By Mik Hyldebrandt and Artis Olds
The international dance and percussion show sensation STOMP! performs at the Fox Theatre on April 6 and 7 (tickets at foxtheatre.org). Peach spoke to one of the show’s talented performers, Artis Olds (@Artis.The.Artist), about why the show is still going strong after nearly 25 years.
Why do you think STOMP! it is still so wildly popular?
I think the answer is actually quite simple. Yes, we are doing some rather unique things with everyday objects while making beautiful music but, the show allows people to see themselves on stage. Life happens to all of us, and as performers, we get up there and portray characters in situations. It’s more of a journey, and at some point, everyone in the audience can identify with what they see on stage.
Is there a lot of pressure to perform this show to a certain standard?
The creators of the show, Luke Cresswell, and Steve McNicholas, had a great vision and the original cast brought that vision to life. So, there is a tremendous responsibility, but I wouldn’t define it as pressure. It’s more like an honor. Hopefully, we can keep this amazing ride going for another 25 years!
This is a BIG production – how much time goes into rehearsing?
This show is very real. We don’t use modified props; everything is functional. So, if it looks dangerous the potential for it to be dangerous certainly exists. With that in mind, being well-rehearsed is vital. After training to learn the show, which takes 4-6 weeks; 8-9 hours a day; 5 days a week, we typically rehearse about an hour a day, on any day that we have a show.
How physically strenuous is the show?
The show itself has plenty cause for physicality; some roles more than others. If you couple that with the “joys” of tour travel, it can take a toll. Personally, I think physical conditioning outside of the show is an absolute must!
What can the audience expect of the STOMP! show in Atlanta at the Fox?
You should expect to leave the Fox Theatre and see music all around you! We’re going to have a great time, and I hope to see you there!
Have you performed in Atlanta before? How do you like Atlanta?
I have; several times, actually! I wasn’t with STOMP at the time, but I do recall having VERY energetic crowds. We love that! Atlanta is an amazing city, and I’m looking forward to returning. I hope we get to come back and perform for an even longer stay, soon. Fingers crossed!
STOMP! sets a wildly different example of what a dance/Broadway show could be – what do you think the legacy of STOMP! is?
We’ve been going for nearly 25 years, changing the scope of what live theater is “supposed to be.” STOMP’s legacy in short: We’re kinda dancers. We’re kinda musicians. We’re kinda actors. We’re kinda awesome! And we hope you keep STOMPING with us!
What’s next for STOMP!?
We have about six weeks left on this tour, but you can always catch us, year-round, at The Orpheum Theater in New York City! For more information, visit us a www.stomponline.com.