Hank began his Strawdog Journey as an audience member at Season 12’s Measure for Measure in 2000.
Through many social and artistic connections, Hank was invited to begin working with Strawdog as a playwright and his first collaboration was the Season 17’s epic musical The True Ballad of Fall’s Blessings, written in collaboration with Strawdog Theatre Company, which premiered in 2005 and was directed by Nic Dimond.
In season 18 he contributed“The Adventures of the Glenwood Springs Kid: The War Mask of El Dorado,” directed by Gregor Mortis, to Wireless Program Four. In season 19 he was the author of Strawdog Radio Theatre Six: A Many-Splendored Thing, directed by Jennifer Avery.
In 2006, Nic Dimond asked Hank to develop a writing initiative for the Strawdog Ensemble. This led to the creation of the modestly known Hit Factory! Many years of graduation productions, evenings of The Hit Factory Presents, and work created and produced by former Hit Factory participants are evidence that Strawdog continues to be committed to generating new work and strengthening the working relationships between Strawdog and other members of the Chicago Theatre Community.
In 2008 Hank was asked to join the Strawdog ensemble.
Less than a year later he took the position of Managing Director and remained in that position until 2011. In that time he helped to produce seasons 22 and 23 including Uncle Vanya, The Good Soul of Szechuan, and The Master & Margarita.
In November 2012 Hank began as Interim Artistic Director, dropping the ‘interim’ in 2014, and continuing as Artistic Director until July of 2016. In those four years he collaborated in programing and producing fourteen productions on the Strawdog Mainstage, as well as shepherding over a dozen shows that comprised the expanded programming in Strawdog’s Hugan Hall Space. He was instrumental in expanding Strawdog’s programming to an eight show season, and more than doubling Strawdog’s annual attendance.
A champion of new work, in his time as Artistic Director the company produced Miss Marx by Philip Dawkins and directed by Megan Schuchman (Jeff award for Best New Work); Sweeter Option by John Henry Roberts and directed by Marti Lyons, the National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere of In A Word by Lauren Yee and directed by Jessica McLeod, and the World Premiere of Distance by Jerre Dye and directed by Erica Weiss. Additionally during his tenure the company set box office records with productions of Great Expectations in 2013 and its remount in 2014, After Miss Julie in 2015, and the final production in Strawdog’s longtime home at 3829 North Broadway, Once In A Lifetime in 2016.
While you may not have seen them, he has a particular fondness for the productions Charles Ives Take Me Home, The Long Christmas Ride Home, and With Love & A Major Organ and cherishes his time as director and co-producer of Strawdog’s popular late night offering Theatre Wars!
He continues to play an active role in the company as an ensemble member.
In his life outside of Strawdog, Hank was born in Green Bay, Wisconsin, raised in Pensacola, Florida, and has lived in Chicago since 1990. He attended Florida State University, Pensacola Junior College, has taken writing workshops at Second City, and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Film from Columbia College in Chicago. He has been an adjunct faculty member in the Film Department of Columbia College Chicago since 2004, where he teaches a variety of screenwriting classes. In 2014 he earned his MFA in Playwriting and Creative Writing from Louisville’s Spalding University Low-Residency MFA Program.
His writings include numerous pieces at Strawdog and various other scripts and commissions, as well as co-authoring four musical comedies that have been produced around the world over the last twenty-five years.