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Just a good ole boy...



ChicagowopatFrom TV’s "Luke Duke" to the stage's "Billy Flynn," Tom Wopat has enjoyed a diverse career in acting over the last 30 years.

Though he began his career on stage, he first hit stardom on "The Dukes of Hazzard," which aired from 1979 to 1985. These days, he’s wowing audiences as the headliner on the touring Broadway production of Chicago, which plays Clearwater's Ruth Eckerd Hall from April 20-22.

This week's Stuck in the 80s podcast is an interview with Tom Wopat. Click here to download the show or click here to subscribe to all the podcasts for free on iTunes.

Here are some highlights:

Dukesofhazzard On going from Dukes of Hazzard to a stage career: "The interesting is that I actually started in musical comedy. In junior high, I started doing musicals. Here I am 43 years later, still doing the same thing. The Dukes of Hazzard thing was really the anomaly. I always thought of myself as a singer first and an actor second."

Is he still recognized as Luke Duke? "I have a much different look these days. I don't wear my hair long anymore. But the fans are pretty respectful. It's only once in a while when someone says, 'God, what happened to you?' And I'll say, 'Hey, hey! That was 30 years ago. You look a little different too, pal.' "

Daisyduke On the Dukes of Hazzards' enduring popularity: "It came on the heels of the "Smokey and the Bandit" kind of thing. It had a certain kind of comic disrespect for the law. Also, there was no cursing, there was no blood, there was no real sex. Daisy's short-shorts were about as sexy as it got -- and that's pretty sexy. It’s just a show that appealed to all generations and it seems to continue to."

-- "Chicago" appears for five shows Friday through Sunday at Ruth Eckerd Hall. $47-$67. (727) 791-7400.

[Last modified: Wednesday, June 9, 2010 2:22pm]


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