116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
A few months before the pandemic arrived, alumni and current members of Stomp gathered at the intimate Orpheum Theater in lower Manhattan to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the percussion-driven act’s New York City debut.
Current cast member Cade Slattery, who joined the troupe in 2016, was in his glory.
“It was just amazing,” Slattery said. “Watching oId Stompers and new Stompers onstage at the same time was such a wild experience.”
For the uninitiated, Stomp is an animated percussion group that uses the body and everyday objects to create a physical theater performance using rhythms, acrobatics and pantomime.
The show will rattle the timbers in the Paramount Theatre in Cedar Rapids on Saturday night, Nov. 5, 2022, then return to the Corridor for two performances Jan. 21 at Hancher Auditorium in Iowa City.
Cedar Rapids: Broadway at the Paramount, 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022, Paramount Theatre, 123 Third Ave. SE; $48 to $78, Paramount Box Office, (319) 366-8203 or creventslive.com/events/2022/broadway-at-paramount-stomp
Iowa City: 2 and 7:30 p.m. Jan. 21, 2023, Hancher Auditorium, 141 E. Park Rd.; $55 to $80 adults, $44 to $64 college students and youths, Hancher Box Office, 1-(800) HANCHER or (319) 335-1160 or hancher.uiowa.edu/2022-23/STOMP
Show’s website: stomponline.com/
“There really is nothing like it,” Slattery said by phone from Albuquerque. “The creators of the show are deeply involved in creating and changing the show with routines and numbers. The cast members get to inject their own ideas and personality in each show.”
About 75 percent of every Stomp show is scripted and the rest is improvisational.
“The cool thing is that the creators encourage improvisation,” Slattery said. “What other show like this do the performers have the opportunity to do what they want with their character? We get to throw curve balls to each other and that’s what keeps it fresh. There is nothing that I would rather do.”
Slattery, 25, isn't kidding. While growing up in San Diego, he embraced percussion. At age 9, he attended a school of percussion in which the focus was making music with a variety of metal objects.
“I banged on cans and buckets and whatever, and I absolutely loved it,” he said. “I learned about Stomp as a kid and it was my dream to join the show.”
When Slattery turned 19, he earned a spot in the Stomp cast.
“This is the only job I’ve ever had, and it’s been almost seven years that I’ve been part of it, but I never get tired of it,” he said. “The concept of making music with metal objects is something you experience every day walking through the city of New York, which is where I live. But to put it into the theater, is taking it in a different direction.
“I’m part of something so unique and special, and I see the impact it has on the audience. I look out at the children and I see the smiles on their faces. That makes me work that much harder.”
There are no words in the show, but dialogue is superfluous.
“There are so many ways to communicate,” Slattery said. “We tell a story through the interactions in the production, and the audience understands what we convey through unconventional objects.”
Zippo lighters, push brooms, wooden poles, hammer handles, garbage cans, inner tubes and matchboxes are some of the items they use.
“It’s such an inventive and entertaining show,” Slattery said. “It’s never boring. I’m so glad STOMP was invented.”
Slattery can thank Steve McNicholas and Luke Cresswell, who came up with the concept and debuted it in Brighton, England, in 1991. Within months the show became a critical darling and was part of the London theater circuit by the end of 1991.
STOMP appeared on an episode of “Mr. Roger's Neighborhood” in 1995. The cast made a cameo on “The Silent Show” episode of “Mad About You” in 1998 and performed at the Lincoln Memorial at President Bill Clinton’s Millennium celebrations.
“This show has certainly made its mark,” Slattery said. “It’s well-respected and it lives on after all of these years.”
McNicholas and Cresswell ended a 15-year run in London in 2018, but the show still tours all over the world.
“Stomp will go on and on since the show connects with everyone,” Slattery said.
Stomp is one of those unusual shows that appeals to adults and children. The lively show is G-rated. It's humorous, unpredictable and inventive.
“My whole professional life has been Stomp, and the reason I’m still with the show is that it’s so stimulating and different every night,” Slattery said.
Every two to three years Stomp has auditions.
“One of the best things I ever did was try out for Stomp,” he added. “If I didn’t make the cut, I would be out there in the audience because it’s just that entertaining. I would never want to miss out on this show.”