NEW YORK, NY.-
Stomp, the long-running off-Broadway show, will close in New York on Sunday after nearly 29 years onstage. We asked our critics and New York Times readers to share what the show has meant to them. Below are edited and condensed selections of their responses.
Oh, (New York) baby
Our first sons first show was Stomp, but when he showed up to see it on Labor Day weekend of 1994, management tried to turn him away. Perhaps thats because he was 6 months old. Stomp, an usher explained, less to the child than to his father, was a very loud, in-your-face experience, inappropriate for an infant in a BabyBjörn and Crayola-colored shoes. Nevertheless, father and son were grudgingly seated, in one seat. I was not there, but I can report with some confidence, based on family lore and my subsequent experience of their theater habits, that both enjoyed those parts of the show they didnt sleep through. For New York babies, and some adults as well, Stomp was just the sound of the city. JESSE GREEN
I first saw Stomp with my family about 16 years ago. When I saw that we were headed to a tiny East Village theater, I was immediately disappointed, convinced that Broadway was the be-all and end-all. So I responded as a typical teenager: I pouted, with my arms crossed, stubbornly refusing to enjoy it. A performer noticed, and made eye contact with me throughout the show, just as obstinately trying to make me laugh so much so that my parents noticed, too. The experience helped me realize that theater could be even more intimate, imaginative and experimental than the Midtown moneymakers. Im grateful to the performer who worked so hard to entertain a close-minded teen, and can now admit it: I liked Stomp. MAYA PHILLIPS
Good bone structure
I saw Stomp 17 years into its run, in 2011 meaning that as far as New Yorkers are concerned, the show was roughly 16 years past its expiration date. Living here, it often feels as if a production loses its cachet as soon as its drained the tristate audience and turns to visitors; not even Sleep No More or Hamilton are immune. Yes, everything ages and a productions original chemistry can dilute out, but many if not most of those tourist traps got positive reviews when they opened. They stuck around because they have a good bone structure that should be envied, not derided. ELISABETH VINCENTELLI
Never have I been so wrong
In early February of 1994, I was in London working as a choreographer, and I was invited to a performance (at Sadler Wells) in celebration of the production moving to New York City! I sat through Stomp and afterward, given that this was wordless, with a repetitive narrative (variations on one concept), declared that Stomp just wasnt commercial enough and would not last more than a couple of weeks in the big city. What do I know? A couple of years later I took my daughter to see it and, on a second viewing, realized how wrong I was or at least why Stomp has stomped the box office all these years. STEPHAN KOPLOWITZ, NEW YORK CITY
My friend and I took our 4-year-olds to see it 15 years ago. I live in the East Village and it is such a staple of the neighborhood. Its at the same theater that had the original Little Shop of Horrors. We all had the best time. The kids loved seeing people making noise and dancing with garbage can lids if I recall correctly. I cant even imagine anything else on that marquee but Stomp. EVA HEINEMANN, NEW YORK CITY
When my wife and I saw Stomp in 1995, we were bowled over by the sheer creativity of it all. What great clamor! Who knew people could get so much rhythm out of such mundane (and otherwise nonmusical) items as garbage-can lids and paper? It was brilliant, exciting and, for the cast, exhausting. The fact that these talented players (and their successors) could keep creating the magic, night after night, for nearly three decades speaks well for the creativity, resourcefulness and energy of the production team. JOHN POPE, NEW ORLEANS
I will miss it
After it was announced that the show would close, we got tickets for that Thursday matinee. I walked in curious, excited, and a little skeptical: Was it really that good? Should anything run this long? Well, I was rapt from the moment it began.
I was struck by the fact that there is something so pure and so human about Stomp its not only highly entertaining, but it taps (no pun intended) into an inherent human desire to play, discover, and devise. Every child taps an empty bottle, or crumples up some paper deriving pleasure and satisfaction from the creation and sensation of noise. I cant stop thinking about how beautiful it is to live in a world where those artists perform that show daily.
Like anything that runs that long, and seeps into the culture that deep, Stomp has become an institution, a landmark on the New York cultural scene. I will miss it, even though I only caught it in the final weeks of a three-decade run, because like the Chrysler Building or a taxicab it is New York. ROBERT RUSSO, NEW YORK CITY
This article originally appeared in The New York Times