Curiocity: ‘STOMP’ Still Funky Fresh After 20 Years

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Stomp, Ordway Music Theater

(credit: Ordway Music Theater)

Sara Boyd Sara Pelissero
Sara Pelissero joined the WCCO web team in August of 2009. You can...
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By Sara Boyd, WCCO

Typically when an evening includes brooms and garbage pails, it is a night I want no part of.

But when you throw in the uber-talented and highly entertaining cast of “STOMP,” it’s a whole different situation.

“STOMP” opened Tuesday night at the Ordway Music Theater in St. Paul, proving that even a near 20-year-old show still has plenty of appeal to a wide audience.

Truly, janitorial work has never looked so fun. From sweeping to washing dishes, this crew goes to show that you don’t need high-tech props or an ever-changing backdrop to enthrall an audience and capture its every attention.

I’ll be honest, hearing the premise of the show I wondered whether it could hold my attention for the full 90 minutes. I mean, a group of people banging on garbage cans, without ever saying a word and having no actual plot to speak of? It sounded a bit one note.

But to my delight and surprise, that 90 minutes just flew by, all the while capturing my full attention and leaving me wondering how the heck they do it. The intricate beats and incredible focus of the performers are truly remarkable. Whether maintaining a rhythm while hoisting and simultaneously catching paint cans or simply using their body to create a multi-faceted beat, there was simply no end to the vast realm of entertainment occurring on stage.

In some cases, the simplest performances were the most impressive. How one person, just clapping and yes, stomping, could have such a grip on your attention was impressive. They were creating music with their God-given instruments … and no, not in the way others do, you know, like after burrito night. (Sorry, that was low brow.)

I don’t want to give too much away (the anticipation of what’s next is half of the fun of the show), but certain scenes involving Zippo lighters and the simplest movement — the flick of a finger — or the creativity of making music with items found in a trash bag are just mind-boggling.

Combine these talent-driven skits with a little dancing and a few bits of comedy and you are left with a show that is sure to please a crowd of any age. (Though be warned — certain scenes get quite loud, I mean, it is called “STOMP” after all. But still, the loud drumming towards the end of the show may or may not have done damage to the hearing aid of the woman sitting in front of me.)

If you’ve never seen the show or if you’re seeing it for the sixth time, “STOMP” never fails. Its long-lasting, successful history is evidence that whatever new pieces they add or revisions to the show they make, it’ll always leave the audience captivated by its funky fresh appeal — and no doubt inspire some “creative” moves for spring cleaning.

“STOMP” runs through April 3 at the Ordway Music Theater. For tickets or more information, click here.

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