STOMP it up

The 22-year-old Broadway show wakes up Victoria

STOMP kicks off its North American tour at the Royal Theatre in Victoria

The 22-year-old Broadway show wakes up Victoria

After a sold-out run of Mamma Mia last summer, Broadway is back in Victoria.

STOMP kicks off its North American tour at the Royal Theatre this week, the result of a lot of hard work from Victoria-raised artistic producer Henry Kolenko.

“It’s quite challenging to bring shows to Victoria, not just because it’s an Island but because the venue is booked almost the whole year through,” says Kolenko. “It took me a few years to bring a show here.”

Instead of jousting with the Victoria Symphony, Opera and various dance companies for a fall season spot at the Royal Theatre, Kolenko decided to throw caution to the wind and book the theatre in the summer months last season. It proved such a success, he’s doing it again.

“I wanted to do it with a show that had a lot of drawing power, and Mamma Mia was just off the charts last year,” he says. “We sold out, and we broke Royal Theatre history of most tickets sold in a day.”

STOMP’s crew made a brief appearance in Victoria last February during Dance Victoria’s Dance Days to give locals a taste of the show.

To boost excitement even further, organizers are planning a similar preview in Langford, albeit on a slightly bigger scale.

“We’ve talked to the mayor of Langford, Stew Young, and he’s actually shutting down downtown,” Kolenko says.

On Monday, Goldstream Avenue will close at 6 p.m. so the whole cast can perform street shows for the passing crowd.

“Every show is its own unique entity and needs to be brought into the community with respect,” Kolenko says. “And the community of Victoria is a very sophisticated community. The people that want to go see theatre have travelled a lot and have seen theatre all over, so we’re very selective in how we bring a show in and how we marry it to the community.”

Because STOMP uses a unique combination of choreography, percussion and physical comedy, there’s no language barrier, which has helped the show expand to more than 50 countries and 25 million people, Kolenko says.

“It’s done in a way that’s very accessible. People come out of it and say, ‘I didn’t know it would be so funny.'”

Kolenko attended Mount Douglas secondary before ending up on Broadway in New York for several years. When he came back to the West Coast, he wanted to bring some of the entertainment he’d seen to a local audience.

“Victoria was one of the last big markets in Canada that didn’t have broadway shows coming in regularly,” he says.

While he was hoping to bring Jersey Boys to the Royal for 2014, the back of house isn’t big enough for the performance, he says.

“The show just won’t fit. That’s another challenge, finding shows that are at the right stage in their cycle for a venue like the Royal Theatre.”

Nonetheless, Kolenko promises STOMP will be worth the $79.50 to $89.75 ticket price, and is hopeful Broadway fever will sweep Greater Victoria once again.

“The show is selling extremely well but there are still tickets,” he says.

STOMP originally premiered at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 1991, and made its way to Broadway in New York City by 1994. The show is still running in London’s West End and has an off-Broadway show in Manhattan.

The show opens Tuesday, Aug. 27 and runs until Sunday, Sept. 1.

Visit or call 250-386-6121 for tickets.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Mental Health: Fractured services leave community to fill gaps

Greater Victoria service providers working together to help youth

Bag containing meat, sewing needles found by dog owner in Cordova Bay

Saanich police don’t believe it’s a trend

UVic creates emergency bursary for students facing hardships due to COVID-19

Students can apply by emailing the financial aid office

Colwood Spring Clean-Up postponed, branch drop-off continues

Strict measures in place for branch drop-off

Saanich teen earns $100,000 commerce scholarship to the University of Calgary

Matias Totz is graduating from St. Michaels University School

‘Hold our line’: 29 new cases of COVID-19 announced in B.C.

Saturday’s number of new cases marks the lowest in weeks.

Two inmates found positive for COVID-19 at federal prison in B.C.; other tests pending

15 staff self-isolating waiting results, refusal to work notice sent, says correctional officer

Critic, workers’ group ‘disappointed’ Trudeau chose Amazon to distribute PPE

Amazon Canada said in an email to The Canadian Press that it is working with Canada Post, Purolator

Full World COVID-19 update: National Guard collect ventilators in New York; Spain, Italy improve

Comprehensive coronavirus update with news from around the world.

Nanaimo’s Harmac mill works to fill doubled pulp order for medical masks and gowns

Mill’s president says extra cleaning in place and workers are social distancing

Two people fined after B.C. police spot online ads re-selling 5,000 surgical, N95 masks

Police confiscated the masks, being sold at inflated prices, and now working with Fraser Health

Unclear if Cowichan couple refusing to self-isolate will face penalty

No fines or charges have been laid to date, including Cowichan couple who won’t self isolate

POLL: Will you be able to make your rent or mortgage payment this month?

With the COVID-19 delivering a devastating blow to the global economy, and… Continue reading

COVID-19: Postponed surgeries will be done, B.C. health minister says

Contract with private surgical clinic to help clear backlog

Most Read