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David E. Wagner, 71, singer and musical theater entertainer

David E. Wagner, 71, singer and musical theater entertainer

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Feb. 21, 1950 – Dec. 22, 2021

David E. Wagner, a singer and musical theater entertainer in the Buffalo area for more than a decade, died Dec. 22 in his home in Williamsburg, Va., after a period of declining health. He was 71.

He performed in “The Fantasticks” at the Alleyway Theatre, in productions at the Lancaster Opera House and in a variety of musicals in other theaters. Several of his productions were under the aegis of Opera-Lytes of Buffalo. He directed and starred in “Gypsy” for Opera-Lytes in 2005.

He also sang with the Chromatic Club of Buffalo, performed at nursing homes and was active in Phoenix United Church of Christ in Getzville.

Born in Baltimore, Md., Mr. Wagner attended Baltimore schools and earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics with a secondary education certification in 1971 from St. Andrew’s University in Laurinburg, N.C.

He taught math and was a drama club adviser at a high school in North Carolina, then moved to Virginia, where he was typesetter for The Daily Progress, a newspaper in Charlottesville. He also performed in musical theater in the Charlottesville area with the Four County Players.

In 1981, Mr. Wagner opened Typecasting, his own typesetting business in Charlottesville, and operated it until 1991.

He was featured as a dinner music performer at the Inn at Willow Grove in Orange, Va., outside Charlottesville, for nearly 10 years before coming to Amherst in 1999. He specialized in music from the Great American Songbook.

“He was always into music and drama,” said his former wife, Elizabeth Scarlett, a professor of Romance languages at the University at Buffalo. “He had a repertoire of about 800 songs.”

Mr. Wagner also was a Docutech operator for Great Lakes Graphics at UB from 2004 to 2015.

After returning to Virginia in 2016, he often sang in full Colonial costume as a balladeer at Chowning’s Tavern in Williamsburg.

Survivors also include a son, Adrian E.; and a sister, Deborah Shawen.

A memorial service will be held at a later date.

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Dale Anderson has been a Buffalo News staff reporter since 1968. He was the chief rock and pop writer for 20 years and helped establish the weekend entertainment magazine Gusto.

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