Ken Roht

Portrait | About | C.O.L.A. Project | Past Projects

Ken Roht, theater artist, film artist, opera artist. Even his name is brisk and fluid. I have been a performer in his work for a number of years. I am one of the myriad actors, dancers, and singers he has challenged in deep and boisterous ways. Watching him create a show from the inside is a singular

He enters the rehearsal loose-limbed and warm. Much greeting, and then we are in it. He is pressing us into his wildly diverse imagination, translating every gesture and note onto us. I have seen him watching us all on the stage with his eyes cast down. Here is a perfect meld of vision and execution. He is watching his imagination and us at the same time. We are being raised into a creation of feeling and originality. He sees each body individually and then asks for precise unison in shapes and sounds.

There is a kind of churning pleasure, torrents of color and sound and texture.

Ken moves sometimes as many as fifty performers around a stage. About halfway through the rehearsal period, he starts to put in details that give his shows the exuberance, the luxurious fullness for which he is so celebrated. Rehearsals are beautifully planned and precise as he begins to lay in raucous bits, touching duets and quintets, and surprising full-cast anthems. There is the force of rock and tenderness. His dances are ingenious. Bodies swing around a stage to sophisticated rhythms.

Audiences don’t try to hold on to the outside world. If you stop to ask who or what, you may miss the spectacular onslaught. In his quieter pieces too, his operas, you soon give over to the depth of feeling in the relationships. There is rhythm in all his silences. There is rhythm everywhere as Ken dismantles any definition you may have of him. His is a powerful and outright original creative impulse.

The expressive force of movement fills the space. The perfect use of time. Eloquence redefined. This is a new language of small incidents layered into big moving pictures. Abstraction moves and sounds around the stage. The evening will be far beyond people’s expectations. Which is why they flock to a Ken Roht show.

Ken’s extensive knowledge of performing arts and stagecraft comes from his early years as an actor and as a song-and-dance man in musical entertainments as well as in the experimental works of Reza Abdoh, Bill Viola, and Paul McCarthy. As a soaring tenor soloist, he has sung for important composers such as Fredric Myrow, John Eaton, and O-Lan Jones.

He is a stunning performer in song, in dance, in song and dance. Now, unencumbered by casts and commercial demands, he will make a one man show. This objet d’art. Ken Roht.
— Sissy Boyd