BWW Interview: Chicago Native Artis Olds Returns to Stomping Ground for Limited Engagement of STOMP
We take household items and we use them to create music. This show is high-energy, fun, and it really does have something for everyone. If you're someone who believes theater may not be your thing, Stomp might just change your mind.What type of music will we be hearing?
Our music is influenced from Brazil, Africa, and other different cultures. You'll be hearing these sounds through brooms, trash cans and dust pants, but if you close your eyes you wouldn't know it was coming from these items. You only hear music. (I wouldn't suggest closing your eyes though! You'll miss lots!)
Stomp is all about music and movement. How do you manage to tell a story in a way that's much different from many other theater shows?
The music tells the story. It's not a traditional show with a fluid plot, but you have the opportunity to witness characters and situations. I do this show seven times a week and find it hard to put into words. You really have to see it to understand. The music and movement comes together as a beautiful, unique story.
Improvisation is so important. As a performer, it's the best thing in the world. You never want to be constricted. This show allows the freedom to try new things, challenge yourself, and give audiences a fresh look every time.What does a typical day look like before a show? Any daily routines?
We actually do a rehearsal before each show to lock in with the day's cast, but everyone has their own personal thing they do too. I put my headphones on and listen to different tunes to get in the zone. Recently, I've been listening to a lot of Kayne and lots of jazz too.
You're a Chicago native which is really awesome. How did this whole journey begin for you?
There are a handful of people I have to give credit to...My parents and my sister supported me when I transitioned from working in a corporate job to being a full-time artist. Not everyone has that support. I'm eternally appreciative that they let me blaze my own trail. I blame them for it too: they named me "Artis".
This past year, I performed for the Obamas at the White House. I'll never forget that.
Is there anything you're looking forward to seeing or doing while you're back in Chicago?
See my friends and family! I've been touring for quite a while now. I'm only a month into touring with Stomp, but I was touring in over 20 countries and 45 states with Step Afrika! for four years. We'll be in Chicago for the next six weeks or so, so it'll be great to be home.
Personally, I enjoy working with students. I'm in the process of getting things together to work with kids in the Chicago area. I believe in the arts, in having positive role models around, and that's what got me to this point. I want to do my part in helping the next generation be able to obtain the same opportunities.
Stomp plays Chicago at the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place beginning November 16, 2016. For more information, visit www.broadwayinchicago.com.
Photo Credit: Steve McNicholas