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At Shea's, 'Stomp' continues to find rhythm in everyday life

A music teacher once told me that there were two kinds of people in this world: those who clap on one and three, and those who clap on two and four.

He was referring to the soul in someone's rhythm -- the groove you find when on a dance floor, the way you drum on the steering wheel when blaring the radio, or the way you clap in an audience. Everyone's got a beat, he said. You just have to find it.

Enter "Stomp," the percussion-dance sensation that has been touring the world for nearly 20 years. The production that smacked down at Shea's Friday night for a weekend of performances is fantastic.

In case you haven't seen it on stage before, or perhaps missed the eight million television appearances in the last two decades, the show's goal is simple.

"Stomp" celebrates the rhythms that surround us every day, all day. The things that are naturally musical, and the sounds we can piece together to make our own music. If you can't find your footing after seeing this show, you might as well stay in bed.

The core of the show -- eight performers making music out of everyday objects -- remains the same as it did when it debuted off-Broadway at the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland. The still-popular off-Broadway run, London production and North American and European tours haven't quieted down yet. People still love the sounds they make.

This tour's cast brings a perfect chorus of percussive skills and entertaining characters.

Guy Mandozzi plays the sort of apprentice in the group, getting tossed around by the seven others the way a young brother would endure the teasing of his older siblings. Mandozzi is the show's comedic arch, but he makes his own fantastic music, too. His starring role in a number featuring rubber pipes brings out a fantastic melody in a show full of slams and taps.

John Sawicki, the foreman of the group, and Cammie Griffin, who brings an aggressive elegance to the set, are other highlights. (But really, no one is a dud. And the same goes for the routines).

Take the show's iconic push broom routine. What begins as an ordinary task, sweeping up dust, turns into a chorus of sweeps, swooshes, brisks and busks. These things that clean up our dirt also make incredible music. They evoke the silkiness of a brushed snare drum and the wisp of a newspaper.

A new routine featuring tractor tire inner tubes adds some choreographic bounce to the show, which is a smart and welcome change after so many years of likeminded bits. The classics are still there, including the fans' favorite chorus of Zippo lighters that never fails to impress, but thankfully so are newer pieces.

Because if you can find your beat in a broom, you can find it anywhere.



4 stars (out of 4)

Friday night in Shea's Performing Arts Center with additional performances at 4 and 8 p.m. today and 2 and 6 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $30-$50.    

Call 837-1410 or visit