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Stomp

If you read a description of “Stomp” it’s hard not to think it’s endless array of loud noise and obnoxious banging, the likes of which will give you a headache until next week. But wow would you be wrong. The idea behind Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas’ show — to use everyday objects such as garbage cans, newspapers and brooms to make music — has produced the most financially successful off-Broadway show in history, and spawned a North American tour that has been running non-stop since 1995.

 

Miami native Raymond Poitier with is part of the eight-member troupe. We sat down with Poitier for some silly questions about making noise, doubling for Martin Lawrence and his cousin Sidney.

Okay, be honest: Isn’t “Stomp” just a bunch of loud noise?

Poitier: It’s not just noise, trust me. I met a classical pianist in New York who was famous in the New York Philharmonic, and he said to me: “Ray, I didn’t know the show would be so amazing. I thought it would be a bunch of noise, but I heard a lot of dynamics in there.” It was a real thrill to hear that. We switch things up in the show too: there are comedic routines and other things happening on different levels as well.

Nearly 20 everyday objects are used in each show. What do you use?

Everything including a kitchen sink. Brooms, matches, pots and pans, candles, you name it. Sometimes the crew guys find things in junk yards and they’re ready to go that night. We even use our own bodies for music. Anything you can think of we’re making music out of.

What’s the strangest sound you’ve ever made?

Wow, tough question. I never really think about that. I’d say music with plungers. People think these are special plungers we use, but they’re real, ordinary plungers up there on stage making music. The kitchen sink stuff is also amazing –  it’s the strangest way I’ve ever made music.


Sidney Poitier is your cousin. What did he tell you about show business?

He always tells me to keep trying and keep up the good work. He believes everyone has obstacles in life they have to conquer themselves, and I’ve had some obstacles, persevered and kept going. I’ve heard similar things from Quincy Jones and other stars as well. Just keep doing it.

You were Martin Lawrence’s stand-in and photo double for the first “Bad Boys” movie (1995). Tell me something horrible that he did or said to you.

(Laughs) Martin was an amazing guy. He sat down with us and gave me good advice: it’s a tough business, but if you really want it keep your head up and stay focused. He was very professional. Sometimes with a comedian you’d think he’d be crazy, but he’s really down to earth.

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