The Story of STOMP
Posted on 12/04/2018
State Theatre New Jersey is excited to be presenting STOMP, a one-of-a-kind performance filled with instruments made from everyday objects and a funny cast that will have you using your imagination! As the longest running Off-Broadway show in history, STOMP has made its mark as one of the greatest performances of all time! This unique show is unlike anything you've seen before, and its success throughout the years is no surprise.
STOMP, a combination of percussion, movement, and visual comedy, was created in Brighton, UK, in the summer of 1991. It was the result of a 10-year collaboration between its creators, Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas.
They first worked together in 1981, as members of the street band Pookiesnackenburger and the theater group, Cliff Hanger. Together, these groups presented a series of street comedy musicals at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival throughout the early 80s. After two albums, a UK TV series, and extensive touring throughout Europe, Pookiesnackenburger also produced the highly acclaimed "Bins" commercial for Heineken lager. The piece was originally written and choreographed by Luke as part of the band’s stage show: it proved to be the starting point for STOMP’s climactic dustbin dance.
In 1986, Luke and Steve created an eight minute "percussive movie" for Bette Midler's HBO special, Mondo Beyondo.
Between 1987 and 1990, Luke staged, as artistic and musical director, four large scale outdoor events, including "Beat the Clyde," which involved floating a drum orchestra on a pontoon in the center of Glasgow; the largest of these events, the Heineken "Hove Lagoon Show," involved a 120-piece drum orchestra featuring the Brighton Festival Chorus and a full orchestral string section.
In 1991 Steve and Luke first created STOMP, previewing at London's Bloomsbury Theatre and premiering at the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh, where it became the Guardian's "Critic's Choice" and won the Daily Express "Best of the Fringe" award.
Between 1991 and 1994, the original cast of STOMP played to capacity audiences around the world: from Hong Kong to Barcelona, from Dublin to Sydney. The touring culminated in a sell-out season at London’s Sadler’s Wells Theatre in January 1994, where STOMP received an Olivier nomination for “Best Entertainment” and won “Best Choreography in a West End Show."
An expanded version of STOMP, involving up to 30 cast members, was originally created for the Brighton Festival, UK, and was subsequently presented in Melbourne, Australia. It was most recently seen in September 1995, open air, at the Acropolis in Athens and at the Royal Festival Hall, London. This production broke all box office records, which had been established by Frank Sinatra in 1972.
STOMP began its run at the Orpheum Theatre in New York in February 1994 and quickly went on to win both an Obie and a Drama Desk award for “Most Unique Theatre Experience”. By the summer of 1994 the first American cast was in place at the Orpheum, freeing the original cast for sell out tours of North America and Japan.
In the summer of 1995, two more American productions were created for the sole purpose of U.S. touring, which continues to this day. U.S. casts have also debuted STOMP in Chile, Brazil and Korea. Meanwhile, a fifth STOMP company, also touring from the UK, was formed in 1997 and has consistently toured the world ever since. This company presented STOMP for the first time in Scandinavia and South Africa and has been a regular visitor to Germany, Holland, and France. Another STOMP production opened in San Francisco in May 2000 running for two-and-a-half years.
The original cast of STOMP have recorded music for the Tank Girl movie soundtrack and appeared on the Quincy Jones album, Q’s Jook Joint. A soundtrack recorded by Steve and Luke for the Showtime Movie, Riot, was released in the Spring of 1997.
STOMP was also featured in a number of commercials, including Coca Cola’s "Ice Pick" and numerous spots for both Target stores in the U.S. and Toyota in Japan.
STOMP also created the Mr. Frears’ Ears series of short films created for Nickelodeon, whilst Brooms, a 15-minute short based around the opening routine, was nominated for an Academy Award®. Brooms was also selected for screening at Robert Redford’s Sundance Festival and for competition at the Cannes Film Festival.
STOMP made a special appearance at the Academy Awards® in March 1996, with an original piece involving the live synchronization of classic film clips and onstage action, featuring 20 performers from all five productions.
In the summer of 1997, Steve & Luke created and directed STOMP Out Loud, a 45 minute television special for HBO, which combined stage material with new pieces created for TV. It premiered in the U.S. in December 1997 and subsequently received 4 Emmy® nominations, for direction, sound mixing, multi-camera editing, and art direction. 1998 saw the release of the STOMP Out Loud video and DVD around the world. Another unique blend of live action and film footage was created for the Emmy Awards®, in which STOMP effectively performed with Spike Jones!
STOMP performed after midnight on the steps of the Lincoln memorial at U.S. President Clinton’s Millennium celebrations. During 2000, a Sesame Street special, Let’s Make Music, a collaboration between STOMP and the Muppets, was released on TV and video in North America.
Luke and Steve began production of their IMAX movie PULSE: a STOMP Odyssey, in Brazil during Carnival 2000 and completed it in the summer of 2002. PULSE takes the IMAX audience on a spectacular global journey, featuring performances from Kodo, Timbalada, and Eva Yerbabuena. It was released to critical acclaim in New York in the autumn of 2002, and went on to win two major awards at the International Festival of La Geode in Paris.
In September 2002, STOMP finally entered London’s West End at the Vaudeville theater, and later that year STOMP performed as part of the Royal Variety Show for the second time.
2003 saw a new STOMP production open at the Stuart Street Theatre in Boston and a unique Dolby Digital trailer featuring STOMP performances debuted in cinemas across the globe.
In 2004 New York celebrated 10 years of continuous performances of STOMP at the Orpheum Theatre by renaming 2nd Avenue at 8th Street: STOMP Avenue.
In 2006, STOMP’s New York production passed its 5,000th performance mark. In the same year, Luke and Steve directed a public service announcement for television called "STOMP OUT LITTER," which featured the cast “sweeping up” at iconic locations in the five boroughs.
In addition, they were commissioned to create and produce the Lost and Found Orchestra, which takes the ideas behind STOMP to a symphonic level, in celebration of 40 years of the Brighton Festival. The LFO subsequently performed at the Sydney Opera House as part of the Sydney Festival early in 2007 and will be seen at the Royal Festival Hall in London at Christmas 2008.
In 2007, STOMP OUT LOUD opened in Las Vegas at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino with an expanded cast and performed inside a new $28 million theater specifically created for the production.
In 2008, STOMP returned to its roots for a new DVD shoot at the Brighton Dome Theatre, bringing together a cast from all over the STOMP world. For the first time the entire show has been captured in High Definition sound and video.
STOMP was created with the original UK cast:
Luke Cresswell, Nick Dwyer, Sarah Eddy, Theseus Gerard, Fraser
Morrison, David Olrod, Carl Smith, and Fiona Wilkes
STOMP is sponsored by Borden Perlman