MARIETTA-BORN actor Shuler Hensley’s star turn in the hit play “The Whale” at the Playwrights Horizons theater on 42nd Street in NYC was named “Stage Performance of the Year” by New York Magazine in its “The Year in Culture 2012” year-end wrap-up.
Writes the magazine: “So many of 2012’s finest acting turns were wired into ensembles (the squabbling families of and Tribes, the combatant couples of Virginia Woolf), but Shuler Hensley — literal centerpiece of Samuel D. Hunter’s stealthily surreal heart-burster The Whale — really is an island: a 600-pound isle of flesh. Inside a suffocating fat suit like his, an actor’s every movement counts; it’s like giving birth. Making this guy more than a stunt, and moving him beyond the merely literal, takes something approaching genius. Hensley’s Charlie — an online English-composition tutor steadily eating himself to death in an Idaho edge city — is both a compendium of insatiable American emptiness and an utterly honest, entirely non-bathetic hero. That’s no small thing.”
Hensley, son of Sam and late Iris Hensley of Marietta (who was founder of what is now The Georgia Ballet), earlier won a Tony Award for his performance in the revival of the musical “Oklahoma!” and has appeared in numerous plays and movies, including an appearance as Frankenstein’s Monster in the Broadway production of Mel Brooks’ “Young Frankenstein.”