By Norma Stanley | December 2022
Emmy nominated producer, director, choreographer, playwright and performer, Stepp Steward loves the artistry, creativity, drama and excitement of live musical theatre, and has been sharing his love for the art in successful productions and performances with appreciative audiences, for over 30 years.
Stewart, who has worked with some of Broadway’s Tony award-winning legends, including Ben Vereen, Savion Glover, Jennifer Holiday, Ann Reinking, Chita Rivera, Maurice Hines, and many more, has also made appearances on some top television shows, including Good Morning America, American Idol, etc.
“I’ve been in this industry since I was 19 years-old and have been part of some great theatrical work, and although I’m almost 60, I feel like I’m just getting started, just beginning to gain momentum,” said Stewart, whose theatrical credits include Broadway productions like CATS, Jelly’s Last Jam, Sophisticated Ladies, Bubbling Brown Sugar, Chicago, Applause, etc.
A resident director, creator and producer at the Marietta Theatre in the Square in Cobb County, GA., and resident producer at the Porter Sanford III Performing Arts Center in Decatur, GA, Stewart has been serving up musical productions that share various aspects of the Black experience.
Producer, Director, Playwright, Choreographer and Performer Stepp Stewart
Popular musicals produced and directed by Stewart at these theatres share key aspects of black culture and include Soulful Christmas, Cotton Club, the Motown Motor City Review, among others. In addition, Stewart also serves as a choreographer, dancer and singer, in many of his productions in addition to director and producer.
“My goal in all the capacities in which I serve, is to always present the best quality of work that I can in all my productions,” says Stewart. “Success is in the details and paying attention to the authenticity of the props, costuming of the period we’re covering, music, etc., as well as ensuring our performers are giving their absolute best for each performance, is something in which I take tremendous pride and pay very close attention,” he said.
Stewart says also loves being about to bring gifts out of people and showcase the hidden talents of his less experienced cast members. Many times, these are aspiring actors, singers, and dancers from the local metro-Atlanta community who audition for the opportunity to be in his productions.
“There’s lots of great talent out there and we get great responses when we announce our auditions which usually happens in August,” shared Stewart. “Our cast members always become more like family, and go through a lot of blood, sweat and tears to prepare for our productions, but we always have a good time doing it,” he said.
Stewart has many fond memories of the work he’s done in the performing arts. His dance shoes are on display at the Hard Rock Café and he choreographed the half-time show for the Hula Bown in Hawaii. He also had a couple chart-topping hits, which include two best-selling dance workout DVD’s: Stepp with Me and Burn It Up. In addition, Stewart also created a couple of best-selling children’s songs and he is also known for singing the popular duet with singer, Debbie Gibson, called “Love Under My Pillow.”
“Even as I am creating new ones, like doing a surprise performance again with Debbie Gibson in the near future, there are so many wonderful memories I have of people I’ve met or worked with throughout this journey,” shared Stewart. “Some of my favorite moments on television, include working out with President Barack Obama and performing for Prince Charles and Lady Diana,” he said.
As Stewart prepares for a busy new year of productions, which include bringing back his Motown Motor City Review in February 2023, he is also working on projects and programs, to help develop young people interested in the performing arts. This includes teaching dance and theater workshops across the country and conducting a three-week performing arts summer camp for kids ages seven to 17, called Camp Spotlight.
Stepp Stewart sharing info on his Motown Motor City Revue
“I am excited about the talent that is coming up now and I am meeting some great talent online, but I caution them to pay attention to getting the skills, training and knowledge they need to succeed in this business,” shared Stewart. “Our young people need to learn how to approach a director or dance captain; they need to put in the work of real preparation,” he continued. “People, no matter their age, need to check themselves if they want to have longevity and succeed in this business. Take the necessary classes to hone your craft and be ready to pay your dues, there’s no getting around the work, if you want to succeed in this industry,” he said.
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