Founder, Artistic Director
William’s acting career began in 1972 at the Theatre Guild of Webster Groves—where his dad had acted in the mid-60s—in a performance of South Pacific, in which he had a horrible case of stage fright, refused to sing and choose instead to dance behind the curtain. Twenty years later, after a six-year stint in the Marines and other distractions, he moved back to St. Louis from California and performed in a student-directed one-act festival at the University of Missouri-St Louis. He then returned to the Theatre Guild of Webster Groves to get his picture on the wall with his father, playing Clive in Alan Ayckbourn’s Season's Greetings.
William spent six years with the Orthwein Theatre Company, appearing in several shows, including The Grapes of Wrath, Our Town, ER, Emergency Room and Harvey; directing Cantrell (chosen as one of the year’s best by the Riverfront Times) and Kafka’s Metamorphoses.
Over the past 20 years he has appeared in countless Shakespeare productions, including: Julius Caesar, Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello, Comedy of Errors, Titus Andronicus, Cymbeline, As You Like It, Romeo and Juliet, Richard III, The Winter’s Tale, King Lear, Troilus and Cressida and Antony and Cleopatra.
William has appeared on many other stages as well, including The Classic Theater Company, River City Players, Magic Smoking Monkey, Midnight Productions, the Goldenrod Showboat, the International Hemmingway Festival, HotHouse Theatre, Muddy Waters, and the American Ballet Theatre’s run of Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet at the Fox Theatre.
For STLAS, he starred as Sir Thomas More in A Man for All Seasons, Bill in the world premiere of Neil LaBute's Here we go 'Round The Mulberry Bush, George in Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf with Kari Ely (Critic's Circle Award Best Play, Critic's Circle Award Nomination Best Actor), Teach in David Mamet's American Buffalo (Critic's Circle Award Nomination Best Play) , Charlie in Tracy Lett's August: Osage County.(Winner Best Supporting Actor Comedy-Broadway World) and as Mervyn in Martin McDonagh's A Behanding in Spokane (Theater Circle Award Nominee-Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy) and most recently as Horace in Lillian Hellman's classic, The Little Foxes. Visit www.wmroth.com
In addition to founding St. Louis Actors’ Studio, William developed The Gaslight Theater in historic Gaslight Square.