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Backstage on Broadway: East Village show has ‘STOMP’ed its way to being a community cult classic

The sounds of the street have stomped through the East Village for 22 years.

“We started STOMP basically being a drummer and a street performer, and finding you can use rhythm as a way of getting people involved,” Luke Cresswell, co-founder, said.

What started in the UK quickly became a cult classic  in the city, when it launched at the Orpheum Theatre in 1994.

“There’s definitely an energy and a grit about this place,” Alan Asuncion, a performer, said.

Alan has been drumming, sweeping and tapping for nearly a decade.

“My wife took me to this show when we were still dating," he remembered. "It was my first New York show, sat in the front row and a broom broke into my lap and I was like, uh I’m supposed to be a part of this."

He says there’s never a dull moment, as he, just like the show, constantly evolves.

“There’s a lot of theater involved, a lot of humor, that people don’t know they’re a part of,” Alan explained.

“We usually have right hand on top  and this hand is just sort of along for the ride,” Eric Fay, another performer, demonstrated.

Eric became quite the fanboy after seeing STOMP when he was eight years old.

“My mom took me and she was just like let’s go see it," he smiled. "She said we can leave at intermission if you want, turns out there is no intermission at STOMP!"

As a lifelong musician, he’s been able to develop as an actor and dancer thanks to his cast-mates.

“We all get to teach each other and learn from each other," he said. "There’s also some improv so every solo the audience gets to see is written by that person.”

And in March of last year, they came together as one to support their neighbors, after a gas explosion killed two people, right across the street.

“I was scheduled to work that day but the show obviously closed,” Alan remembered. “We held buckets and we collected donations for support of the families and people involved.”

While the mission of the show is to entertain, the performers have taken it upon themselves to make it about much more.

“To be an inspiration to somebody is probably one of the greatest feelings,” Eric said. “That's the main reason why I do what I do, the ability to change somebody’s life."

STOMP is currently playing at the Orpheum Theatre eight times a week.

 

Produced by: Kim Pestalozzi