Arthur Wagner’s 90th Birthday

So there’s this email inviting me to celebrate Arthur Wagner’s 90th birthdya…

UCSD Theatre & Dance 40th Anniversary Celebration
and Arthur Wagner 90th Birthday Fête
Saturday, May 18, 2-5 p.m.
UC San Diego, Mandell Weiss Forum Theatre

So who is this guy?

Arthur Wagner was born in New York City on May 11, 1923. Having graduated from Stuyvesant High School in NYC, he earned a B.A. degree in Philosophy from Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana in 1946 and a M.A. degree in Theatre Arts two years later from Smith College in Northhampton, Massachusetts. Wagner served as supervisor of dramatic activities at the Jewish Community Center in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1948-49 and as artistic director at the Springfield Civic Theatre in 1949-50. He went on to study with Paul Mann at the Actors Workshop in New York City from 1953-1955. Wagner was named head of the Theatre Arts Department and director of the Annie Russell Theatre at Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida in 1956 and held the position for nine years while earning his Ph.D. in Drama from Stanford University in 1962.

From 1965 to 1967 he served as professor of drama at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana where he established the Graduate Actor Training Program. He spent two years as a professor and director of Graduate and Undergraduate Actor Training Programs at Ohio University before moving to Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 1971, after serving for three years as professor of drama and founder/director of the Graduate Actor Training Program at Temple University, Dr. Wagner joined the UC San Diego faculty in 1972. He served as the founding Chair of the UC San Diego Department of Drama from 1972 to 1977 and from 1977 until his retirement in 1991, he was head of the Graduate Professional Actor Training Program. Professor Wagner also serves on the Board of Trustees of the La Jolla Playhouse. A gifted professional actor and director, he has numerous directing and acting credits and is a member of Actors Equity.

Damn. He’s been everywhere.

Event timeline:
2-3 p.m. — Reception, Forum Courtyard
3-4 p.m. — Program, Forum Theatre
4:15 p.m. — Birthday Toast, Onstage

Alumni of the department are invited to join our UC San Diego Department of Theatre and Dance Alumni Facebook Group to stay connected.

Read about Arthur and Molli Wagner’s lead gift of $2.2 million to the UC San Diego Department of Theatre and Dance Student Production Fund.

Arthur Wagner Front

Forty years ago, UC San Diego’s Theatre & Dance Founding Chair Arthur Wagner
was recruited from Temple University in Philadelphia to develop the UCSD drama department.
Arthur put four founding faculty in place with the expectation that the faculty might grow to seven.Today, the Department of Theatre & Dance has over 40 faculty and
ranks in the top three theatre programs nationally.One of Arthur’s first department productions was the San Diego premiere of Van Itallie’s
The Serpent in November 1972. Read a San Diego Union-Tribune interview.

The Arthur Wagner Theatre is located on the first floor of Galbraith Hall. The theatre seats 99 audience members, and has a full sound/light/stage management booth and dressing rooms. The theatre is permanently arranged in a thrust configuration, with seating on three sides.

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I remember the UNPF of 2011… I designed sound for that show at Arthur Wagner’s Theatre!
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