Leilani Dibble, a 2003-12 cast member of Stomp who now lives, tends bar, and teaches at Bikram Yoga Durham in Durham, NC, will return to the show for four of its five performances on March 27-29 at the Durham Performing Arts Center in the American Tobacco Historic District of the Bull City. She’ll be filling in for Kris Lee, who has the weekend off.
Dibble says the rhythms are gonna get you — the infectious but heretofore unnoticed rhythms of everyday life at home and on the job — which Stomp captures and amplifies. Created in the summer of 1991 in Brighton, England, and still directed by Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas and produced in London, in New York City, and on tour by Columbia Artists Management Inc. et al., Stomp transforms common household and workplace objects into percussion instruments.
Cresswell and McNicholas created Stomp while performing as “buskers” (i.e., street entertainers) on the streets of Brighton. Luke Cresswell is a self-taught percussionist and a former member of Pookiesnackenburger, Great Britain’s premier busking/cabaret musical group. Steve McNicholas is an actor/musician/writer who has worked with Cliff Hanger Theatre Co., 7:84, Covent Garden Community Theatre, Pookiesnackenburger, and the Flying Pickets.
During its sell-out run at Sadler’s Wells in London’s West End, Stomp won a 1994 Olivier Award for Best Choreography. Stomp began its current sell-out run Off-Broadway at the Orpheum Theatre in New York City in February 1994. The most financially successful Off-Broadway show in history, Stomp won a 1994 OBIE Award Special Citation and a 1994 Drama Desk Award for being a “Unique Theatrical Experience.” The show’s first U.S. tour commenced in 1995.
“Stomp has been going on long enough that the younger generation might not know about it,” says 37-year-old singer, dancer, and musician Leilani Dibble. “It’s the original backyard, junkyard band. ‘Stomping’ is now considered a genre of dance.”
She adds, “Stomp is a show that makes music out of the mundane. We make music with everyday objects. By the end of the show, we hope to inspire people …” to find the rhythms in, and make music from, their lives.
“Even though there’s eight of us onstage, we do bring the audience in,” Dibble claims. “They end up being the ninth cast member.”
Besides Dibble, the other 11 members of the current Stomp touring company include John Angeles, Ivan Delaforce, Eric Fay, Andrés Fernandez, Cammie Griffin, Mike Hall, Delaunce Jackson, Alexis Juliano, Jeremy Price, Ivan Salazar, and Reggie Talley.
The show is so physically demanding, Dibble says, that the lineup changes with each performance. The show is different each night, Dibble says, “because of the different energies that the different cast members bring to the stage.”
She adds, “I’ll be performing Friday night, Saturday night, and both shows on Sunday. I’ll be playing ‘Cornish’ in the Sunday matinee and ‘Bin Bitch’ in the evening show.”
Leilani Dibble says the show’s eight “roles” were all named for the original performers of Stomp. Those roles, in alphabetical order, followed by brief descriptions from the show’s website, are: Bin Bitch (“Tough, no nonsense, and wields hammer handles like drum sticks.”); Cornish (“Comedy is her middle name”); Doctor Who (“Wild, crazy and likely to do unexpected things — but only once you get to know him”); Mozzie (“Ever-present and acrobatic[ — y]ou can’t get rid of him.”); Particle Man (“A warrior with stamina and a sharp sense of detail”); Potato Head (“The rock steady rhythmic center of the show”); Ringo (“Like his namesake, musical and laconic”); and Sarge (“Precise and determined, the leader of the group”).
Stomp is a marvelous mixture of music, movement, dance, and comedy. It employs stiff-bristle brooms, trashcans and their lids, hubcaps, tea chests, plungers, plastic bags, wooden poles, boots, and Zippo lighters as percussion instruments and props in an eye-opening series of rhythmic scenes. Every week, the producers must replace 30 brooms, 288 liters of water, 2 gallons of floor paint, 10 wooden poles, 40 newspapers, 20 lbs. of sand, 10 garbage can lids, 4 hammer handles, 1 block of chalk, 5 rolls of gaff tape, 2 ace bandages, 12 boxes of matches, 1 pedal bin, 10 booties, 1 tape measure, 7 garbage cans, 20 drum sticks, and 4 boxes of tissues.
Born in San Mateo, CA, near San Francisco, 37 years ago, Leilani Claire Dibble is a free spirit who loves to trip the light fantastic. “My mom took me to dancing school when I was 5, and I have never stopped dancing,” she says.
Dibble first saw Stomp in San Francisco as a high schooler, the year before she enrolled at the University of Hawaii to major in mathematics. She and a drummer friend were so taken with the show that they tried out for it. He got hired; she didn’t. She later tried out for the show in New York City. No luck.
Then on Jan. 20, 2003, the first day of spring semester at Bridgewater, MA, where Dibble had transferred from the University of Hawaii as part of a student exchange program, she auditioned for a new sit-down production of Stomp in nearby Boston. Auditioning for Messrs. Cresswell and McNicholas the third time was the charm. By then she knew how important personality and stage presence were to Stomp’s creators. “If you can move and play [musical instruments], that’s good for you as well,” she says.
