On Improv and Music | An Interview with Actor Dennis Kozeluh

Veteran actor Dennis Kozeluh on improvisation and musical entertainment.

“I didn’t think I’d spend my life on stage, but I have!”, Dennis Kozeluh laughs, an easy smile on his face. Part of the noted local improv group The English Lovers for 20 years, his voice is warm and vibrant, the dark wooden table he keeps knocking on to punctuate his sentences resonating as he speaks. Animated and lively, Kozeluh uses his entire body to communicate, especially when talking about improvisational theater. “Everybody has specific roles, some of those are more driving, some support that, others resent being told where the story is going – it’s the dynamic of our group. I’d say I am the diplomatic glue… I, too, have strong ideas about where I think the story needs to go but if it doesn’t jive with the other person’s, I try to make theirs better.”

He’s certainly had ample practice: The English Lovers have put on late night improv shows at the Theater Drachengasse since 1999, with occasional bigger shows in larger venues like Vienna’s English Theatre. In addition, he had the fortune to learn from some of the best, including Keith Johnstone, the legendary creator of the influential Theatresports: “It was a watershed moment because… [Johnstone] reduced it to a physical level, people might laugh for the wrong reasons, but nothing can happen to you. That’s an important ability, learning to love to fail. Get up and do it again, and every time you do, you’d be freer the next time.”

Yet Kozeluh is a singer first and foremost, coming to Vienna from Montana in 1983 to pursue a degree in music, studying under Otto Edelmann and enrolling at the Hochschule für Musik. Roles in musical and conventional theater soon followed, including The Phantom Of The Opera, Elisabeth and, most recently, Bodyguard.

Also delving into television and film, his eclectic career is coming full circle with his upcoming concert, Songs In The Key Of HA! on “the only date in the year that gives a command,” March fourth. He values lyricism, citing singer-songwriters like James Taylor and Hoagy Carmichael. His repertoire includes humorous ditties from Kozeluh’s childhood as well as tongue-incheek ballads both bittersweet and droll.

Interestingly, improvisational theater has benefitted him elsewhere in his career, including his music: “Musical performers are accustomed to having every move set out in rehearsals, but if you break the spirit of improvisation into a normal rehearsal, [you] offer authenticity, spontaneity and believability. They see you in a whole new light, as more of a collaborator and less of a minion accepting your role and waiting. Theater is not about waiting, theater is about moving forward.” And marching fourth.

Songs in the Key of HA! Mar 4, 20:00, Theater Drachengasse, 1., Fleischmarkt 22. drachengasse.at

The English Lovers’ Late Night Theatre Jam Mar 9 & 23, 22:30, Theater Drachengasse.

The English Lovers at Vienna’s English Theatre Mar 22-24, 19:30, Vienna’s English Theatre. 8., Josefsgasse 12. englishtheatre.at

Mahnoor Jalal
A Pakistani raised in Vienna, Mahnoor is currently pursuing a degree in Physics. In addition to her scientific inclination, she has an avid interest in media with experience in graphic design and podcast production. She enjoys creative writing and music, particularly singing.

Help us help you

“Strong media and independent journalism are built on the shoulders of subscribers. Your support means the world to us.

Benjamin Wolf
COO & Managing Editor

The coronavirus outbreak affects and challenges your life in big and small ways. Metropole is here for you and we are proud to be your news source during this crisis.

But just as the coronavirus has increased the need for independent journalism, it has also undercut a major revenue source of media companies, ours included – advertising.

We need your support to keep it up – donate or subscribe and #helpushelpyou!

Support Metropole!


RECENT Articles

Enforcement of Mask Rules by U-Bahn Security Triggers Accusations of Racism

A routine intervention by Wiener Linien staff escalated into alleged use of excessive force; feelings run high while body-cam evidence may prove critical.

How Coronavirus Is Affecting Austria’s Neighbors

Here’s how European countries are managing the second wave of COVID-19 – including statistics, measures and an analysis of the current situation.

Coronavirus in Austria & Vienna | Second Lockdown Sweeps Across Europe

The coronavirus has arrived in Austria. Here’s all you need to know about current measures, including where to get help, information and tips – updated regularly.

Metropole’s 10 Films to Watch At the Viennale 2020

Austria’s premier film festival enters the pandemic age with extra screens and a great selection of world cinema.

Hold the Line

With cases skyrocketing again in Europe, it is time to remember the advice a public health expert gave us in April: The virus is unforgiving to unwise choices.

Facing the Closed-Door Topic of Migrants and Sexual Assault

While most crime is down, alarming increases in violence against women, often by recent migrants, increases the pressure on efforts to support successful integration.


Join over 5,000 Metropolitans, who already get monthly news updates and event invitations.