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Broadway, TV, movies, oh my! Henderson receives his star in Buffalo's Theater District

WBFO's Mike Desmond

There is another star on the Theater District's Plaza of Stars. Stephen McKinley Henderson, an award-winning actor on stage, screen and Broadway and a recently retired University at Buffalo faculty member has been recognized.

The event was held Monday because Henderson is on Broadway in "A Doll's House, Part 2," the sequel to the Ibsen play, and was off for the day. He is familiar to many television watchers for his roles on "Law and Order," especially as judges.

He has major awards for Broadway shows, especially for his work with the plays of August Wilson. He also has an Academy Award nomination for his role in "Fences" with Denzel Washington. Longtime UB faculty member Anna Kay France said he was a fine teacher with the credibility of his work on Wilson plays and other performances.

"He made a foray into musicals with 'Dracula: The Musical,'" she said. "Off-Broadway, playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis wrote 'Between Riverside and Crazy' specifically for Stephen to star in. The play won a Pulitzer Prize. Steve won an Obie for best actor in an off-Broadway play."

His movie roles range from "Lincoln" for Steven Spielberg to "Red Hook Summer" for Spike Lee. Henderson reminded the crowd of his time on the stage of the 710 Theater, once the Studio Arena Theatre.

"So many memories in this theater here, working with actors who strutted and fretted their hour upon the stage. So they're a part of this," Henderson said. "Some of the stories that can't be told about what happened in Ray Flynn's bar. That's a part of the star. That's part of the memories and part of the love."

Credit WBFO's Mike Desmond

Henderson said what made him come to UB and make this the basis of his career was a production of "Antigone," directed by Saul Elkin and featuring Chris O'Neill and Lorna Hill.

"Chris was in that production and it's interesting for me that I knew that Buffalo was a world-class theater city and I had no doubts about it and it still is," he said. "And so I want to thank you, to the world-class artists and craftsmen and patrons. Buffalo has the greatest fans for the team and for the theater."

Henderson's star can be found in front of the 710 Theater. The unveiling of the star kicked off the fall's opening of the theater season, leading up to Friday's Curtain Up! on the same section of Main Street as the Plaza of Stars.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.