Boogie Stomp claims it is a two hour musical adventure of past and present piano masters who shaped the music of today. Written by John Campana, this show promises an exciting, “get-up-and-dance” experience, while taking an historical and academic tour of American music. While it is certainly exciting and dance-worthy, the show fails to deliver any sort of lasting knowledge and instead feels more like a college course fused with an episode of VH1’s Behind The Music.
The show begins with the highly talented pianists, Bob Baldori and Arthur Migliazza, taking the stage at the Elektra Theater in front of their grand pianos with their backs to the audience. We are immediately entertained with their incredibly advanced musical skills and the promise of a good time begins to glint on the horizon until, they stop playing. The show becomes a weird mix of their long list of (albeit, impressive) musical venues they’ve sold out at or the stars they have played with during their careers and what sounds like a poorly planned final thesis presentation. We are told we are going to learn about how boogie, jazz and the blues paved the way for music today and are even given three points in which it all breaks down into; however, this lesson doesn’t occur. The attempt is made to infuse education into the show by use of projections and informational monologues, but is blended with anecdotes of Mr. Baldori’s experience with Chuck Berry and the weird sexual tension that comes from Mr. Migliazza’s attempt to woo the cougars in the audience by asking them for rent money and sharing his Tinder profile.
Overall, there is certainly no shortage of talent with these gentlemen. You definitely want to get up and dance with a lot of their music. You want to participate, hoot, holler and bark (yes, bark) but sitting in the dark in the back of the house you are immediately removed from their set. You want to be at a pub table with a drink in hand and lowered inhibitions; unfortunately, the seating at the Elektra Theater just does not lend itself to this.
If you are looking for exciting piano players and impressive harmonica skills, come out to the show; on the other hand, you can probably find a little hole in the wall bar on the L.E.S. with talented pianists and use the money you saved on tickets prices to buy another round of drinks.
Review By: Renee Demaio