(Feature photo by Jack Hartin)
Earlier this week, the 25th anniversary tour of Riverdance began in Maine. Later this month, the tour makes a stop here in Philadelphia at the Merriam Theater as it continues through 45 cities in the United States. Fans of all ages have fallen in love with the music and dance of this show. Twenty five years later, Riverdance is reimagined with new set and costume designs, a refreshed soundtrack, and the high energy Irish dance that wowed you the first time.
We spoke with professional tap dancer Lamont Brown who brings his dancing and theatre background to the Riverdance stage. Read the Q&A below to find out more about the 25th anniversary tour updates, Lamont’s stage experience, and what to expect from him and the rest of the cast as Riverdance hits Philadelphia between January 21st to 26th.
Q: What’s your performance background. What/who inspired you to pursue a career in theatre/dance?
A: I’ve started dancing, singing, acting and even percussion in my local church and dance studio in Long Island, so I always knew that I wanted to be on the stage one way or another. It wasn’t until I met my mentor and friend, Jeanine Ecklund, when I was auditioning for the Central Islip High School show choir, I wanted to do musical theatre. From there, I got into AMDA and eventually started working for the likes of Jared Grimes, Denis Jones, Randy Skinner, Warren Carlyle, Lorin Latarro, Mary Anne Lamb and so many more!
Q: How did you get involved in Riverdance?
A: Back in 2015, someone tagged me in a post where they were auditioning for new Tap Dancers. At the time I was working in Overland Park, Kansas so I was able to make a quick flight to Chicago to audition! Finally, I joined the company in 2018 for the North American Tour and Dublin, Ireland sit-down.
Q: How have your experiences in tap and jazz translated into your role in Riverdance?
A: The show evolves around rhythm and getting to share the jazz/tap side is very fun! I also use this to continue to educate myself so I could keep the show fresh within the choreography and improvisation sections.
Q: What are some new things you learned about your profession while rehearsing for Riverdance?
A: I could always learn something new which includes Irish dance as there are choreography moments of it.
Q: You also were in the national tour of 42nd Street. How do you think that tour will prepare you for traveling/performing with Riverdance?
A: I toured with 42nd Street for about a year with single day shows to a 3 week sit down, which will be similar again. It’s important to stay healthy, eat, and up keep fitness. This is so that the show will stay consistent and every city can receive the same show. It’s also great to explore everywhere you go because it’s not every day you can see a new city!
Q: Riverdance is celebrating its 25th anniversary. This show has a whole new look. What do you think people who may have experienced the show before will be most excited to see in this new production?
A: It’s the same show they we all know and love, but now on a whole new set design, lighting, updated LED screen footage. Along with all of that, Bill Wheelan, our composer, has updated the orchestrations for this anniversary!
Q: You founded the LBD Project. Can you tell us a bit about it?
A: I’ve started the Lamont Brown Dance Project in 2015 when I was producing my first YouTube video concept. I use this name anytime I have a new idea, go into the studio and record some new works. At times I would record as a rehearsal setting as if we are rehearsing for a musical. This also leaves space for my friends who may need new footage for their reels. My future goal with it is to compose new dance music arrangements and continue my creative drive with it.
Q: What are you looking forward to the most while on tour with Riverdance?
A: I’m really excited to revisit some theatres that I have been to in the past, and visit some that I haven’t performed in yet. I’m also thrilled to be performing for my close friends and family!