Review: STOMP (Broadway in Chicago, 2016)

| December 2, 2016

Stomp by Broadway in Chicago, Broadway Playhouse - Hands and Feet - Trash Bins 2           


Created by Luke Cresswell, Steve McNicholas
Broadway Playhouse, 175 E. Chestnut (map)
thru Jan 1  |  tix: $39-$84  |  more info
Check for half-price tickets   


An exciting evening of pure energy and stagecraft


Stomp by Broadway in Chicago, Broadway Playhouse - Shopping Carts

Broadway in Chicago presents

Review by Lauren Whalen

In one of my favorite songs, the Avett Brothers compare the heart to a kick drum and love to a voice. If both are true, then STOMP is pulsating and pounding (to the point of bursting), and a loud rallying cry that refuses to cease. What began as a street performance in the UK has since grown to a worldwide phenomenon on both stage and Stomp by Broadway in Chicago, Broadway Playhouse - Trash Binsscreen (the latter: everything from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood to the Academy Awards) with a diverse, passionate and wildly talented lineup. Last Sunday night was my first time at STOMP and as I left electrified and inspired, I sincerely hope it won’t be my last!

According to the press release, STOMP has had four productions worldwide: an ongoing engagement at New York’s Orpheum Theatre, a permanent company in London, and tours in North America and Europe. The show is an intermission-less hour and forty-five minutes of pure energy and stage craft. No special effects, just movement and music with ordinary household objects. (Director and co-creator Luke Cresswell describes the show as “[performers making] a rhythm out of anything we can get our hands on that makes a sound.”) Zippo lighters become a visual symphony, newspapers a nonverbal comedic sketch. Kitchen sinks make water and clang, boots make noise on the ground, hands clap and fingers snap. And above all, there are drums on every available surface: buckets of all shapes and sizes, the walls of the graffitied set, the stage itself. Using only affirmative grunts, nonverbal cues and a physical sync that’s truly remarkable, the company (dancers, musicians, producers, STOMP vets and newbies alike) moves as a cacophonous whole, one continuous and mesmerizing burst of energy.

Nancy Rubio in Stomp, Broadway in Chicago 2016 Stomp by Broadway in Chicago, Broadway Playhouse - TrolleysStomp by Broadway in Chicago, Broadway Playhouse - Walkers

This STOMP features old favorites (unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably seen the show’s innovative use of push brooms), as well as two new acts. The cast is a well-oiled machine of energy and passion, with impressive bios. Alexis Juliano was a finalist on So You Think You Can Dance and an accomplished tap dancer, while Guido Mandozzi is a London theater school alum. One performer, Artis Olds, is a Chicago native who got his start as head drum major of the Central State University Marching Band, and has since performed with Kanye West, John Legend and The Roots. Each company member is an essential cog, standing out on their own while contributing to the wild and wonderful group effect that is STOMP.

The night I went to the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place, it was packed with audience members of all ages and backgrounds, hooting appreciatively and clapping (though sometimes not in sync, to the company members’ comic disappointment). Now more than ever, art is an essential unifying experience as well as a form of escapism and self-care. STOMP is a tangible reminder that creativity is alive and kicking, even when the current political climate seeks to suppress it with fear. Take your friends, take your family and remind them and yourself that when life seems its saddest, we have our voices and our beating hearts to sustain us.

Rating: ★★★½

Stomp! continues through January 1st at Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place, 175 E. Chestnut (map).  Tickets are $39-$84, and are available by phone (800-775-2000) or online through (check for half-price tickets at More information at or time: 1 hour 45 minutes, no intermission)

Stomp by Broadway in Chicago, Broadway Playhouse 1

Photos by Steve McNicholas




John Angeles, Jonathon Elkins, Alexis Juliano, Kris Lee, Guido Mandozzi, Artis Olds, Manny Osoria, Jeremy Price, Krystal Renée, Ivan Salazar, Cade Slattery, Reggie Talley, Carlos Thomas

behind the scenes

Luke Cresswell (director, co-creator), Steve McNicholas (co-creator, photographer)


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Category: 2016 Reviews, Broadway in Chicago, Broadway Playhouse, Dance, Lauren Whalen, National Tours, Performance Art - Circus, Video, YouTube

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