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Charlie Hensley: Biography

Charlie Hensley is celebrating over thirty years in the professional theatre.
A longtime member of Actors' Equity and the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, he has produced, directed or appeared in over 150 productions across America.

Hensley's work as associate director of Philadelphia's Walnut Street Theatre brought widespread acclaim for Larry Kramer's The Normal Heart, Twelfth Night, She Also Dances, and Michel Tremblay's Hosanna, which later enjoyed a lengthy run off-Broadway. Regional favorites include Broadway Bound and The Sea Horse at the Alliance Theatre, A Streetcar Named Desire and The Last Night of Ballyhoo at Syracuse Stage, Golf with Alan Shepard at Studio Arena, and musical revues at the Charles Playhouse in Boston.

As both a producer and a director, Mr. Hensley has long been committed to the development of new work. For many years he enjoyed a creative relationship with playwright Lanie Robertson, and directed premiere or early productions of Nobody Lonesome for Me, A Penny for the Guy and Alfred Stieglitz Loves O'Keeffe. He has also been a producer of Robertson's Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill and Nasty Little Secrets.

Charlie also worked on the development of Snapshots, the revue of music by Stephen Schwartz, and guided the world premiere featuring Cass Morgan and Julia Murney. Among other favorite projects are two by playwright Laurence Carr: Vaudeville, which he has directed and produced, and Climbing Tiger Mountain, the new play about General Douglas MacArthur's life.

At Virginia Stage Company, where he was artistic director for over a decade, he directed Hamlet, Othello, The Glass Menagerie, Dinner with Friends, A Perfect Ganesh, Sea Marks, The Lonesome West, A Delicate Balance, and Falsettos, among many others. Artists appearing at VSC during his tenure included Jean Stapleton, Paul Winfield, Ralph Waite, Leslie Uggams, Van Johnson, Ron Leibman, Jessica Walter, Betsy Palmer, Rosemary Prinz, Eileen Brennan and Barbara McNair.

He is also known for his work in New York at the Manhattan Class Company, where he directed the premiere of Unabridged, and at Pulse Ensemble Theatre, where he staged the premiere of Buttercup.

As an actor, he has played a wide range of roles, from Jane and Edgar in The Mystery of Irma Vep to George in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?. He has appeared as Andrew Wyke in Sleuth, Turai in Rough Crossing, Sherlock Holmes in The Crime of the Century, in Othello with Paul Winfield and Richard Dreyfuss, A History of the American Film with Jean Smart, Loose Ends with Jamey Sheridan, Noises Off with Millicent Martin, and A Christmas Carol with Gary Beach and Debbie Gibson, among many others.

He received the Weaver Award for Drama. His work has taken him to Japan, Korea, and the Philippines, as well as Vienna, where he created the role of John Tittle in the world premiere of A Good Man at the Wiener Kammeroper.

Formerly on the staff of the United Nations in New York, Hensley studied
at the University of North Carolina and abroad. In 2010, he was awarded a B.A. in Theatre Arts from Empire State College in Manhattan. He trained with Kristin Linklater, and has taught and lectured on acting, directing, voice and professional practices at Austria's Vienna Center for the Performing Arts, University of Alabama, Old Dominion University, and for training programs at the Alliance and Walnut Street Theatres.

In 1999, he became a student of the Kita school of Japanese Noh theatre under the guidance of the internationally renowned artists Akira Matsui and Richard Emmert. His chronicle of this experience appeared in American Theatre magazine.