Shuler Hensley

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Shuler Hensley
Shuler Hensley In NYC 2008.JPG
Hensley outside Young Frankenstein, February 29, 2008
Shuler Paul Hensley

(1967-03-06) March 6, 1967 (age 55)
SpousePaula DeRosa
Parent(s)Sam P. Hensley Jr. (father)
Iris Antley (mother)

Shuler Paul Hensley (born March 6, 1967) is an American singer and actor.

Early life[edit]

Hensley was born in Atlanta, Georgia. The youngest of three children, Hensley grew up in Marietta, Georgia. His father, Sam P. Hensley Jr., is a former Georgia Tech football star, retired civil engineer and former state senator. His mother, Iris Hensley, (née Antley), was a ballerina, and later, Founder and Artistic Director of the Georgia Ballet *[1]* Professional Company and school.[1][2] Hensley had an early start in show business at the age of four when he appeared as Fritz in her production of The Nutcracker.

He was educated at The Westminster Schools and attended the University of Georgia on a baseball scholarship. After attending a recital by Jessye Norman and being cast as Judge Turpin in a college production of Sweeney Todd, he decided to leave university after his sophomore year in order to study voice at the Manhattan School of Music where he majored in opera and graduated in 1989. From there, he went to the Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia, and obtained his master's degree in 1993.


Hensley (right), at a September 24, 2013 press junket at Sardi's restaurant for Waiting for Godot and No Man's Land. Beside him from left to right, are director Sean Mathias and actors Ian McKellen, Billy Crudup and Patrick Stewart.

Hensley's stage career began in the early 1990s with roles such as Pitkin in On the Town, Joe in The Most Happy Fella, and Miles Gloriosus in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, He has also sung in the Gilbert and Sullivan operettas Pirates of Penzance and Patience and in the operas Carmen, Faust, La bohème and Don Giovanni. And in addition to an early Oklahoma! casting as Jud Fry at the North Shore Music Theatre, Boston, Shuler also played Curly at the Skylight Opera Theatre, Milwaukee.

In 1996, he went to Hamburg, Germany to perform the title role in The Phantom of the Opera in German.

In 1998, he was cast as Jud Fry for London's National Theatre production of Oklahoma! The revival was a huge success and Hensley received wonderful personal notices as well as the Olivier Award. He continued to play the role when the show transferred to the West End (1999), the only American native in the cast, and then to Broadway (2002–2003), where he won a Tony, a Drama Desk Award and an Outer Critics Circle Award for the same role.

He has performed on several occasions with Hugh Jackman. They both performed in the musical Oklahoma! in London in 1998, as well as in the films Someone Like You, and Van Helsing, in the latter of which Hensley played Frankenstein's monster and also performed reference motion capture as Mr. Hyde. He cameoed in The Greatest Showman which starred Jackman. In 2021, Hensley and Jackman starred as Marcellus Washburn and Harold Hill in the broadway revival of The Music Man

Hensley also starred in the Broadway production of Young Frankenstein as the Monster. For this role he was nominated for the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical and the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical.[3] He also reprised the role in the United States national tour which also featured his former co-stars Roger Bart and Cory English.[4] He again played the role in the 2017 West End production.[5][6]

In 2011 he portrayed American Yiddish theatre great Boris Thomashefsky in The Thomashefskys: Music and Memories of a Life in the Yiddish Theater, a concert stage show celebrating the Thomashefskys and the music of Yiddish theatre, hosted by their grandson the conductor Michael Tilson Thomas. The show aired on the PBS series Great Performances in 2012.[7]

In 2012 he starred as a 600-pound man in the Off Broadway production of The Whale at Playwrights Horizons.[8]

In April–May 2015, Hensley sang the role of the Celebrant in Leonard Bernstein's Mass, in a concert version with the Philadelphia Orchestra under conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin.[9] Later that year he appeared in a Tokyo production of Hal Prince's Prince of Broadway.[10]

In fall 2016, Hensley co-starred with Sutton Foster in The New Group's revival of Sweet Charity.[11]

The Georgia High School Musical Theatre Awards are also known as the Shuler Hensley Awards in his honor. The winners of these awards qualify to go on to the national Jimmy Awards.[12]



  1. ^ "Shuler Hensley Biography". filmreference. 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-06.
  2. ^ Tribute to Iris Hensley Archived 2012-05-04 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Together Again: Bart and Hensley Will Tour in Young Frankenstein Retrieved August 26, 2017
  5. ^ Hardwick, Viv (24 August 2017). "Theatre: North-East comic Ross Noble stars in Young Frankenstein coming to Newcastle". The Northern Echo. Retrieved 2017-08-26. The plot features Frederick (Hadley Fraser), the grandson of Dr Frankenstein, ending up in Transylvania Heights, in 1934, and building another monster (Shuler Hensley).
  6. ^ Swain, Marianaka (6 October 2017). "BWW Interview: Susan Stroman On Bringing YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN To London". Broadway World. Retrieved 2017-10-06. And you've got one original cast member, Shuler Hensley? Yes, the entire cast is British other than Shuler!
  7. ^ Jones, Kenneth (March 29, 2012). "Thomashefskys, Musical Portrait of Yiddish Stage, Airs on PBS March 29". Playbill. Archived from the original on April 10, 2012.
  8. ^ Brown, Scott (2012-11-07). "Theater Review: Communing With a 600-Pound Man in The Whale". Vulture. Retrieved 11 November 2016.
  9. ^ Philadelphia Orchestra, Bernstein's Mass from YouTube.
  10. ^ Lloyd-Webber, Imogen. "Watch Ramin Karimloo, Shuler Hensley, Tony Yazbeck & More Take On Prince of Broadway". Retrieved 11 November 2016.
  11. ^ Rickwald, Bethany (2016-11-07). "Sweet Charity, Starring Sutton Foster, Extends Again". Theatermania. Retrieved 11 November 2016.
  12. ^ Dixon, Kristal (31 August 2016). "Alpharetta, Milton Schools Sign On For Shuler Hensley Awards". Patch.

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