Gary’s Ratings for Stomp Off Broadway is 4.6/5
Main Cast: Alan Asuncion, Micah Cowher, John Gavin, Desmond Howard, Jasmine Joyner, Max Meyer, Jayme Overton, Sean Perham, Tamii Sakurai, Emmanuel Scott, Cade Slattery, Reggie Talley.
Running Dates: Example Previews from February 18, 1994, Opening February 27, 1994, Resumed Off-Broadway July 20, 2022
Theater Location: Orpheum Theatre, 126 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10003
Running Time: 1 hour and 45 minutes
Tickets: Prices from $48. Buy tickets here.
The Gary Score
Stomp is a firework of artistic expression, from fantastic choreography to hypnotic rhythms. I gave it a score of 4.6, although I was ready to slap an unprecedented 5 on it when I left the theater. If you’re anything like me, chances are you’ll start to love Stomp well within the first 30 minutes. And after nearly two hours, you’ll be positively crazy about it.
What Is Stomp About?
I almost started writing this review with, “If you’ve never heard of Stomp…” but then I stopped myself. If you’re interested in theater, there’s no question whether you know about the show. It’s Stomp – you’ve heard about it.
Stomp doesn’t have a story in the classical sense. The show doesn’t feature any dialogue, and every narrative is provided using the most universal language: rhythm.
There are eight performers on stage, each assuming a role of multiple characters or, better said, personalities. The sound is provided by musical instruments and, much more interestingly, common objects. For instance, you’ll hear exciting beats from simple wooden poles and hammer handles. A piece of music that might drive you to stand up and dance could even come from a set of garbage cans.
However, Stomp isn’t a concert. There’s plenty of theater art on stage, including visual and physical comedy. Characters who share the stage communicate with one another, and the interaction is that much more unique, since it involves no words.
You might be surprised at how well Stomp illustrates different character traits and moods. After the performance was over, I felt like I knew precisely who the personalities on stage were. The occasional comedy is delivered just as well, easily drawing heartfelt laughs from the audience.
How Complex Is the Show?
Although there are no speaking roles in Stomp, the show is perfectly understandable for all audiences. The show permits viewers of nearly all ages, excluding kids aged four or below.
The age limitation might be more due to occasional outbursts of sound than complexity. It happens rarely during the show, but Stomp can get a bit loud. If it wasn’t for that, I’m sure even three-year-olds would get a kick out of the performance.
Set Design and Style
The set of Stomp is as dynamic as the show itself. Using a number of props and lighting tricks, the show seems to transform right in front of your eyes, although the initial setup stays the same.
The entire show is done in an urban street style, from the set to the costumes. The casual clothes the performers wear make the feats they achieve on stage even more impressive.
When thinking about a show that could compare to Stomp, I struggled to find an ideal match. The closest I got to was a memory.
Years ago, I saw a recording of the original Riverdance group. At the time, I’d never seen anything quite like that. Much like Stomp, there was no dialogue – every story was expressed through sound and movement. However, Riverdance performances also featured songs with lyrics. Unfortunately, this group is no longer active in its original form.
The issue with finding a comparable show to Stomp isn’t that there are no similar shows. Rather, it’s that, in my opinion, no other performance does what Stomp does quite as well. Essentially, you could see one of the many other phenomenal dance groups. But if you decide to do that after seeing Stomp, results may vary quite a lot.
A Review of the Reviews
It’s hardly a surprise that Stomp has garnered excellent reviews.
The website Broadway Box that houses audience reviews is filled with testimonials from overjoyed viewers. People describe Stomp as exciting, graceful, enthralling, and altogether lovely.
Drama Dose describes the show as an awe-inspiring experience due to the powerful music and inspired performances from the cast. On ShowScore, Stomp has 92% positive reviews, higher than many shows I’ve seen.
New York’s own TimeOut says the show is still impressive, even after being around for such a long time. In line with what I said in the previous section, this reviewer considers Stomp a “bigger and better” version of other shows that drew inspiration from it.
A Little About the Characters
|Alan’s characters give out an impression of being everywhere on the stage at once. His roles are extremely acrobatic.
|If Stomp is a rocking boat of rhythm, Micah’s role in it is that of an anchor. He provides the steady foundation to everything that goes on in the show.
|John’s characters can be described as the company’s wild child. Of the entire ensemble, John is the most likely to do something nobody would expect.
|As an experienced percussionist and dancer, Desmond fits perfectly in the role of the group leader. His movements are always precise and powerful.
|Jasmine provides a performance of a tough character that means business. Besides dancing, she performs drumming acts wielding hammer handles.
|Max is a widely educated and experienced percussionist. His characters contribute to the musical elements and are very easy-going.
|With her extensive dance training, Jayme is capable of doing almost anything on stage. In Stomp, her roles often have a comical note.
About the Theater
The Orpheum Theater has been around for more than a century. And that doesn’t involve some sort of repurposing – the venue has been a theater from its inception in 1904.
Granted, the Orpheum was turned into a movie theater in the 1920s, but it reopened some 30 years later as a theatrical venue. From the 1960s to this day, the theater has housed some of the most renowned off-Broadway shows, including a very special entry.
You see, the Orpheum went through an extensive period of renovation that left the theater closed for a decade. When it reopened, the year was 1994, and the show was none other than Stomp. In other words, the show and the venue share a considerable piece of history.
Unfortunately, the renovation that happened during the 1980s and ’90s didn’t leave the theater with accessibility options. Of its capacity of 347, none is reserved for accessible seating.
Located in the East Village, the Orpheum Theatre is relatively easy to reach. If you’re not driving there (as you shouldn’t be – traffic can be horrible), you can catch the 6 train to the Astor Place station and you’ll be at the Orpheum in no time.
Get Your Tickets for Stomp (Off Broadway)
I can say with certainty that viewing Stomp will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience – at least the first time you see the show. In fact, I’ll go as far as to say it could change your life.
Even better, you can see the show in the original venue where it started. If that, in addition to all the joy and excitement that awaits, doesn’t make Stomp a must-see, I don’t know what would.
So don’t wait another day to catch this incredible show. Get your tickets right now and get ready for some serious stomping!