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The Hip Hoppers first appeared to replace the Rockies in the 2003 US Tour and subsequent UK Tour, and were introduced to the German show in 2007.

The Hoppers feature prominently in Freight , The Rap, and Right Place, Right Time.

Character

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). 

Role

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. 

Appearance

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

Gallery

Photo gallery

Cast

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

Bochum, Germany

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

Trivia

  • The Hip Hoppers replaced the Rockies in Bochum from 2007 onwards.
  • But the Rockies returned, replacing the Hip Hoppers in 2018.