STORY WRITTEN BY RITA CHARLESTON/For 21st Century Media
“Stomp,” the international percussion sensation, returns to Philadelphia for a holiday engagement, Dec. 26 through Dec. 30 at the Merriam Theatre.
From its beginnings as a street performance in the UK, “Stomp” has toured the globe, winning rave reviews and numerous awards, including an Olivier Award for Best Choreography, a New York Obie Award, a Drama Desk Award for Unique Theater Experience, and more.
The performers “make a rhythm out of everything we can get our hands on that makes a sound,” says co-founder/director Luke Cresswell. One of those performers is Cammie Griffin, who adds that once the show is over, audience members often leave the show looking for things they can use to make musical sounds with.
Griffin had always loved music and studied gymnastics and dancing since a very young age. But not seeing those things as viable career moves, went on to study chemistry in college with an eye to becoming a pharmacist. And that’s exactly what she did after graduation, until a phone call from her brother changed her life.
“He called me from Las Vegas, where he was living and working, and told me I shouldn’t be wasting my talents,” Griffin remembers. “He said they were auditioning for ‘Stomp’ and that I should try for a part in the show.”
Griffin says she had never auditioned for anything before, and without so much as a headshot or resume, decided to take he brother’s advise and head to Las Vegas.
“I really just went to see what I might have to do for future auditions if I decided to go that route,” she explains. “I just went for the experience, not really expecting anything, but then I was offered a part in the show.”
She played in the show in Las vegas for two years, and then joined the traveling tour. The show includes an eight-member troupe that uses unconventional instruments from brooms and garbage cans to hubcaps and bananas.
“Most people who come to the show say, ‘Hey, I have that in my kitchen. I can do that,’” Griffins laughs.”And they probably can since everyone can relate to the sound and movement of everyday things. I believe the show has lasted so long because of that and because there are no language barriers. It’s just pure sound, movement and fun!”
The young performer adds that once you see the show your life will never be the same. “I think that’s when everybody realizes in life there’s always a beat, like your heart beat which is always there and always constant. And finding the rhythm in everyday life makes you capable of making music out of everything – if you put your mind to it.”