Bang a Can: Auditioning for 'Stomp' For some it's a dream job: banging on cans and making music with metal. The cast of the musical Stomp gets to combine percussion and dancing, but it's tough to find people who combine those skills. Robert Smith attended auditions for the touring company to see what makes a good "stomper."
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Bang a Can: Auditioning for 'Stomp'

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Bang a Can: Auditioning for 'Stomp'

Bang a Can: Auditioning for 'Stomp'

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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For some, it's a dream job: banging on cans and making music with scrap metal. Cast members of the off-Broadway musical "Stomp" combine percussion with dancing, so the show needs people with both talents to show up at its auditions in New York.

(Soundbite of audition)

Unidentified Man #1: All right. So, as we said, we're going to teach you just a six-bar piece. We're going to show it to you, then we're going to slowly teach it to you, and in a half-hour you'll be doing the same thing. All right? So just watch.

(Soundbite of dance steps)

Mr. STEVE McNICHOLAS: Perfect cast member is someone who has a great sense of rhythm...

Mr. LUKE CRESSWELL: Just looking for interesting personalities, characters.

Mr. McNICHOLAS: ...good coordination, some kind of innate rhythmic ability.

Mr. CRESSWELL: Usually what you think is the perfect "Stomp"er is not.

Unidentified Man #1: Try to elongate that space without the clap as long as possible. Do-do-do-do-gap, ba-bum, ba-bum, ba-bum. Yeah?

Mr. CRESSWELL: I'm Luke Cresswell.

Mr. McNICHOLAS: Steve McNicholas. I'm the...

Mr. CRESSWELL: of "Stomp"...

Mr. McNICHOLAS: of "Stomp"...

Mr. CRESSWELL: ...and occasionally still performing as an old man.

(Soundbite of dance steps)

Mr. CRESSWELL: It's usually someone who comes in who's slightly eccentric, has a great sense of rhythm, and they're the ones that have a great character that stand out that will work in the show.

Mr. McNICHOLAS: Great sense of humor.

Mr. CRESSWELL: Or it's someone that's, you know--is OK at drumming, but they've been a doorman, or they've been a bouncer or something, and they've got a great attitude. And they come on, and they will work in "Stomp."

(Soundbite of foot stomps)

Mr. MICHAEL CUTEMAN(ph): My name is Michael Cuteman. I'm auditioning for the off-Broadway and national tour of "Stomp."

(Soundbite of foot stomps)

Mr. CUTEMAN: And I love, you know, crashing out rhythms with my feet. So I'm going to see if I can do it with the rest of my body, too.

Mr. KURT RIFLER(ph): My name is Kurt Rifler. I'm here to audition for "Stomp," so I'm standing out here with 200 people in a line that wraps around the corner.

Unidentified Woman: I am a trained percussionist, but I also have 15 years' martial arts experience...

Unidentified Man #2: I have experience with dance and some improv, and I'm a drummer by trade.

Unidentified Man #3: My teachers have been yelling at me since I was five years old, `Stop banging on things.' So...

(Soundbite of tapping)

Mr. JOHN ENGLE: I am, A, John Engle; B, a professor; C, spaceman; D, turbo (unintelligible) and/or, E, all the above. There's a constant rhythm going in my mind, and I cannot make it stop, so might as well convert that energy into something useful, like "Stomp." Ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch.

Unidentified Man #4: Chris Bower(ph), Elot Simon(ph) right here.

Mr. CRESSWELL: We had one guy turn up with size, like, 55 clown boots on, you know, which was very funny, but he wasn't funny, which is maybe why he was wearing them. So it was very funny for us to watch, but it was very sad for him because, apart from wearing the big clown boots, there was nothing interesting about him at all.

(Soundbite of banging)

Mr. MATTHEW POLLOCK: My name is Matthew Pollock. I'm a former cast member of "Stomp." I will be helping run these auditions.

(Soundbite of banging)

Mr. POLLOCK: They're garbage can lids with the webbing on top, so you can hold them in your hand.

Unidentified Man #5: OK?

Mr. POLLOCK: Keep them nice and out from you. If you take a nipple or a stomach or under a leg or anything in them, it's more than painful.

(Soundbite of banging)

Mr. McNICHOLAS: Yeah, the tall girl in the blue top, she's great. She looks quirky and interesting and fun, and she's good. She's everything that "Stomp" represents. Perfect.

Ms. ALISON BLANCHARD(ph): I'm Alison Blanchard, and the best day of my life just happened. I just made it for the next call-back, and I am very, very excited to be coming back. I'm not cut yet.

Mr. CRESSWELL: Whether she gets the job or not, I don't know, but she's very good.

SIEGEL: An audio postcard from NPR's Robert Smith, who attended the New York auditions for the touring company of the musical "Stomp."

(Soundbite of banging)

SIEGEL: This is NPR, National Public Radio.

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