The Hip Hoppers were originally introduced as part of David Yazbek's revisions to the US tour. They had notably different music to the Rockies, with more fluid rhythms and modern orchestration. However Lloyd Webber reverted most of these changes for the following UK Tour, until the Hip Hoppers effectively perform the same role as Rockies, just with "street fashion" costumes and simplified choreography, and with the boxing references removed. While the majority of Hoppers have been male, the 2013 Asia Tour included a female Hopper 2 (Lauren Hearnden Mayer).
Much like The Rockies, the Hoppers are part of the Freight train, keep company with Poppa, Rusty, Flat-Top, Dustin, and on occasion, Caboose. Unlike the Rockies, they do not spar with each other, rather they take every opportunity to practice their dance moves. However the choreography asked of them is notably less demanding than that of the Rockies.
In 2018, the Bochum production was significantly overhauled, and the Hip Hoppers were replaced by new versions of the Rockies, including a female Rocky 3.
The Hip Hopper costumes draw on many stereotypical, dated elements of "Black / Hip Hop / Street" fashion. They wear backwards ball caps or "gang" bandanas, over-size mesh-effect shirts with graffiti tags on them, and baggy pants. Contrary to other characters in the show, in their case the bare metal panel effect doesn't represent the character's bare skin. They also wear heavy gold "Bling" necklaces. Initially in the US Tour they wore their essential leather belts over the shirts, but later versions have slits in the the shirts through which the belt handles stick out.
The train-signifying elements in their costumes are rather less than in other characters, it is only the metal plating effect and the small amount of coal texture on their shoulders that gives away their intended designation as Hoppers. They don't have wheels on their gloves or their skates. Notably, Dustin has been established as a Hopper since the show's conception, but there are very few common features between them. In Germany they are still introduced as "Kastenwagen" (=box cars), like the Rockies. The same design elements have been used more recently in the "Street Cat Tugger" in the 2014 London revival of Cats.
US Tour 2003 - 2004
|2003 - 2004||Orren Webber||Walter Louis||Stephen Maestas|
UK Tours 2004 - 2008
|2004 - 2005||Johnny Shentall||Tyman Boatwright||Craig McDermott|
|2006 - 2007||Robert Nurse||Carlton Connell||Tony Andrade|
|2007 - 2008||Damian Winter-Higgins||Ben Harrold||Robert Nurse|
|2007 - 2008||Aaron Piper||Alexander Lee Burgos||Dennis Gradtke|
|2008 - 2009||Reginald H Jennings||Adam Sheffield||Daniel Smith|
|2009 - 2010||Daniel Smith||Marvin Dietmann||Marc McFayden|
|2010 - 2011||Karl Seal||Sharn Te Pou||Daniel Therrien|
|2011 - 2012||Karl Seal||Sharn Te Pou||Daniel Therrien|
|2012 - 2013||Garry Lee||Jason Guest||Omari Bernhard|
|2013 - 2014||Dewayne Adams||Christopher Jeffers||Adi Suissa|
|2014 - 2015||Dewayne Adams||Brett Shiels||Ciaran Rees|
|2015 - 2016||Brett Shiels||Cyrus Brandon||Marc McFayden|
|2016 - 2017||Brett Shiels||Cyrus Brandon||Dennis Spee|
|2017 - 2018||Cyrus Brandon||Garry Kessing||Dennis Spee|
NZ Tour 2009
|2009||Aaron Piper||Sharn Te Pou||Joel Hewlett|
UK Tour 2012-2013
|2012 - 2013||Robert Nurse||Lex Milczarek||Glenn Robb|
|Asia 2013||Robert Nurse||Lex Milczarek||Lauren Hearnden Mayer|
- The Hip Hoppers replaced the Rockies in Bochum from 2007 onwards.
- But the Rockies returned, replacing the Hip Hoppers in 2018.