Kenneth L. Roberson

College Faculty:
Related Voice Studies: Movement Skills

Kenneth comes to MSM after six years as Professor of Practice at Indiana University, Department of Theatre, Drama and Contemporary Dance.

He is a veteran director/choreography/performer. He choreographed the Tony Award winner for Best Musical, Avenue Q, (Drama Desk nomination best choreography) directed by Jason More. Also, for Broadway he choreographed All Shook Up, directed by Chris Ashely, and Purlie which Sheldon Epps directed.

New York City Off-Broadway Theatre credits in choreography include: A Boy and His Soul at the Vineyard Theatre written by and starring Colman Domingo (2011 Lucille Lortel Nomination outstanding choreography); Insurrection at the Public Theater, directed, and written by, Robert O’Hara; Playwrights Horizons’ Avenue X directed by Mark Brokaw; the Roundabout Theatres’ production of Paula Vogel’s Mineola Twins; Manhattan Theatre Club’s Drowning Crow; two production at the Apollo Theater are George C. Wolfe’s Harlem Song (Lucille Lortel and Drama Desk Nominations best choreography), and as director/choreographer for Wycliff Gordon’s Jazz a La Carte, featuring Maurice Hines and Savion Glover.

He has worked extensively outside of New York City in some of America’s most notable regional theaters. A short list of these theatres includes: the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, where directed and choreographed, A Brief History of White Music, and Spunk; The Arena Stage, in Washington, D.C. where he Choreographed Guys and Dolls, directed by Charles Randolph-Wright, starring Maurice Hines; Thunder Knocking On The Door, directed Keith Glover. Also, at the Arena Stage, he served as director/choreographer for Ain’t Misbehavin’, and Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill. At Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre he directed and choreographed Ethel, and choregraphed the world premiere of The Color Purple, there. At Marriott Lincolnshire, in Chicago, he choreographed Ragtime (2017), directed by Nick Bowling. Kenneth served as director/choreographer for Nina Simone: Four Women, at Chicago’s Northlight Theatre (2018), and Merrimack Repertory Theatre (2019), in Merrimack, Massachusetts, and he choreographed Oo Bla Dee (2019), directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson for Two River Theater, in Red Bank, New Jersey.

During his six-year tenure at Indiana University, he was happy to direct, Into the Woods, and The Drowsy Chaperone, and to direct and choreography Sweet Charity, Pippin, and Dames at Sea.

Expanding to other performance media, his choreography has been represented on John Leguizamo’s House of Buggin’ Fox TV, which garnered him a Primetime Emmy Nomination, and was one of two choreographers on HBO’s Lackawanna Blues.

Having a lifetime interest in the American black cultural experience, he was lucky enough to perform in shows tailor made to answer the questions about black vernacular dance that the history books could not. These shows, were heavily populated with black veteran performers who were eager to share their performance stories with him. The productions of Broadway’s Black and Blue, Jelly’s Last Jam, and concert dance company Ballet Tap USA, founders, Mercedes Ellington, Maurice and Gregory Hines, were such shows. Kenneth, is dedicated to sharing what he’d learned from those rarely recognized heroes of jazz dance. Therefore, by way of his dance workshops on the African American Vernacular of Social and Theatre Dance, he is able to do so. These workshops have been presented worldwide at venues in: Osaka, Japan; Salvador Bahai, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Stuttgart, Germany; and Barcelona, Spain. Also, stateside at Smith College, New York University, Texas State, Spelman College, Merrimack Community College, and the Alvin Ailey Dance Center.

Kenneth works on shows of all sizes and one person shows have been a big part of his career. His experience, with actors, in creating musical staging for their solo performances in commercial theater is extensive, some of these actors are, John Leguizamo, Colman Domingo, Dael Orlandersmith, Loretta Swit, LaChanze, and Doug McGrath. A solo performance artist and writer, in his own right, Kenneth’s one person shows I Think Therefore I Is, Middle Aged Passage Crisis, and Change Changes Things, have garnered a NYC cult following and have been presented in New York City at, Joe’s Pub, Home Theater, the Public Theater, the Triad Theater, and Baltimore Center Stage, in Baltimore Maryland. Having been immersed in the world of solo shows, he has created, and taught a course designed to guide actors in the development of their own performance piece.

Kenneth studied at Alvin Ailey American Dance Center and is a graduate of the University of Georgia’s Henry Grady School of Journalism.