Grey Henson Takes Broadway Center Stage

Stratford has a second star on Broadway.

Grey Henson, Class of 2008, took center stage last month as Elder McKinley, one of the lead roles in the “Book of Mormon.”

Henson joined the Broadway production, which is playing at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre, after working with the “Book of Mormon’s” national touring company since Aug. 2012.

Henson becomes the second Stratford alumnus to star on the Great White Way in recent years.  F. Michael Haynie, Class of 2004, played the role of Boq in Wicked from Sept. 2012 to June 2013.

“It was so thrilling and surprising and shocking,”  Henson said of landing a spot in the Broadway cast.  “The move from the tour to now has been refreshing.”

Henson’s character, Elder McKinley, is a homosexual Mormon missionary who is in denial of his complex emotions.  Broadway.com described McKinley and his repressed identity as a “ticking time bomb.”

“It’s a really physically demanding role,” Henson said.  “We’re lucky because the show is so well written.”

Henson began working with the first national touring company of the “Book of Mormon” immediately after graduating from Carnegie Mellon University in 2012.

Henson said he landed the role after a teacher at Carnegie Mellon got him in contact with Rory O’Malley, who played Elder McKinley in the original Broadway cast of the show.  O’Malley passed along Henson’s paperwork, and after a rigorous audition process, Henson received a call while visiting home in Macon informing him that he had been cast as Elder McKinley in the touring production.

Henson replaced O’Malley in the same role when he moved to the Broadway cast last month.

Stratford Theater Director Ms. Sylvia Haynie said Henson’s extensive background in dance helped prepare him for the role.

“I was so impressed at his dance skills even as a young person and was so proud of him.  Sometimes it’s not easy for a boy to stand against the grain, but he’s an exceptional athlete,” said Haynie, who did not teach Henson at Stratford but is a family friend and was familiar with his early work in the Macon theater community.

Henson said it was not until late in high school that he thought seriously about pursuing acting as a career.

“I always knew I would perform in some way,” Henson said.

Former Stratford Theater Director Mr. Robert Stallworth said he typically tried to discourage students from pursuing a career in the arts due to the high level of competition and difficulties inherent to the career choice.

But Stallworth said Henson was an exception to the rule.

“You’re in the room with somebody that you know will be special,” Stallworth said of Henson.

Henson said that being on Broadway has made him grow as an actor.

“Being on Broadway is like a job that never ends,” Henson said. “You get to take on so many different roles and adventures.”