Leilani Dibble was hired. “So,” she quips, “I dropped out of school and joined the circus.”
After nine months performing in Boston, Dibble went on tour with Stomp for three years. Then in the fall of 2007, she went to Las Vegas, NV, to open the new 16-cast-member Stomp Out Loud show at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino. While there, she went back to school as a chemistry major, with a minor in dance, at UNLV (University of Nevada, Las Vegas).
Dibble says, “The creators had to write an entirely new show [for Vegas] … and whittle it down to an hour and a half…. It was really cool to be the canvas that they painted on. Moreover, it was the first time — and probably the last time — that Stomp was expanded from an eight-person cast to a 16-person cast.”
Stomp Out Loud closed in 2010, and Leilani Dibble moved to Durham, but she’s been a “call-in, go-to girl” for the show ever since.
After performing internationally in Stomp since 2010, Dibble says, this weekend’s performances at the Durham Performing Arts Center are her first shows in America since 2010. She invites all of her fellow Triangle theatergoers to “Come out and see the show. It’s wicked good fun…. If you like rhythm and movement and comedy, come see Stomp. It’s the show’s first time in Durham, so that’s exciting.”
The New York Times claims, “Stomp is as crisp and exuberant as if it had opened yesterday,” The San Francisco Chronicle adds, “Stomp has a beat that just won’t quit!”
The Los Angeles Times calls Stomp “Electrifying!” and says the percussion extravaganza “triumphs in the infinite variety of the human experience.” And The Chicago Tribune salutes Stomp as “A phenomenal show! Bashing, crashing, smashing, swishing, banging and kicking — a joyous invention!”
Part of the sheer unadulterated delight of Stomp is discovering that just about any object, when properly wielded, can make a pleasing percussive sound. And some of the most expressive objects will come as a total surprise to the first-time viewer of this crowd-pleasing physical theater piece artfully illuminated by Steve McNicholas and Neil Tiplady.
Stomp is a unique theatrical experience. If you haven’t seen Stomp, by all means do so. If you have already seen this international sensation, you have probably already bought your ticket.
The Durham Performing Arts Center presents STOMP at 8 p.m. March 27, 2 and 8 p.m. March 28, and 1 and 6:30 p.m. March 29 at 123 Vivian St., Durham, North Carolina 27701, in the American Tobacco Historic District.
TICKETS: $35.25-$80.40 (including fees). Click here for DPAC Special Offers.
DPAC Box Office: 919-680-ARTS (2787), email@example.com, or http://www.dpacnc.com/events-tickets/where-to-buy.
Ticketmaster: 800-982-2787 or http://www.ticketmaster.com/venueartist/115558/2062372.
GROUP RATES (15+ tickets): 919/281-0587, Groups@DPACnc.com, or http://www.dpacnc.com/events-tickets/group-services.
VIDEO PREVIEW: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZqRm1R-Uwlk. TOUR CAST: http://www.stomponline.com/tour_performers.html.
DPAC NEWS RELEASE: http://www.dpacnc.com/news/detail/the-international-percussion-sensation-stomp-comes-to-dpac-from-march-27-to-march-29.
PRESENTER/VENUE: http://www.dpacnc.com/, https://www.facebook.com/DPACNC, https://twitter.com/DPAC, and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Durham_Performing_Arts_Center.
Stomp (1991 physical theater piece, created in Brighton, UK, and performed in the West End and Off Broadway since 1994): http://www.stomp.co.uk/ (Stomp International website), http://www.stomponline.com/ (Stomp USA website), http://www.lortel.org/ (Internet Off-Broadway Database), and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stomp_%28theatrical_show%29 (Wikipedia).
Luke Cresswell (creator and director): http://www.lortel.org/ (Internet Off-Broadway Database) and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luke_Cresswell (Wikipedia).
Steve McNicholas (creator and director): http://www.lortel.org/ (Internet Off-Broadway Database) and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_McNicholas (Wikipedia).
Leilani Dibble (cast member): http://www.lortel.org/ (Internet Off-Broadway Database), http://www.broadwayworld.com/people/Leilani-Dibble/ (BroadwayWorld.com page), https://myspace.com/teenieweeniewahine (restricted MySpace profile), https://www.facebook.com/leilani.dibble (Facebook page).
Robert W. McDowell has written articles for The News & Observer, The Raleigh Times, Spectator Magazine, CVNC, and Triangle Arts and Entertainment, all based in Raleigh. He edits and publishes two FREE weekly e-mail newsletters. Triangle Review provides comprehensive, in-depth coverage of local performing-arts events. (Start your FREE subscription by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org and typing SUBSCRIBE TR in the Subject: line.) McDowell also maintains a FREE list of movie sneak previews. (To subscribe, e-mail email@example.com and type SUBSCRIBE FFL FREE in the Subject: line.)