There is no curtain on the stage. The set is littered with highway signs and mass transit insignia. And then there are the giant oil drums, ominous and intriguing. It may be a storage facility. Or the site of an industrial warehouse party. But then the sweepers start swooning into the ballistic punk pageantry.

Since its debut at the Orpheum Theater in the East Village in 1994, “the stomp,” the wordless percussion spectacle of twirls, tapping, sweeping, banging, clanging, and yes, stomping, has gone from a scrappy neighborhood attraction to a mainstay of culture Is. of New York City.

In celebration of the show’s 10th anniversary in 2004, a mayoral proclamation declared March 14, 2004 as “Stomp Day”. For his 20th birthday in 2014, the Empire State Building lit up in red in his honor. That year, the production was also the centerpiece of the city’s “Stomp Out Litter”. Campaign, shot in the five boroughs; and in 2015, the cast of the show parted ways help Along with another city cultural institution, the Harlem Globetrotters. The city once temporarily renamed Second Avenue between Seventh and Eighth Streets as “Stomp Avenue”.

In its history, only three occasions have disrupted the continuity of the New York Run: September 11, the gas explosion on Second Avenue, and the COVID pandemic. Even as commercial shops booted local businesses, rents rose and students and artists relocated downtown, the show hung on in an ever-changing neighborhood.

But after 29 years, the production would close forever on January 8 due to dwindling ticket sales.

“say it is not so!” said music producer Lou George, widely known as Bolted Lou. A “Stomp” super fan, he said he had watched the show 225 times and planned to watch it one more time before the cast took their final bows.

“I’m clearing out,” he said. “‘Stomp’ was such a fixture in New York.”

Part drum line, part step team, part city buskers, “Stomp” is a show where timing is everything. Eight artists performed with household objects and urban debris, generating rhythms out of garbage cans, suitcases, radiator hoses and precise choreography, all the while threading humor through one-upping showdowns and zany accidents. Anything can become music: rubbing nails with matchboxes; The basketball passed back and forth with a bang.

‘Stomp’ has had an unusually global reach. It has been spoofed on “The Simpsons”, “Jeopardy!” But has been included as an answer. and performed in 45 countries – including at the Acropolis and the 2012 London Olympics closing ceremony.

Nevertheless, it remained a symbol of New York’s cultural scene. But it was not born here.

It was conceived by two Britons – producers and directors Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas – who met as street performers in Brighton, England in the early 80s. Together they formed musical groups that combined rhythm, vocals and comedy, and after experimenting with a one-off performance using only brooms and dustbins, they performed “Stomp” at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 1991. premiered.

“We focused on the rhythmic elements,” McNicholas said, “but I think we remained aware of the inherent absurdity of the concept of using everyday objects as instruments, so the humor was there from the start.”

When the show arrived in New York in the early ’90s, the East Village was home to Blue Man Group, CBGB, and the indie-rock club Brownies. Cresswell and McNicholas found punk downtown—away from the bright lights of Broadway—perfect for their deadpan show.

“It is not glamour; It’s not a cute set,” Cresswell said. “It’s a tiny, funky little theater with people doing it really close to you. You feel and smell the sweat.

Cresswell and McNicholas weren’t sure if the show would make it through its original four-month run, yet it has perked up the neighborhood’s arts ecosystem since its early days.

brownies It became dark in 2002, CBGB in 2006; And Blue Man Group was acquired by Cirque du Soleil in 2017. And one by one, many of the “Stomp” cast and creators’ go-to East Village locations closed their doors: Imminent luncheon Stage RestaurantCorner Bar & Bistro VirajAnd Gem SpaAcross the street is a nearly 100-year-old bodega, which closed in 2020.

Nevertheless, the “Stomp” rivalry continued for nearly three decades.the Phantom of the Opera,” which is set to close this year after 35 years on stage. During the show’s touring and Orpheum Theater productions, Cresswell and McNicholas maintained artistic control and direction.

“Stomp” publicist Jackie Greene said flagging international tourism following the pandemic lockdown was a factor in the decision to stop, but declined to share financial figures. (The North American and European touring shows will continue to run.)

McNicholas said he felt for the New York cast, who were performing last year to “small” houses, though there was neither the energy on stage nor the enthusiasm in the audience, he said.

McNicholas said, “I’m a little sad, because I feel like we were part of the East Village.” “We were part of the village landscape, and it’s a shame to say goodbye to it.”

“Playing on objects to make music has been around forever,” said Alan Asuncion, the last New York “Stomp” cast member who has been performing at the Orpheum since 2007. “But the creators brilliantly put it into a piece of theatre. Which has become a household name. And that legacy will live on.

Because the show is wordless, except for a few gibberish sounds and some good-natured grunting, its cadence and comedy is accessible to a wide variety of audiences.

At a recent performance, children squealed with delight, adults clapped their hands and stomped their feet to a packed house. The audience was moved by the pulse of the drum and the call-and-response signals.

In any other setting, seeing a group of muscular men and women in work boots with yellow rubber gloves and industrial sinks around their necks might be cause for alarm. On “Stomp,” it’s a moment of giddy anticipation. The audience can sense that something big is about to happen. There is a collective long sigh. And then the Stompers started rocking. As he kept moving his body, the demon also started sinking. The water slid from side to side to a melodious tune before the performers began to move their bodies around, banging on sinks and pipes.

“I’m going to miss the audience interaction, being able to look out and have the audience look at you,” Asuncion said. After 15 years, “surprisingly it doesn’t get old.”

#Farewell #Stomp #show #Yorks #Beating #Heart

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