Charles Esten '87
Actor, Singer, Songwriter and Comedian
How, exactly, does a kid who majored in economics and participated in just one theater production at William & Mary end up playing the lead role of Deacon Claybourne in ABC's hit show Nashville? Chip has always had a love for songwriting and playing music. When he joined Theta Delta Chi his sophomore year, Chip and a fraternity brother started playing music together. After recruiting a few other students to join them, the young musicians eventually formed a band called N'est Pas.
After graduating and playing with N'est Pas for a year, Chip decided to try his luck in Los Angeles. He launched his acting career before making his theatrical debut portraying Buddy Holly in London's hit West End musical Buddy. Chip's television credits include recurring roles on Disney Channel's Jessie, HBO's Enlightened and Big Love, and Whose Line is it Anyway? When the role on Nashville came up, it was a dream come true for Chip because it meant he would no longer have to choose between acting and singing, reopening the world of touring and recording music. His recent work includes his second season as Ward Cameron on Netflix's Outer Banks.
Learn more about Chip
- Read his feature in the W&M Alumni Magazine.
- Read about Chip's return to the Homecoming & Reunion Weekend stage with his band, N’est Pas, in the W&M Alumni Magazine.