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  • Writer's pictureAnthony Chase

Stephen McKinley Henderson Named to Theater Hall of Fame

His name will be inscribed in the rotunda of Broadway's Gershwin Theatre

Henderson at the Plaza of Stars induction of Roslyn Ruff last year

The Theater Hall of Fame Inc. announced its 2024 inductees on Monday, and they include Buffalo’s Stephen McKinley Henderson.  One of the definitive (and original) interpreters of the work of August Wilson, Henderson made his Broadway debut as Stool Pigeon in Wilson's King Hedley II in 2001, and later earned Tony Award nominations for his performance as Jim Bono in Wilson's Fences in 2010 and as Pops in Stephen Adly Guirgis’s Pulitzer Prize winning play Between Riverside and Crazy, a role written specifically for him in 2023.


His other Broadway appearances include A Doll’s House, Part 2 (Torvald) in 2017; A Raisin in the Sun (Bobo) in 2014; Dracula, the Musical (Abraham Van Helsing) in 2004; Drowning Crow (Sammy Bow) in 2004; and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Slow Drag) in 2003.


While induction in the Theater Hall of Fame recognizes his work on stage, Henderson has also enjoyed a distinguished film career, including his performance as Abraham Lincoln’s valet, William Slade in Steven Spielberg’s 2012 film, Lincoln, and his recreation of his Broadway performance for the film version of Fences in 2016 starring Denzel Washington. His other film roles Manchester by the Sea (2016); Lady Bird (2017); Dune (2021); and Causeway (2022).


Locally, Henderson received the Artie Award for Outstanding Actor in a Play for his performance in Fences back in 1991, the very first year of the Arties; an Artie Citation for his performance in Jitney in 1999, and the Artie for Career Achievement in 2002. He received a star in the Buffalo Plaza of Stars from the Theatre District Association in 2017.  


Born and raised in Kansas City, Mo., Henderson was a member of Juilliard Group I. He graduated from the North Carolina School of the Arts.  He still resides in Western New York with his wife of nearly 50 years, Pam.


Others in this year’s group of Theatre Hall of Fame inductees are: actors Elizabeth Ashley, Boyd Gaines, and Donna Murphy; actor and playwright Charles Busch; composer William Finn; playwright David Rabe; and, posthumously, producer Todd Haimes.


Founded in 1970 by James M. NederlanderEarl Blackwell, and Gerard Oestreicher, the Theatre Hall of Fame honors eight theatre professionals annually for lifetime achievement, selected by past Hall of Fame inductees as well as by members of the American Theater Critics Association. The induction ceremony will take place at the Gershwin Theatre on Broadway in November. 

Below find some photo memories of Steve....


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