Artist Joshua Cruz on STOMP National Tour

STOMP’s punchy beats and electrifying performers have amazed audiences for 30 years, and the stage phenomenon is currently making its way across the United States on a nationwide tour! Mix dance and performance with music created using everyday objects, such as mdustbins, brooms, dustbins, Zippo lighters and more, STOMP is a unique experience not to be missed.

FALLThe next stop on her nationwide tour is at the Merriam Theater in Philadelphia on the Kimmel Culture Campus from Tuesday, December 28 through Sunday, January 2.

BroadwayWorld spoke with artist Joshua Cruz about his journey with STOMP, his favorite part of touring with the show and more!

For tickets for STOMP, CLICK HERE!

First of all, can you tell me about your background?

I started out as a drummer, actually! I grew up in church playing the drums, and that’s how I continued and later I had the chance to learn more about the drums. At church, I had a guy named Ricky who I watched all the time, and I was interested in learning to play the drums. And that’s how I started. Then I went to school, joined a band and also had the chance, because of my culture, to dance salsa. I loved dancing salsa on the weekends. So when I wasn’t playing drums in church, I was dancing salsa! And that’s kind of how it all came together for me to give it a try and join the STOMP show.

Very cool! How does it feel to be on tour with Stomp?

He feels good! This is my second year that I am doing it. The first year we couldn’t finish for obvious reasons, there was a pandemic that happened. So in March [2020], we were called to go home. But last September we had the chance again to train and condition ourselves and get back to it, pick up the pace, get back on stage with our other cast mates and do the show again! So that was a lot of fun. We have been touring the United States at the moment and our next stop is Philly!

Tell me what you do on the show!

There is dancing – but not everyone is dancing – there is drumming, we make music with everyday objects, and there is no conversation during the show. Teammates, we don’t talk at all, there are no lines, no scripts. The music is written. So how we are, how we act on stage, it’s just improvisation. There is a lot of improvisation in the show, which is quite interesting. I think a lot of people have seen the show, or heard of it, or at least seen an issue called “Brooms”. We start the show with ‘Brooms’, that’s where we all go out and say hello. And then we go from there to do other numbers.

There are a lot of different sounds that we have in the show, there are a lot of complex sounds, the show is not a loud show all the time. So you won’t have a headache during the show! There are times when you can lean in, listen to what we’re playing. There will also be a lot of public participation. And that’s how we ride! It’s a great show, it’s a really fun show.

I feel like a lot of people don’t know that the show is a lot of improvisation.

We all play a character, I play a character called Doctor Who. He plays a comedic role, and he provides that comedic relief during the show. The same goes for another character named Mozzie, he is one of the main comedians on the scene. We have the two daughters, we have Cornish, she’s a little eccentric. And we have another lady named Bin, she sort of holds it for the women on the show. We also have a male called Sarge. Sarge is basically the conductor of the show, we go based on his pace and dynamics within what he brings. We have Potato Head, Potato Head is Sarge’s best friend! They go there with the drum. We have Ringo, he’s a little more laid back. And we have Particle Man, Particle Man is a little fancy, he dances a lot, he does the flips.

So putting all of that together, I think everyone can relate to at least one of these characters that’s on stage. Not to mention in the show you see how these characters act, every show is different. The spectacle you would see on a Friday night is not the same as you would see on Saturday night. The music might be the same, but what happens – and how – on stage is improvisation. So, that’s what keeps the show pretty cool, even for us, the cast. One of my favorite things to do, mostly because I’m in a comedic role, I like to smash other characters, I like to make them laugh. It’s a fun experience. We also love to break the fourth wall and invite the audience to be a part of what we do. So if we clap, you clap, if we stomp, you all stomp. Whatever we do at some point in the series, you also have the chance to do that.

On this basis, how was the public reaction? It had been so long since we had been able to be together in any type of space, let alone a theater. So what has the public reaction been?

This is a 100% correct answer. I think we were the first salon to reopen in New York. So that was a great moment for us as performers because we wanted to be creative for a very long time and coming back to that stage really made us happy. For the public, the public continues to buy tickets! They really enjoy the show. The show has been around for about 30 years now. The audience always loves the show, they love to see what we’re doing. One of my favorite moments is if I’m not on the show sometimes I’m in the back to watch the show when I’m on tour. And I will notice people. Once they are gone I will notice the kids typing on things, notice the audience clapping and talking about the show. I like to hear the reactions of the public. It’s really fun to listen to, like a spy in the back! They really enjoy the show.

Absolutely, it’s super rewarding, I imagine. How does it feel for you personally to be back on stage after so long?

For me, personally, it went well. It’s really good to be back on stage. It was great to be around the cast as well. It’s great to be back on stage with the show, it’s something that I decided I wanted to do, I went to try it out, and now I’m back. Sometimes you forget and take it for granted, and when you don’t for a while you wish you could return to the show. So it feels good to be back. And the times that I wasn’t on the show, I would watch videos of me on the show, pictures of me on the show. It feels good to continue my STOMP journey. I’m also a photographer so I decided that on this tour I would take photos during the show for the casting. Because it sucked during the pandemic. Like you said, it’s super rewarding to know that we’re back on sage. We are delighted to be together as a group.

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