“We Want To Make Stuff That You Love Just As Much As Your Kid Does:” A TDQ Q&A With Tami Stronach

Tami Stronach

Tami Stronach

We are really excited about this week’s TDQ Q&A with Tami Stronach. The actress/dancer/singer talks about her family focused entertainment company, Paper Canoe, growing up in the 80s and her role as the Child-like Empress in “The Never Ending Story.” Here is this week’s TDQ Q&A with Tami Stronach:

The Daily Quarterly: What made you want to be in show business?

Tami Stronach: I was one of those kids who right from the start just wanted to perform. I loved the connection with the audience. It felt like a great thing for me to pour my feelings into something productive. I was also one of those kids who had ‘a lot of feelings.’ So, when you have that combo of sensitive, and also craving the spotlight, you get a performer. Actor, dancer, I really didn’t distinguish. I just knew I wanted to do it.  

TDQ: Who was your favorite musical artist growing up?

TS: When I was little, the Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel. And Abba. When I got a little older David Bowie, Annie Lenox, Bobby McFerrin. Pink Floyd, U2 and Michael Jackson. Pretty normal 80s kid. 

TDQ: What was your favorite fantasy film growing up?

TS: Not sure if it’s quite fantasy, but I loved ‘Brazil.’ Brilliant–Still resonates today.  

TDQ: What is the best advice you have ever gotten?

TS: “Trust your gut.”

TDQ: What is the worst advice you have ever gotten?

TS: “Put on a mini skirt and strut around the office”, but a close second for ‘worst’ would be, “Everyone else thinks about it this way so you should too…”

Tami Stronach

Tami Stronach

TDQ: Who are your influences?

TS: Bold visual choices always get me. I love it when the style of a work tells the viewer as much about what is going on in a story as the content. In film anything by Terri Gilliam– I also loved “Blade Runner.” In art I’ve always been drawn to surrealism, Frida Kahlo and the whimsy and romanticism of Chagall. In high school I read everything by Ursula Le Guin, and books like “The Island of Doctor Moreau”.

TDQ: What is your favorite memory of making “The Never Ending Story?”

TS: My favorite memory is when I came into the studio for the first time and saw the set of the ivory tower. It was so beautiful it just swept me into the story.

TDQ: How did you form your family-focused brand, Paper Canoe Company?

TS: Well, when I had my daughter, I think a shift started happening in how I think about stories. For me, having a little girl brought me back to my own childhood. For kids, a story isn’t just a story. The imagination is literally just as important as reality. There is something amazingly joyful about connecting with an audience that actually wants to bring their full selves to the experience. So we started making stories that families can enjoy—and this is the key for us—together. It’s not like, “Oh, here is something for my kid that I’m going to have to put up with.” We want to make stuff that you love just as much as your kid does. That’s the goal. I’m putting 30 years of acting, dancing, teaching, singing, performing, and telling stories into it. It’s always a lot of work to start your own thing, but in the end, it’s the most fulfilling thing you can do. Our creative team is really talented and motivated, so I’m incredibly excited to see what we can make.   

TDQ: Tell us about your newest project, the folk rock opera album, “Beanstalk Jack”

TS: It’s a really fun thing. Jack and the Beanstalk with a girl meets boy twist. Jack’s this kind of silly country boy singer songwriter. He goes up the beanstalk and steals the heart of Harmony, the giant’s daughter who is a rock star in waiting. So he’s a little bit country. She’s a little bit Rock and Roll (I sing that part). The giant’s a greedy big shot meany, so it just worked out that it is kind of a great story for the moment we’re in. Its ridiculously fun, and the music is classic Americana. We’ve had a lot of great reactions to it as we’ve gotten ready for the release on Saturday. 

TDQ: You’re also performing a live theater version of “Beanstalk Jack” this weekend. What can you tell us about that?

TS: Yes this week we get to finally perform it live. We’ll be adding theatrical elements to the show over time as we get a sense for how the audience engages, but this is the official launch party, so we are really excited to play, and we are doing the show in an incredible venue, National Sawdust in Williamsburg. The whole point is to bring families together, to celebrate through music and let the songs get the imagination going. It’s a great ride. There are some tickets still available for Saturday morning, and it’s going to be a blast, so I’m counting on some of those 80s kids to come out and bring the family. 

Follow Tami on Twitter, and head over to the Paper Canoe website. 

‘80s Icon Tami Stronach Does Jack And The Beanstalk Musical

Tami Stronach

Tami Stronach, has spent her time in dance, choreogrphy, and theater and is now starting something new: a children’s music album and touring live show inspired by the tale of Jack and the Beanstalk.

The Childlike Empress from The NeverEnding Story is back! Tami Stronach is putting together a new album and show for families and children with the album set to launch next month, and the show set to kick off in New York on February 4th.

Thirty years ago, we fell in love with her character The Childlike Empress when she beckoned Bastian to call her name. Now, the star of the 80s hit is back – ready to invade both the film and music world with her new family label and a Luck Dragon-sized load of exciting new projects.

Directed by Wolfgang Peterson, The NeverEnding Story was a West-German produced English-language film that, at the time, was the most expensive film produced outside the United States or the Soviet Union.

Tami Stronach's Beanstalk Jack

Tami Stronach’s Beanstalk Jack

The NeverEnding Story, which won several awards over 1984 and 1985, was a global hit, snaring $100 million worldwide against a production budget of $27 million.

The movie, which catapulted Stronach to stardom, has been a huge inspiration in pop culture and is just as popular today as it was when it was first released.

After a couple of decades of making dance and theater in NYC, Tami has now turned her attention to laying the foundation for a content shop that makes family-friendly work – not unlike The NeverEnding Story. The brand is Called Paper Canoe Company, which she founded with husband, Greg.

In February, Tami releases a new album, Beanstalk Jack, a folk-rock opera based on Jack and the Beanstalk.

Tami Stronach, Beanstalk Jack

Tami Stronach performing in the Beanstalk Jack live touring show featuring the music on the Beanstalk Jack album.

Beanstalk Jack is a 50 minute folk-rock concept album that the whole family can enjoy. It tells the classic tale of Jack and the Beanstalk with an Americana sound, and a girl meets boy twist. In it, young Jack goes up the Beanstalk with his six-string to find his fortune. In the big world at the top of the Beanstalk, Jack steals the heart of a giant’s daughter, Harmony, a bright star just waiting for the right band to come along.

Tami made one album Faerie Queen that nostalgia buffs will remember was a sleeper hit in the ‘80s. This new project is the first in a series of collaborations with a notable crew of indie folk-rock artists in Williamsburg. In the coming months she’ll be choreographing and performing in videos for the album and doing promo concerts in preparation for launching a full live theatrical experience later in the year. The performance will be built to tour nationally and internationally in theatrical concert venues with video projections, puppets, and Tami performing the role of Harmony, the Giant’s rock star daughter.

On February 4the, you’ll also be able to see a live theatre version of Beanstalk Jack in New York.