Stomp into Stranahan

. February 12, 2019.
Krystal Renée, a performer in Stomp, was first exposed to the show as a child in NYC.  Photo Credit: Colin Bennett.
Krystal Renée, a performer in Stomp, was first exposed to the show as a child in NYC. Photo Credit: Colin Bennett.

Since 1991, Stomp— the long-running stage percussion show featuring performers making music using unusual objects— has thrilled audiences, even inspiring some to later become cast members. This is the case for performer Krystal Renée, who was first exposed to Stomp while growing up in New York City.

“I remember seeing the ads forStomp when I was a kid, and I always thought it was cool because there were these performers that were using such energy and passion,” Renée said.

Now Renée has the chance to make young audience members feel the same way she did, as she works her fifth season as a member of Stomp’s touring cast.

Unlike any other

“Stomp is unlike any other show that you’ve seen. We make music out of objects that you wouldn’t, typically, consider instruments, like brooms, poles and metal trash cans. It’s a very unique show in that sense.”

Renée’s path to pounding trash cans and brooms on a nightly basis involved overcoming a lot of hardships along the way. Growing up, Renée’s love of theater and performance was tempered by her efforts to overcome physical limitations— she had major back surgery to correct scoliosis when she was 13.  “Because there was no longer this range of flexibility that I had in my spine— I got into stepping, and that sort of dance, you could call body percussion,” Renée said.

She kept up stepping throughout high school and college, building her physical strength alongside her experience and love of both theater and music.  “And I thought to myself, what’s a show that I might be able to do, that would suit me and my body, and some of the things that I’m interested in? And I remember saying to a friend who was in Lion King at the time— you know, the only show I’d like to do, that feels suitable for me, would be something like Stomp.”

Physically intense

Renée describes Stomp as an “extremely physically intense show,”  and that intensity extends to the theatrical side of the production, as well. No two performances of Stomp are ever truly the same. The show tours with a cast of 12 performers, eight of which perform on any given night, and each play a different “character” than the previous night.

“It is always different, and there is an element, because of that, of improvisation. Sometimes things break in the middle of the shows— actually, very commonly,” Renée said with a laugh. “A broom will break, or something like that will happen. And so you learn to continue to keep the music going.”

As a result, even five seasons into her run with the show, Renée has found that the show has led to her growing belief that music, and a love for it, is one of the common bonds that brings all of humanity together.

“We’ve traveled to different countries, being able to go even somewhere like Guatemala. The show has gone to Brazil— places where they may not speak my language, in terms of English. That doesn’t mean that we can’t speak the same language, in terms of rhythm.”

$34+. 7:30pm. Monday, February 25
and Tuesday, February 26.
Stranahan Theater,
4645 Heatherdowns Blvd.,
1-866-381-7469. stranahantheater.com