Photo of Jim Hesselman

Jim Hesselman M.F.A.

Dean, School of Arts and Letters
Associate Professor of Theatre

Knobview Hall 110N
Phone: (812) 941-2227


Acting I & II, Movement, Directing, Modern Plays for Stage Interpretation, Topics in Theatre, Senior Capstone.

Jim is an actor/director/playwright from Milwaukee, who has made the Kentuckiana area his home for almost thirty years. He received his MFA from the University of Louisville, where he has since taught Musical Theatre and returned to direct productions of Urinetown, and A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum   Jim is a frequent guest director at Circa ’21 Dinner Playhouse in Rock Island, IL, as well as having directed at Theatre West in Los Angeles and Pandora Productions in Louisville.  Since settling in the Louisville area, Jim has acted in, written and/or directed over one hundred and sixty productions at Derby Dinner Playhouse, and been Producing Artistic Director of both the Shawnee Summer Theatre and Music Theatre Louisville for three seasons.  He has written (and had produced), fourteen children’s musicals, a gospel musical called Celebrate, and co-written four gospel musical comedies, Peace In The Valley and Sing Hallelujah! (which broke box office records at Derby Dinner Playhouse) and their sequels.  Jim has provided material and staging for two of Pandora’s Christmas Musicals, and written Dickens at The Galt House, which played for three seasons.  His new comedy, Love, Lies, and The Lottery made its World Premiere this past summer at Circa ’21 Dinner Theatre in Rock Island, IL.  Jim 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.  He spent a year on the 20th Anniversary Tour 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 in 2006 and received a glowing review from New York Theatre Critic, John Simon.  In the spring of 2010 Jim directed and helped create Ms. Meriwether’s one woman show, The Women of Spoon River: Their Voices from the Hill which has since played at Theatre West in Los Angeles, The Gloucester Stage outside of Boston, and New York’s Fringe Festival.  He is currently Associate Professor of Theatre Performance at IU Southeast where he has directed Lend Me A Tenor, The House Of Blue Leaves, Company, The Shadow Box, Godspell, The Boys Next Door, Vanities, Our Town, The Mousetrap, Equus, The Fantasticks, Waiting For Godot, Urinetown, Damn Yankees, Angels In America, Noises Off, and God of Carnage.

Academic Background

  • Masters

    • University of Louiville, Louisville, Kentucky, United States
    • Master of Fine Arts, Major in Theatre

Indiana University Southeast

4201 Grant Line Rd.
New Albany, IN 47150
(812) 941-2333

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