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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, and "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 a 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.
Casnoff's first leading role in a feature film was in 2015's Sight Unseen.
Casnoff's first major role was that of the main antagonist Elkanah Bent in the popular 1985 miniseries North and South. He went on to reprise the role in two sequels which aired in 1986 and 1994. He also played the French officer Lafayette in the 1984 miniseries George Washington.
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, and Dollhouse.
He also directed two episodes of Monk, namely Mr. Monk Stays in Bed, (July 22, 2005) and Mr. Monk and the Captain's Marriage, (January 27, 2006).
Casnoff was born in Philadelphia. He 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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