)
- America 3000 (1986)
- Automan (1983)
- Handler, David (January 19, 1984). "Your eyes just won't believe 'Automan'". The Madison Courier. p. B8. Retrieved August 19, 2011.
- Hetrick, Adam. "Craig Schulman, Chuck Wagner, Lauren Kennedy Will Star in Les Misérables for North Carolina Theatre - Playbill.com." Www.playbill.com. N.p., 26 Nov. 2013. Web. 01 May 2014. <http://www.playbill.com/news/article/184870-Craig-Schulman-Chuck-Wagner-Lauren-Kennedy-Will-Star-in-Les-Misrables-for-North-Carolina-Theatre>.