By 2015 it stands to reason that most people have seen STOMP, or at least know what it is: performers in street clothes drumming, banging, rattling, and clanging on trash cans and hubcaps and dozens of other ordinary items to make different rhythms and sounds. While the idea that "we can make music out of anything!" may not strike us as quite so innovative anymore, when you see STOMP again, or for the first time, you'll see why it should.
The cast of eight, often performing together with some occasional solo spots, start by making beats with brooms while sweeping the stage. Over ninety minutes, they move to larger, louder objects, and sometimes smaller, quieter ones like matchbooks. All of the beats are on point -- there are often five or more rhythms at once being played -- and the coordination of the entire cast is impressive. The sounds they conjure up are so catchy that you'll find yourself clapping in the middle of the show, but this is encouraged. The audience is asked to join in the noise-making by following clapping rhythms made by cast members, something the kids in the crowd had a great time with.
This was my third time seeing STOMP, and from what I can recall from the last time nearly nine years ago, little to no updates had been made in the show. But that's okay. Because nobody ever updates The Phantom of the Opera, or Cats, or Rent either, and, if STOMP has proven anything by how long it's been around, it's that it seems to have earned its place now as a Broadway staple, despite not being a musical. As someone who's a sucker for big Broadway musicals, I sometimes feel that the show is missing something, like an orchestra, or singing; it's almost like being at a rock show without the guitars and singers. But there's definitely something to be said for a show that lacks speaking, singing, acting, dancing, and plot, and is still so universally appealing.
STOMP is playing at the Bank of America Theatre until January 25th. Tickets range from $20-$65 and may be purchased by calling (800) 775-2000 or by visiting the box office at 18 W. Monroe St.