Shuler Hensley Will Star in NYC Premiere of The Whale at Playwrights; Cassie Beck, Tasha Lawrence Among Cast

By Michael Gioia
20 Jul 2012

Shuler Hensley
Shuler Hensley

Tony Award winner Shuler Hensley will star in the New York premiere of Obie Award winner Samuel D. Hunter's The Whale, about a 600-pound man trying to reclaim his life, beginning Oct. 12 at Playwrights Horizons' Peter Jay Sharp Theater.

Davis McCallum, who directed the world premiere of Quiara Alegria Hudes' Pulitzer Prize-winning Water By the Spoonful, will helm the Playwrights production, which is scheduled for a run through November.

In the New York premiere, Hensley (Oklahoma!, Young Frankenstein, Tarzan) will be joined by Theatre World Award winner Cassie Beck (The Drunken City and Prayer for My Enemy at Playwrights, Broadway's The Norman Conquests), Reyna de Courcy (Off-Broadway's Burning), Tasha Lawrence (Wilder, Wilder, Wilder and Good People on Broadway) and Cory Michael Smith (The Shaggs at Playwrights, Cock).

Here's how Playwrights bills the show: "On the outskirts of Mormon Country, Idaho, a 600-pound recluse (Hensley) hides away in his apartment eating himself to death. Desperate to reconnect with his long-estranged daughter (de Courcy), he reaches out to her, only to find a viciously sharp-tongued and wildly unhappy teen. Big-hearted and fiercely funny, The Whale tells the story of a man's last chance at redemption, and of finding beauty in the most unexpected places."



Playwright Hunter is a 2011 Obie Award winner for his work A Bright New Boise, which also received a Drama Desk nomination for Best Play. His other works include A Permanent Image, Jack's Precious Moment, Five Genocides, Norway and I Am Montana. The world premiere of The Whale was seen earlier this year at Denver Centre Theatre Company.

The Peter Jay Sharp Theater is located at 416 West 42nd Street. For more information, visit PlaywrightsHorizons.org.