Christopher Wangro (born January 17, 1958) is a producer and impresario.
Chris Wangro was born in New York City to a family of artists and illustrators. Early on, he became obsessed with the history of magic, circus and vaudeville. While working as a young magician, Wangro met noted Ringling Brothers' clown Freddy Yockers, who gave him his first formal teaching in circus and clowning. Wangro started performing as a clown and magician, eventually landing Off-Broadway as a sword swallower. Wangro graduated from Bard College with a special interdisciplinary arts degree and a grant from the New York State Council of the Arts to launch a traveling one-ring show, The Janus Circus- “an eclectic modern circus of mayhem, mirth and mystery.” He served as Director & Ringmaster for Janus, touring the circus for several years in North America and Europe.
Wangro's ability to create innovative public spectacle was recognized by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation; in 1988 he was recruited to produce free public events in that city’s parks. In 1990, he became the City-Wide Director of Special Events, and is credited with reinstating “Mega-Events” to Central Park where he oversaw the three largest public events in that Park's history: “Earth Day '90,” “Paul Simon's Concert in the Park, August 15, 1991” and “Pavarotti's Concert In The Park,” among hundreds of other events each year.
In 1994, Wangro resigned his position at Parks to begin his own firm, Zaragunda Inc. Working under the banner of Zaragunda, he has operated as an independent producer across an uncommonly broad range of disciplines, spanning the fields of music, entertainment, marketing, arts & politics. The impressive number and vast scale of the projects he took on, and his infectious energetic approach to producing, gained him a reputation as a true New York City impresario. Ever the juggler, Wangro spent several years running Zaragunda while acting as Executive Producer and "Vice President of Fun and Profit" for The John Schreiber Group, a national events marketing firm responsible for hundreds of events, touring programs and annual festivals.
In 2001, Wangro formed a new company with a unique model combining the skills of a diverse group of production professionals- The Usual Suspects.
After years of producing for the commercial and public sector, Wangro began dedicating his time to the creation of public spectacle and events for social causes. In 2003, he teamed up with award winning theatrical designer Tal Yarden, to create NY, America: a hybrid not-for-profit organization that unites the arts world with the community of social justice organizations. NY, America's first effort, coincided with the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York City. With over 200 events in six days, "The Imagine Festival" was the largest political arts festival to ever take place in the United States and has served as a model for arts and political organizations throughout the country. Wangro received an Obie Award for Imagine and went on to create events for many more social justice organizations including UNAIDS, the United Federation of Teachers and Care for the Homeless.
Wangro continues his work with Zaragunda, The Usual Suspects and NY, America while acting as a consultant and advisor to a number of marketing firms, arts and social justice organizations. Wangro is based in New York City, and Woodstock, New York.