Ken was cast in his first professional musical at the age of 16 in Berkeley California. ‘Look what a Wonder’ starring the legendary folk singer Odetta.
Less then one year later, he became the youngest cast member in a show called’ Evolution of the Blues’ written and occasionally performed by Mr. Jon Hendricks.
It was a celebration of the history of Jazz in America, which performed an unprecedented 5 years at the Broadway Theater in San Francisco CA.
This was his introduction to Show Business.
He performed the show with both Mr. Hendricks and his replacement Harold Nicholas of the famous MGM dance, duo the Nicholas brothers.
With a natural raw talent and skills taught him by some of the worlds great entertainers he was encouraged to move to New York City where he enjoyed a 20-year career performing in original casts of some of the Biggest Hit shows in Broadway’s History.
Ken has originated leading roles in the Broadway companies of Cats’ 1982 (Grammy Award winning Broadway cast album)
‘Starlight Express’ 1987 ‘Dangerous Games’ 1989,
‘Jelly’s last Jam’ 1992 co-starring opposite the late Great
‘Gregory Hines’, ‘Smokey Joe’s Café’ from 1995-2000
(Grammy Award winning Broadway cast album).
Ken was nominated for a 1995 NAACP Award for his role in ‘Smokey Joe’s Café’
Having recorded two Grammy winning musical soundtrack albums (Smokey’s and Cats), Ken is a voting member of the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences.
As an artist, he was the lead voice and co-writer for the underground House music group Wet Dreams, on Universal’s cutting edge label, Twisted records. In reviewing their debut release, "Rain" Larry Flick of Billboard Magazine raved," Soulful star-powered vocals!"
The subsequent single "Sunrise" was received with international critical acclaim and, by the end of its first week in the stores, was among the Top 40 selling records in America (Billboard Maxi Singles).
In 1999 Ken Ard’s image became as recognizable as his voice, after modeling underwear for the national print ad campaign, LET ‘EM KNOW YOU’RE JOCKEY; The launch was a brilliant New York media stunt, where Grey Advertising unveiled a thirty by seventy foot billboard perched high above Time Square.
Ken’s celebrated charisma has been intensified over the years by playing principle parts opposite notably accomplished entertainment icons, such as: Anthony Quinn in the European cult film, Seven Servants: Patti Labelle in Geoffrey Holder’s revival of House of Flowers: and, Gregory Hines in George C Wolfe’s Broadway musical smash hit, Jelly’s Last Jam.
Ken has also shared the stage with entertainers such as Gladys Knight, Gloria Gaynor, folk music legend Odetta, Harold Nicolas of the famed MGM dancing duo The Nicolas Brothers, Jon Hendricks of Lamberts Hendricks and Ross, Lou Rawls, Ben E. King and countless others.
Throughout his career, Ken has had the honor of performing for such dignitaries as the Royal Family of Morocco, Presidents Bush, Clinton, and President Nazarbaev of Kazakhstan.
His most recent appearance was in the star-studded ensemble cast of the 2002 Best Picture Oscar winning cinematic version of Chicago for Miramax Pictures, staring Renee Zellweger and Catherine Zeta-Jones.