Internationally popular production STOMP to play two shows in Wilkes-Barre
Created in the United Kingdom by musicians and theater veterans Luke Creswell and Steve McNicholas in 1991, stage show STOMP has become an international sensation, performing in more than 50 countries for over 24 million people.
Over the course of 26 years, the production, which creates rhythm with everyday objects and combines music with dance, physical theater and comedy, has riveted audiences with percussion pieces played out on everything from garbage can lids to push brooms to Zippo lighters.
The touring company of STOMP will perform at 7:30 p.m. March 15 and 16 at the F.M. Kirby Center in Wilkes-Barre.
Ensemble veteran, Jeremy Price has been with the production “on and off” since 2003, and he said the tendency of the creators to try new ideas and push the show’s concept has kept him intrigued throughout the years.
“The premise of the show is to make music out of very common, mundane objects, and we do a new piece every couple years,” Price said.
One new piece, titled “Donuts” uses tire inner tubes as an instrument.
“I think it’s just as much a visual piece as it is a musical piece,” Price said.
Another number, “Trolley,” makes use of shopping carts.
“A shopping cart is a trolley in the UK, what you walk around putting your groceries in, so it’s a piece based on that,” Price said.
Price said while creators compose pieces for the show, cast members have opportunities to bring individual creativity to the production by lending their personal charisma to eight distinct roles.
“It’s less about the texture of the specific prop or the rhythms that we’re playing; it’s about blending your own personality with that character. And that keeps people, both audience members and performers, interested in the show for a long time.”
Price has played four of the eight roles during his tenure, most often acting as the drummer or the lead character.
“When I say drummer, you’re job is to really keep the ensemble together,” Price said. “Another character I do is in charge of the show. He’s a communicator from the cast to the crowd.”
Price said a lot of the rhythms in the show are African- or Brazilian-based and that they are primal and communicable.
“They’re old rhythms that a lot of people recognize,” Price said. “We just do those rhythms with common, everyday props, which makes it more interesting than if we’re doing it with drums, but there’s a tribal aspect to the show.”
Of the multitude of pieces Price has performed he said one, which utilized metal folding chairs, stands out in his mind. The ensemble, he said, rehearsed so hard the chairs had to be repaired and reinforced by the production’s prop master.
“You tend to overlook how everyday an object may or may not be,” Price said. “That piece was a moment within my journey of the show where I was like, ‘we really do make music out of whatever we can find.’ It seems the creators want to challenge that idea.”
After nearly 14 years as an intermittent cast member, Price said he still loves seeing the effect the show has on people in the audience.
“That’s why I’ve been in it for so long,” Price said. “Rhythm is a very normal thing in everyday life, and we really expound upon that. I love seeing people leave thinking they have new ideas. I love it when little kids leave and irritate their parents for the next hour.”
Reach Matt Mattei at 570-991-6651 or on Twitter @TimesLeaderMatt.
IF YOU GO
When: 7:30 p.m. March 15 and 16
Where: F.M. Kirby Center, 71 Public Square, Wilkes-Barre
Ticket information: Tickets cost $35, $45 and $55 and are available at the Kirby Center box office, online at kirbycenter.org and by phone at 570-826-1100.