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Celebrating Stephen McKinley Henderson

Stephen McKinley Henderson, acclaimed actor and beloved theater professor at the University at Buffalo will be celebrated next week in UB’s annual Signature Series, which “honors the university’s legacy of distinction and innovation in arts and letters.” Considered one of the definitive interpreters of the work of playwright August Wilson, Henderson was nominated for a Tony Award in 2010 for his Broadway performance in Fences, opposite Denzel Washington and Viola Davis. He recently concluded an extended run off-Broadway in Between Riverside and Crazy, written specifically for him by Stephen Adly Guirgis.

While Henderson is best known for appearances in nearly all of the ten plays in August Wilson’s cycle of works about the lives of African-Americans in 20th-century America, he is most recognized for his performance in Wilson’s Jitney, which received a Drama Desk Award for Best Ensemble and London’s Olivier Award.

In addition to his work in Fences, Henderson also performed opposite Denzel Washington in the 2014 Tony Award-winning Broadway revival of A Raisin in the Sun.

His film work includes appearances in Lincoln, Tower Heist and Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, which was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Picture. On television, he has appeared in HBO’s acclaimed film Everyday People; Law & Order, playing a recurring role as a judge for 15 years; Law & Order: Special Victims Unit; The Newsroom; Law & Order: Criminal Intent; Tyler Perry’s House of Payne; Third Watch; and Blue Bloods. He co-starred in the FOX TV series New Amsterdam and performed in the PBS American Playhouse film production of A Raisin in the Sun, which starred Danny Glover and Esther Rolle.

Henderson joined the UB faculty in 1987. His biography can be found at

As part of the Signature Series celebration, the public is invited to attend the following events:

■ Getting it True: A panel discussion on social conscience in the arts led by UB Associate Professor Jonathan Katz and featuring Henderson, UB faculty members and students.

When: Tuesday, April 14, 3 pm

Where: Mainstage Theatre, Center for the Arts, UB North Campus

Reception to follow, Atrium, Center for the Arts, UB North Campus

■ An Evening with Stephen McKinley Henderson: Join Artvoice theater editor and UB alumnus Anthony Chase for an intimate and candid interview with Henderson, in which he will discuss his storied career as a performer, director and educator.

When: Wednesday, April 15, 7 p.m.

Where: Lippes Concert Hall, Slee Hall, UB North Campus

Reception to follow, Art Gallery, Center for the Arts, UB North Campus

Both events are free and open to the public, but an RSVP is suggested: