101 Stories: Kenny Allan Smith

By The Children's Theatre

Celebrate TCT’s 101st season as it comes to a close as we applaud and appreciate those who contributed to the organization’s magic throughout our century-long journey.  During 10 weeks of recognition, we honor individuals who have been instrumental in the success of TCT, and who have not only helped TCT grow in mission, but also thrive, thanks to their passion.  It is these people and their moments in our history that shaped TCT to become what it is today. We encourage you to consider giving a gift in their honor to ensure the sustainability of TCT’s mission for the next 100+ years. 

Kenny Allan Smith

Kenny Allan Smith grew up in the church and started taking piano lessons at the age of seven. He attended Cincinnati’s School for the Creative and Performing Arts, and the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music as Music Education Major with Concentration in Jazz Voice.

Mr. Smith is the founder and director of Kenny Smith’s Peace & Serenity, a gospel group that he formed 37 years ago in Cincinnati, which now also has a branch in New York City. 

Mr. Smith appeared on many television shows, including NBC’s Clash of the Choirs with Nick Lachey’s award-winning choir, Team Lachey. He has also appeared with Lady Peachena and The Late Show’s Gospel Choir with Canadian artist Shawn Mendez on The Late Show with host David Letterman, on Jimmy Kimmel Live! with 30 Seconds to Mars, as well as on The Today Show and Good Morning America.

Stage productions include: AIN’T MISBEHAVIN (Ken), THE WIZ (Tinman), THE BOYFRIEND (Tony), BYE BYE BIRDIE (Mr. MacAfee), PORGY AND BESS, SWEENEY TODD, GUYS AND DOLLS, THE PAJAMA GAME, CAROUSEL, OLIVER, THE KING AND I, JERRY SPRINGER THE OPERA and QUEENIE PIE. Mr. Smith has also performed on the Showboat Majestic, and with Cincinnati Opera in MARGARET GARNER.

Mr. Smith produced, directed, staged, and choreographed Ain’t Misbehavin’ at The World Famous Cotton Club in New York City where he is in residence.

Mr. Smith first became involved with The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati as the accompanist for TCT’s STAR Intensive NKU Program in 2007.  He says: 

“At this camp, I was able to watch the professionalism of both the children who were training at Broadway-level rigor, and the professionalism of the staff as they brought out the best in these kids. This speaks volumes about their mission of training and development.”

He continues: “After that summer, I auditioned for TCT’s MainStage production of DISNEY’S MULAN JR. and was cast as the “Ancestor of Strength.” This was a great show and a great experience for me! I miss performing at TCT and the joy that comes with live performance. To be on stage, and look out to see these children’s faces in the audience was amazing. They are so innocent and, to them, they believe that these shows are real worlds. I remember my God-daughter coming up to me after seeing Mulan, and asking if I was really “The Ancestor of Strength” or if I was Kenny! These shows remind them that dreams do come true, and it brings me so much joy to see that bring excitement in their eyes.”

Would you honor Kenny Allan Smith with a gift to recognize the impact made on TCT?