Skateboard tricks can have some pretty funky names, but there probably isn't a simple, catchy title you could use to call what Sto Strouss does on a board on an almost nightly basis.
The 25-year-old Lexington native and actor's trick regularly wows enthusiastic crowds in arenas across the country as part of Marvel Universe LIVE!, which comes to Rupp Arena Oct. 23 through Oct. 26.
He soars on an "air glider" throwing pumpkin bombs dressed as the popular Marvel Comics villain The Green Goblin while regularly having epic battles with Spider-Man.
Maybe a trick like that doesn't need a name. Strouss would probably just call it "extremely cool."
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"I get to put on a costume of a character that's basically an icon at this point, fly on an air glider and go to bed," Strouss said. "That's better than any office job I can think of right now, and I'm having a blast doing it."
Before Strouss decided to dive headfirst into the Marvel Universe, he developed two huge passions growing up on the border of Lexington and Georgetown. The first one was skateboarding, which he discovered in middle school. He would practice tricks in his parents' basement and they would happily take him and his friends to the Woodland Skatepark in downtown Lexington.
His second love was being in the spotlight and he satisfied that urge through acting, first in high school plays at Lexington Catholic and later as a theatre major and electronic media broadcast minor at Northern Kentucky University, where he acted in school plays and student film projects.
Strouss immediately drove out to L.A. upon graduation and stayed with a former classmate in Orange County, working day jobs and auditioning for the first two-and-a-half years. He was able to get hired on as an extra or actor in commercials, student projects, movies and plays. He most notably appeared in music videos for LMFAO, Taylor Swift and Kid Rock, was a "re-enactor" for the Travel Channel series Got Out Alive and popped up in ads for General Insurance.
"It's basically the same hustle it was in college. It was always making something or being a part of something to put out there," Strouss said. "Some of them, you can't even see my face. I'm in there somewhere. It doesn't matter, as long as I'm doing something working toward the ultimate goal."
There aren't very many opportunities in Hollywood where actors/skateboarders can make a solid living. However, Strouss heard about an audition where a company was looking for skateboarders. He showed up with his board and was later called back to read lines. At the end of the six-month process, he finally realized what show he was auditioning for.
"I did not see this coming at all and I'm more excited about it now that it's a reality," Strouss said. "(Skateboarding) just so happened to be something I love to do and it also happened to be something that helped with my career, so why not keep doing it?"
As for the show Strouss is involved in, it's pretty much a Marvel fan's ultimate fantasy. Marvel Universe LIVE! features 25 characters from every corner of the Marvel comics, films and TV shows. Outside of potentially the comics themselves, it's the only place you'll see Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and the Incredible Hulk battling it out in the same space with Spider-Man, members of the X-Men and characters from the ABC hit Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Between the live-action stunts, 3-D digital environments, pyrotechnics and an eight-foot tall animatronic Hulk, Strouss said this all-ages show won't leave anyone disappointed.
"You're not sure where your eyes are supposed to look, but you're trying to take in as much as possible because there's so much going on stage," he said.
Marvel Universe LIVE! will be touring the country and eventually make stops in both Canada and the United Kingdom, but Strouss is especially looking forward to performing back in Lexington where his dreams all started.
"It's been a long time since I visited, and I'm excited that now I'm coming back. I have something I can show everyone," he said. "It's something I'm really proud of and I want as many people I grew up with to see it. I just want people to have a really good time and share in what I'm doing."