Thursday, October 21, 2021

Super Fan Bowlegged Lou of Full Force Pays Homage to STOMP and its 25th Anniversary

stomp posters
The Stomp playbills. Stomp is one of the longest playing Off Broadway shows in New York history

*Hey everybody, Bowlegged Lou of Full Force comin’ atcha.

STOMP is 1 of my most consistent joys in my life. Yes, I’ve had some great joys and great moments in my entertainment life. Yes, I’m part of the performing, songwriting and music producing group called Full Force who’ve written and produced for folk like James Brown, Patti LaBelle, Rihanna, Fergie & Black Eyed Peas, Faith Evans, Sheila E, Samantha Fox, Selena, Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake & NSYNC, Bob Dylan, Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam, UTFO, Cheryl Pepsii Riley, Nicki Minaj, Lil Kim, Kurtis Blow and others.

Yes, I’ve co-starred as the squeaky voiced bully named Pee-wee in the classic hit movies House Party 1 and House Party 2 with Martin Lawrence, Queen latifah and Kid & Play BUT…..STOMP is 1 of my most consistent joys of my life. 210 times of consistent joy.

So this year is the year. My all time favorite stage show …… The Off-Broadway smash-hit show….STOMP !!! Stomp is celebrating its 25th Anniversary at the Orpheum Theater. I have seen the show 210 times. YUP, I kid you not.

Stomp has been part of my life from the first time I’ve seen it till now and the future. Stomp was first created in the UK by Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas. They are Super Creative Geniuses in my opinion who were street performers with a theatrical and percussion background as well.

This show features a unique combination of percussion, movement and visual comedy with eight characters on stage (men and women) performing with their acrobatic hands & their feet stomping, dancing, moving, shaking and baking while also performing with Brooms and Broomsticks, Giant Mops,Cigarette Lighters, Basketballs, Garbage Cans, Swings, Rafts, Matchboxes, Drums, Running Water Faucets, Garbage Bags & more. Every time I see Stomp, I see something different in it. It’s one of the most amazing,creative entertaining,incredible precision-timed shows I’ve ever seen in my life.

stomp - cast & bowlegged lou
Bowlegged Lou with Fiona Wilkes-Mills, Marivaldo Dos Santos, Camille Armstrong, Stephanie Marshall, Keith Middleton & Ray Poitier(Kneeling)

Stomp opened in 1994 at the Orpheum Theater in New York City and has been there ever since for 25 glorious Stomp filled years. Stomp won both an Obie award and a drama desk award for most unique theater experience during its first New York run in 1994. Stomp has won so many more Awards and has been performing all over the world with various interchangeable cast members throughout its inception. Did I tell you that I personally saw Stomp 210 times and counting?

The cast members past and present and future are all phenomenal and I’ve made friends with a number of them throughout the years. Fiona Wilkes-Mills is the rehearsal director for both the New York City & the U.S. National Touring Company. She is an OG/original from the inception of Stomp. She originated the character of the Bin Bitch as she brought the funk & the fire to the original cast. Fiona is the reason why so many other Stomper women even have a reference to perform the Bin Bitch role.

One of those talented Stomp women goes by the name of Fritzlyn Hector who’s one of my favorite Stomp performers and dear friend for so many years. She is the one that told me so much about Fiona Wilkes Mills. Fritzlyn is from Brooklyn and she’s been in Stomp since 1999 performing the characters of Bin Bitch, Cornish and Particle. Fritzlyn it’s such a great talent and has also trained many of the current cast members with Carlos Thomas who is another phenomenal seasoned Stomper for 20 years. Fritzlyn is currently an artistic director of her company Fritzation experience while being a rehearsal director of The Forces of Nature Dance Theater Company and she’s also a dance professor and co-director of dance at Long Island University Post.


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Five pictorial shades of Stomp Vet Fritzlyn Hector who was also one time the CoverGirl of the Stomp PlayBill program

One of my other favorite cast members goes by the name of Keith “Wildchild” Middleton who is a versatile, quadruple talented threat who played the hilarious character of Doctor Who. He’s my favorite Doctor Who of all time. Keith is also a talented artist, musician, spoken word artist and composer. He has a great album on sale now entitled “Transitions.”

Words from another one of my favorite Stomp performers Ray Poitier:

“It’s hard to explain my journey with Stomp. If I had to use words, I would compare it to a roller coaster ride of pure excitement. The ups & downs, the good and bad, and the twists & turns within the journey, were worth it all.

“One of the things that I honor most throughout this journey are the relationships that were developed with the other cast members, that are (to this day) still my brothers and sisters. We were able to take the audience on the same ride we were feeling. Now looking back after 25 yrs of a successful run of the Stomp show, I am honored to say I was a part of this family.”

The characters of Stomp go by the unique names of: Potato Head, Sarge,The Hilarious Mozzie, Particle Man, Ringo, Dr Who, Cornish & of course Bin Bitch.


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Lou in The Stomp mood of red inside the Orpheum Theater in New York City

I have to give a shout out to some of my favorite Stomp performers ever – past/present – and they are:

Marivaldo Dos Santos The 1 hand stand man, Anthony Sparky Sparks, Stephanie Marshall, Mindy Haywood, Alan A.Asuncion, Reggie Talley, Raquel Horsford, Camille Armstrong, Fiona Wilkes Mills, Carlos Thomas, Keith Middleton, Ray Poitier and of course Fritzlyn Hector.

Honorable mention to three new cast members: Briana Butler, Kayla Cowart & Jasmine Joyner.

I love every cast member past and present who’s ever jumped on that Stomp stage but the ones I named is just some of my favorites, that’s all.

Some years ago the New York Times did an entertainment article on me called “Society of Repeat Attendees.” The article was about my repeated love for STOMP. Stomp’s publicist Jackie Green was the one to set it up after getting feedback from the box office about the million times I’ve been there to see the show.

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Bowlegged Lou as the cover story of the entertainment section in the New York Times for being a repeat attendee attending Stomp for at that time 75 times but since then 210 times and counting.

Stomp’s publicist Jackie Green says these words:

“I’ve been working w STOMP for 25 years- its life in the US/New York. My company is Boneau/Bryan-Brown.  Every time I watch I find something new, whether it’s the talent of a new cast member, a new gag or a new bit. When I first saw STOMP in London in the fall of 1993, I loved it and was fairly sure it would do well critically and popularly, but I’d be lying if I said I predicted 25 years – and more. I have been to The Acropolis in Athens and to The Oscars in Hollywood with it. I think those two  ends of the culture spectrum capture its enduring appeal.”

As I come to a Bowlegged close of this proud article, I continue to reflect … I’ve taken so many friends and family to see Stomp through the years and I will continue to do so. Out of 210 performances, I think I’ve only been comped twice to see Stomp for gratis while now paying a friendly discount price for the past year & a half that makes me feel like a true Stomp Family member. One of my biggest wishes in the world that is in my bucket list is to one day learn to do at least one routine and perform it with the cast of Stomp. I can die and go to Stomp heaven after that.  *Bowlegged Lou*

Anyway please check out this tribute video I did for Stomp !!!




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