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Signature Series to celebrate career of Stephen McKinley Henderson

UB faculty member Stephen Henderson has had a notable career on the Broadway and off-Broadway stage, as well as in film and television. Photo: Ryan Phluger/August

By PATRICIA DONOVAN

Published March 19, 2015

This year, UB’s Signature Series, which honors the university’s legacy of distinction and innovation in arts and letters, will celebrate the award-winning career of 2010 Tony Award nominee Stephen McKinley Henderson, distinguished actor, director and professor in the Department of Theatre and Dance.

As part of this celebration, the UB community and public are invited to attend the following events:

  • Getting it True: A panel discussion on social conscience in the arts led by UB Associate Professor Jonathan Katz and featuring Henderson, UB faculty members and students. It will be held at 3 p.m. April 14 in the Mainstage theatre in the Center for the Arts, North Campus. A reception will follow in the Center for the Arts atrium.
  • An Evening with Stephen McKinley Henderson: Join UB alumnus and theater critic Anthony Chase for an intimate and candid interview with Henderson, in which he will discuss his storied career as a performer, director and educator. It will take place at 7 p.m. April 15 in Lippes Concert Hall in Slee Hall, North Campus. A reception will follow in the UB Art Gallery in the Center for the Arts.

Both events are free but an RSVP is requested.

Henderson, a member of the UB faculty since 1987, is known for his critically acclaimed work on the Broadway and off-Broadway stage, as well as in film and television.

His current starring role in “Between Riverside and Crazy,” now off-Broadway at the Tony Kiser Theater, has been praised by The New York Times, Newsday, New York Daily News, Variety, USA Today and many other publications.

Stephen McKinley Henderson (right) and Denzel Washington both received Tony nominations for their roles in “Fences.” Photo: JOAN MARCUS

He is best known on Broadway and beyond primarily for his excellent work in supporting roles, including those in nearly all of August Wilson’s cycle of 10 plays about the lives of African-Americans in 20th-century America. He is known in particular for his performance in Wilson’s “Jitney,” for which he and the rest of the cast received a Drama Desk Award for Best Ensemble and an Olivier Award (London’s Tony).

Henderson also performed in the 2014 Tony Award-winning Broadway revival of “A Raisin in the Sun” and was nominated for a Tony for his work in the 2010 production of Wilson’s “Fences.” Both plays starred Denzel Washington. That season, he also received the Actors’ Equity annual Richard Seff Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor.

He has appeared in such films as “Lincoln,” “Tower Heist” and “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close,” which was nominated for an Academy Award in the best picture category.

His television work includes roles in HBO’s acclaimed film “Everyday People”; “Law & Order,” in which he played a recurring role as a judge for 15 years; “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”; “The Newsroom”; “Law & Order: Criminal Intent”; Tyler Perry’s “House of Payne”; “Third Watch”; and “Blue Bloods.” He co-starred in the FOX TV series “New Amsterdam” and performed in the PBS American Playhouse film production of “A Raisin in the Sun,” which starred Danny Glover and Esther Rolle.

Henderson attended the Juilliard Drama Division and is a graduate of the North Carolina School of the Arts and Purdue University.