The Blue Man Group Adds Color to the Theatre District

Posted January 7, 2014 by Cheryl Fenton in Theater & Arts
The Blue Man Group; credit: David Hawe

Usually when I’m positioned to have marshmallows biffed off my head, paint splashed on my shirt or chewed up pieces of Cap’n Crunch cereal all over me, I’m also positioned to be angry. But at The Blue Man Group, I’m perfectly happy. After all, that’s what ponchos are for.

If you haven’t heard of this three-man team of percussion-loving blue “humanoids,” open your window and breathe in the air. You’ve been inside for too long.

This is high-energy fun at its best. And it only takes three bald guys in blue paint to do it. Trying to explain this beloved stage show is like trying to explain the fascination with planking or selfies. It just is. Go with it.

Set in the Theatre District’s Charles Playhouse (a favorite intimate venue of mine), the show is 90 minutes of music, movement, and non-stop “what the hell.” An important thing to note about show time: Ninety minutes is longer than you think and there’s no intermission, so if you have to use the restroom, do it before you sit down.

Giant beach balls and toilet paper

Giant beach balls and toilet paper. Photo courtesy of the Blue Man Group.

Poking fun at cultural obsessions is what the Blue Man Group does best. Actually, what they do best is create some incredible beats, backed by a four-piece live band, on paint-splashing drums and crazy instruments like huge tubes. But the jokes at society’s expense are a close second. Expect a lot of iPhone, texting, and Tweeting comedy here. It starts with your attention on three sarcastic dueling LED signs. The frustrating challenge of reading the scrolling trio is itself a message — we have too much going on in today’s overloaded environment. Another quick note: This is also a great place to embarrass your friend, so get your birthday buddy’s name up there by letting them know when you buy tickets.

It’s not all about shaming our big scary world through the eyes of their “alien” simplicity. There’s a sweet side to the BMG, a naivety as they try to woo a member of the audience with a romantic dinner of Twinkies (thank goodness that $410 million deal came through to save Twinkies, or they would have had to use Nutri-Grain bars — not as sexy). Yes, I said audience member. There’s a possibility you will be pulled on stage. So get your game face on as they stroll through the audience looking for victims. I can’t remember: will you get picked if you look them in the eye or avert your eyes? Good luck with that.

If you figured you’ve already seen the men in blue and think there’s nothing left to see, think again. I saw the show 10 years ago and today’s version is very different. I watched huge iPhones dangling from the ceiling and got quick lessons on vision and DNA. The only sadness on my part was the exclusion of their version of Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit” from the first show I saw years ago, but it was replaced with Lady Gaga. But my inner diva happily pushed my inner hippie aside.

I was also thriled to see they still had the famed beach-ball-and-toilet paper pull-down finale. An ironic audience participation activity for a group who has just had no bathroom break.

With morning, afternoon, and evening shows available, there’s no need to be blue.



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