About Henry

Henry Bial has more than twenty years of experience in theatre and performance studies as a scholar, teacher, and leader. He holds a PhD from New York University and a BA from Harvard University.

As a scholar, Henry’s primary focus is the intersection of religion and popular entertainment, as illustrated in his books Acting Jewish and Playing God. He has been interviewed as an expert by various media outlets including TMZ Live, NPR’s Morning Edition, CBC Radio’s Day 6, the Jewish Telegraph Agency, the Huffington Post, the New York Jewish Week, the Los Angeles Times, and Brazil’s Folha de S. Paolo. He is also considered a leading authority on the methodology and intellectual history of theatre and performance studies, as reflected in the collections Theater Historiography and The Performance Studies Reader, now in its third edition.

Since 1997, Henry has taught a wide range of subjects in theatre, dance, film, American Studies, and Jewish studies at New York University, the University of New Mexico, and (since 2005) at the University of Kansas, where he currently serves as Chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance. He is a past president of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) and has held numerous other leadership posts.

In addition to his scholarly pursuits, Henry has worked in a variety of capacities — director, performer, designer, playwright, dramaturg, and lighting operator — in university and professional theatres in New York, Kansas City, Boston, Minneapolis, and Albuquerque. He last appeared onstage as Herr Schultz in the Kansas University Theatre’s production of Cabaret (April 2023).

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