Tony Winner Shuler Hensley Is 600-Pound Man in NYC Premiere of The Whale, Beginning Oct. 12

By Kenneth Jones
October 12, 2012

Shuler Hensley, who won a Tony Award for playing brooding Jud Fry in Oklahoma!, stars in the New York City 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, helms the Playwrights production, which is scheduled for a run through Dec. 2. Opening night is Nov. 5.

Hensley (Young Frankenstein, Tarzan) is 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 play: "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 Whale had its world premiere earlier this year in production by Denver Center Theatre Company.

The PH production team includes scenic designer Mimi Lien, costume designer Jessica Pabst, lighting designer Jane Cox and sound designer Fitz Patton. Production stage manager is Alaina Taylor.

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