School of Arts and Letters

Faculty Bio

Bio Image James L. Hesselman

James L. Hesselman

Assistant Professor of Theatre / Performance
Phone: (812) 941-2227
Office Location: OG 068

Academic Background

University of Louiville
Louisville, Kentucky
Country: United States
Degree: Master of Fine Arts
Major: Theatre


Jim Hesselman is an actor/director/playwright from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, who has made the Kentuckiana area his home for over twenty years. In that time he received his M.F.A. from the University of Louisville, where he directed last season’s production of Urinetown, and currently teaches a course in Musical Theatre. Jim has acted in, written and/or directed over one hundred and fifty productions at Derby Dinner Playhouse and runs his own Production Company, Theatre Island Productions. He has performed all over the country, including almost two years on the road playing Billy Crocker opposite “Days Of Our Lives” diva Gloria Loring on the National Tour of Anything Goes.

Jim has also been Producing Artistic Director of both the Shawnee Summer Theatre and Music Theatre Louisville and has written fourteen children’s musicals, a gospel musical called Celebrate, and co-written the gospel musical comedies, Peace In The Valley and Sing Hallelujah! which broke box office records at Derby Dinner Playhouse this past September. As an actor, Jim most recently toured in the 20th Anniversary of the original Nunsense starring Kaye Ballard, Lee Meriwether, Georgia Engel, Mimi Hines and Darlene Love. That experience yielded some wonderful friendships and began yet another career turn as an author. His memoir with Ms. Ballard, How I Lost 10 Pounds In 53 Years was published last September and he is currently finishing up work with Lee Meriwether on her biography and a manuscript with television pioneer, I Love Lucy and Bewitched director, William Asher.