“I’m probably going to be deaf when I get older,” said performer Guido “Guy” Mandozzi. “We have earplugs backstage, but you get used to it.”
He should know, having been with the show seven years this month. The London native will make his first-ever trip to Oklahoma when the touring production of Stomp hits the stage of Civic Center Music Hall on Tuesday night, kicking off a string of eight shows in six days.
Even after all these years of leaping, sweeping, clanging and banging, Mandozzi said he’s never tired of Stomp’s grueling physicality.
“It keeps fresh because there’s a lot of improvisation in the show and we all play different parts,” he said. “There’s quite a bit of audience participation. The vibe we get from the crowd drives us and feeds us. It can be different every night.”
With that, naturally, comes unpredictability.
He said brooms break on a nightly basis, and admitted to the occasional fall over a prop. One of the tour’s newer performers accidentally tumbled from atop the oil drums, in the routine in which the barrels double as shoes.
“That was a bit hairy,” Mandozzi said.
Recently incorporated into the show is a visually thrilling bit that finds the Stompers passing paint cans through the air.
“It’s really fun to do, just tossing cans at each other, hoping not to hit anybody,” he said. “There’s a lot of room for error.”
Amid sections involving Zippo lighters, Kleenex boxes and — yes — kitchen sinks, Mandozzi’s favorite props are his own hands and feet, in a choreographed number fueled by the performers using their bodies as percussion instruments.
That music drives the show instead of dialogue is one reason he believes Stomp remains a sensation 21 years after its creation.
“There’s no spoken-word in the show, so anybody can understand it,” Mandozzi said. “There’s something in it for everybody: humor, rhythm, music, dance. It’s just a feel-good show, y’know? It’s hard not to like.”