In the late 1950s, Boehlke and classmates took over an abandoned barn to produce two seasons of summer theater. After a short stint at the University of Minnesota (during which he received the award for best undergraduate actor), Boehlke joined the army and left Minnesota. Stationed in Berlin, he continued to act, entertaining his fellow soldiers with plays and staged readings. In the early 1960s, Boehlke's post-army touring company, "Theatre on the Road", traveled in an old Volkswagen car and a pickup truck, bringing contemporary and classic plays to venues throughout the Midwest.
Brimming over with creative energy and social revolution, the troupe predated a revitalization of American theater that would sweep the country that decade. In 1965, Boehlke, helped formed the critical mass for what would become the Children's Theatre Company. He played a key role in making CTC the nation's leading theater for youth. Boehlke played dozens of roles there that have defined his reputation as a brilliant actor.
In 1991, Boehlke started the Jungle Theater in a 99-seat makeshift space at Lake and Lyndale in Minneapolis. Today, the Jungle is a 150-seat theater regarded as one of the Twin Cities' best and is credited with reviving the economic fortunes of the Lyn-Lake neighborhood. Boehlke was honored as the McKnight Foundation's Distinguished Artist in 2009. In 2011, Boehlke received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 7th Annual Ivey Awards.McKnight Distinguished Artist Award Book