As the temporary shutdown of Broadway and theatres around the world continues, Playbill is reaching out to some of our favorite artists to see how they are coping with the self-isolation on a daily basis, both physically and creatively.
The series continues with Shuler Hensley, who won Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, and Olivier Awards for his powerful turn as Jud Fry in Trevor Nunn's revival of Oklahoma!. He also starred on Broadway as Tom Kettle in The Ferryman, Briggs and Pozzo, respectively, in the repertory productions of No Man's Land and Waiting for Godot, Javert in Les Misérables, The Monster in Young Frankenstein, and Kerchak in Tarzan, while his Off-Broadway credits include The Whale (Lucille Lortel and Obie Awards), Sweet Charity, That Hopey Changey Thing, The Great Trailer Park Musical, and Sweet and Sad (Drama Desk and Obie Awards). Hensley is also scheduled to play Marcellus Washburn in the upcoming Broadway revival of The Music Man, joining fellow Tony winners Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster.
What is your typical day like now?
Typical day is waking up on the farm in Georgia and taking a walk with the dogs, trying to learn choreography from video clips sent to me, sneaking in to Zoom acting classes that my daughter is taking, and FaceTiming with friends I haven’t spoken to in quite a while.
What book/TV show/podcast/film should everyone take the time to consume during this period?
I recommend Ozark and Servant for binge-watching, lesser-known films like The Legend of 1900 and A Ghost Story, and documentaries like Bathtubs Over Broadway and 13th.
What advice would you give to someone who may be struggling with the isolation?
Remember all the things you’ve wanted to do/try but didn’t have the time for? Ta-da! No more excuses.
How are you keeping your creative juices flowing?
Creatively, I am trying to write down thoughts, script/story ideas, internal monologues, melodies, etc. Writing it all down without judgment! This is a time to allow things to just flow. No other reason than to express yourself artistically! Start with pure stillness and then listen to the voices that surface.
Are you working on any theatrical projects during this time?
I am preparing for a few future projects that are coming up in the fall. But also staying connected with the present moment, knowing that it is really the only thing that is certain.