STOMP thunders back into Costa Mesa

STOMP — the international percussion sensation — returns to Orange County Tuesday to Oct. 14 at Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa.

STOMP's "Tour of the Americas," which includes performance dates in North and South America, launched in September with two new full-scale routines, cast member Mike Silvia said. Since then, the show has stomped through Montana, Arkansas and Louisiana. California stops include San Luis Obispo, Escondido, Bakersfield and then Costa Mesa.

The about 108-minute show features a unique combination of percussion, movement, visual comedy and theatrics.

And of course, STOMP will not be without its signature, unconventional percussion instruments, such as stiff-bristle brooms, trash cans, wooden poles, pots and pans, Zippo lighters, radiator hoses, boots, hub caps, and even bananas.

"The show has been recently revamped," Silvia said in a phone interview. "So, we have a lot of new surprises in the show even though it's been going on for 21 years now."

In addition to iconic crowd pleasers like "Brush," "Suspension" and "Cans and Bins," there are two new pieces on the tour.

"Paint Cans" — brought back for a second season — is a percussion and juggling act with paint cans, Silvia said.

"There's another one called 'Doughnuts,' where we strap these tractor tire inner tubes around our bodies," he said. "We kind of make shapes with them and we do a type of taiko drumming on them. Taiko is a Japanese style of drumming where they use long sticks."

The 2012 tour cast is comprised of eight performers who do not speak, but rather use their bodies to communicate in a contemporary form of rhythmic expression.

"A lot of people come and see the show and they come up to us afterward and say this is one of the best casts they've seen in a long time, which is nice to hear, because there have been so many casts," Silvia said.

While most of the STOMPers have a music background or are musicians, other cast members are actors, singers, writers, tumblers and dancers of all different styles — ballet, tap, hip hop, jazz and modern — according to longtime dancer and STOMP trainer Stephanie Marshall.

Silvia, who has been STOMPing for more than eight years, comes from a musical background. However, he left behind much of his traditional drumming technique when he started playing on household items.

"It took me a long time to learn how to play on trash because it's not easy," he said with a laugh. "The audience sees our instruments for their face value, which are pots and pans, trash cans and stuff like that. But, after we're done with them, they look at them and say, 'Oh my gosh I had no idea that thing was going to sound like a drum.'"

STOMP co-creators and directors Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas were both performance artists and musicians in England.

"Luke Cresswell, he has this black notebook," Silvia said. "And inside of it he has all of these concepts that he writes down. He thinks of these things himself. He really is a brilliant man.

"Then, he finally takes something and he molds it together and keeps molding it and keeps molding it until you have a number. It's a really long process. It's a very creative process."

In addition to the performance, Segerstrom Center will hold "STOMPing Grounds" — a non-traditional drumming experience in Founders Hall available 75 minutes before each STOMP performance.

Urban percussion performer and Segerstrom Center Arts Teach artist Andrew Grueschow will lead a jam with similar props used in the show and will turn any ticket holder into an unofficial "STOMPer."

"People try to create numbers all of the time, Silvia said. "Go on YouTube and look up 'STOMP.' "That's why the show has been around so long because these [creators] have been able to take numbers and put them into really impressive routines. People are inspired by them and driven to do something like that."

Patrons can also participate in the "STOMP Out Hunger Food Drive."

They are encouraged to bring canned goods and place them in collection containers at all performances. Cans will be donated to Second Harvest Food Bank, which helps feed more than 240,000 individuals each month, Segerstrom Center officials said.

"It [STOMP] is something that everyone can relate to because anyone can grab a pen or anything next to them and just start tapping rhythm," Marshall said in a phone interview. "I think it's something that many people do naturally, but maybe never thought of it as music.

"It's this sort of glorification of those days as a child you were pulling out pots and pans. It's sort of the grown up, sophisticated development. The discovery never ends."

Twitter: @TheDailyPilot

If You Go

What: STOMP "Tour of the Americas"

When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Oct. 12; 2* and 7:30 p.m. Oct. 13; and 1 and 6:30 p.m. Oct. 14 (*will include audio description for patrons with visual impairments)

Where: Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa

Tickets: Tickets start at $20

Information: (714) 556-2787 or

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