Chicago Native Returns To His Old Stomping Grounds For Holiday Performance

Lisa Fielding
December 05, 2018 - 1:12 pm

Broadway in Chicago

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- You could say Artis Olds has been stepping and tapping on things since he was a kid.

"Oh yeah, my sister reminds me of that every chance she gets," laughed Olds. "I can drive all my friends and family completely insane as I tap on everything I see."

The Proviso West High School graduate is back in his hometown as part of the 12-member touring cast of Stomp, a percussive show that uses brooms, trash cans, newspapers and even the kitchen sink to make music.

"We use everything and anything. We use brooms, dust pans, lids, pipes, pots, pans. You'll never look at your pots and pans the same again," he said.

Olds began his stepping career in college.

"I actually marched in college. I was the drum major of the Invincible Marching Marauders at Central State University. I was also a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. I had a chance to begin stepping which is a percussive dance form started in the early 1900's by African American college students. That percussive dance style is something that really translates to this show."

WBBM Newsradio/Lisa Fielding

Olds has performed with GRAMMY Award-winning artists Kanye West, John Legend, and The Roots, and as a cast member of Step Afrika! and has performed in over 25 countries. Artis also teaches in an interactive virtual stepping exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture.

He's been a cast member of STOMP for three years and this is his second time performing in his hometown.

"I don't want to call them training wheels, but I was fresh into the show the first time around. Now the second time, being far more comfortable with the show is going to be so fun. I can't wait to get back to the Broadway Playhouse again. I feels like home because for me it really is."

Broadway in Chicago

From its beginnings as a street performance in the UK, STOMP has grown into an international sensation over the past 20 years, having performed in more than 50 countries and in front of more than 24 million people.

"I often tell my friends, I feel retired because I never go to work. This is so much fun. It's almost unfair that I get paid to do this," he laughed. "This show shows you just how accessible music can be. There's no real instruments and no dialogue. The energy blasts off the stage. You'll be tapping your own hands and feet after this show."

Broadway in Chicago

STOMP plays a monthlong run at the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place, 175 E. Chestnut St., Chicago. Tickets available at broadwayinchicago.com and range between $39-$84.

There are 32 shows between Wednesday, Dec. 5 and Sunday, Dec. 30.