Blue Man Group

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Blue Man Group
Formation1987; 36 years ago (1987)
TypeTheatre group
PurposePerformance art, music
Location
Websiteblueman.com

Blue Man Group is an American performance art company formed in 1987. It was purchased in July 2017 by the Canadian company Cirque du Soleil.[1][2][3] Blue Man Group is known for its stage productions, which incorporate many kinds of music and art, both popular and obscure.[4] Its performers, known as Blue Men, have their skin painted blue. They are mute during shows and always appear in groups of three.

The company has continuing shows in Berlin, Boston, Chicago, Las Vegas and New York City. A typical production employs seven to nine full-time Blue Men who are selected by audition. In addition to their stage shows, Blue Man Group has toured nationally and internationally, appeared on TV programs as characters and performers, released multiple studio albums, contributed to a number of film scores, and performed with orchestras around the United States.

History[edit]

Blue Man Group grew out of a collaboration of three close friends, Chris Wink, Matt Goldman and Phil Stanton, on Manhattan’s Lower East Side in 1987. Its first public appearance was a celebration of the end of the 1980s. The three wore blue masks and led a street procession that included the burning of a Rambo doll and a piece of the Berlin Wall.[5] MTV's Kurt Loder covered the event, drawing attention to the group. What began as creative "disturbances" on the city's streets became a series of small shows at downtown clubs, and eventually a full performance at the Astor Place Theatre in 1991.[6]

Themes[edit]

Blue Man performances have a number of themes, including:[7]

  • Science and technology, especially the topics of plumbing, fractals, human sight, DNA, and the Internet
  • Information overload and information pollution, such as when the audience is asked to choose one of three simultaneous streams of information to read
  • Innocence, as when the Blue Men appear to be surprised and perplexed by common artifacts of modern society or by audience reactions
  • Self-conscious and naïve imitation of cultural norms, such as attempting to stage an elegant dinner of Twinkies for an audience member; or following the Rock Concert Instruction Manual with the expectation that following instructions is all it takes to put on a rock concert
  • Rooftops, or climbing to the top, a metaphor for the directive that Stanton, Wink and Goldman drew from Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers's PBS program The Power of Myth, namely "following your bliss".[7]

Theatrical productions[edit]

Astor Place Theatre with marquee for the group

Current productions[edit]

Germany

  • Berlin at the Bluemax Theater (2006–present)

United States

Touring shows

  • World Tour (2016–present) – a celebration of life in full color
  • Speechless Tour (2019–present)

Previous productions[edit]

Australia

  • Sydney at the Sydney Lyric Theatre (2013)

Austria

Canada

Germany

Japan

  • Tokyo at the Roppongi Invoice Theatre (2007–2009)
  • Tokyo at the Roppongi Blue Man Theatre (2010–2012)

Netherlands

  • Amsterdam at the Theater Fabriek (2006–2007)

Norwegian Cruise Line

Sweden

Switzerland

United Kingdom

United States

  • Live at Luxor in Las Vegas (2000–2005)
  • "How to be a Megastar" national arena "rock concert" tour (2003)
  • Las Vegas, Nevada at The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino (2005–2012)[13]
  • "How to be a Megastar 2.0" (2006)
  • Orlando at the Blue Man Group Theatre at Universal Orlando Resort's CityWalk (2007–2021)[14]
  • North America (2010–2016)
  • Las Vegas at the Blue Man Theatre at Park MGM (2012–2015)
  • DECA International Career Development Conference, Orlando, Florida (April 27, 2019)[15]

Music and tours[edit]

In 1999, the group released Audio, their first studio recording. Although it contained some of the music from their stage productions, it was chiefly a collection of full-length instrumentals featuring new instruments.

In 2002, the group participated in Moby's Area2 tour, giving a more rock-oriented performance than in the theatrical shows. Songs developed during this tour appeared on 2003's album The Complex.

Unlike Audio, The Complex, released in 2003, featured a variety of vocalists and guests including Tracy Bonham, Dave Matthews, Gavin Rossdale and Venus Hum. The record spawned its own 2003 tour, "The Complex Rock Tour," the first headlined by Blue Man Group. The tour deconstructed the traditional rock concert experience into its often clichéd parts and was chronicled in a 2004 DVD release. The tour featured Tracy Bonham and Venus Hum as supporting acts. The DVD included a surround sound mix of some of the studio recordings.

Blue Man Group launched its second tour, "How to Be a Megastar Tour", on September 26, 2006. It featured some new material as well as material from the original Complex Rock Tour, and featured Tracy Bonham as opening act and vocalist. DJ/VJ Mike Relm was the opening act for the tour's second leg, which ended April 22, 2007 in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. The third leg of the tour began in May 2007 and included performances in Mexico City, Guadalajara, and Monterrey, Mexico; Buenos Aires, Argentina; São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and Santiago, Chile. The fourth leg, using "2.1" in its title, included more U.S. and Canada dates. The tour visited France, Korea, Canada, Germany, and a few other European countries through 2008. From August 19–23, it visited Taipei, Taiwan to promote its 2009 Summer Deaflympics, with most of the show's dialogue accompanied by subtitles. After Typhoon Morakot hit the island in mid-August, the group held an extra show to benefit flood victims.

Blue Man Group performed with Ricky Martin at the 2007 Latin Grammy Awards[16] and again with Michel Teló at the 2012 Latin Grammy Awards.[17]

In 2008, they collaborated on the track "No More Heroes" with Dutch DJ and producer Tiësto for the remixed version of the Elements of Life album.

Announced in 2009, Blue Man Group began performing for the first time at sea on Norwegian Cruise Line's ship Epic. From July 2010 to March 2015, Epic alternated 7-Day Eastern and Western Caribbean sailings from Miami with nightly Blue Man Group shows.

A Blue Man Group national tour in 2010 visited various cities in the United States, Canada and Latin America. The tour included elements from their then-current theatrical performances, and new elements created for the tour.[18]

To celebrate their 20th anniversary, the group gave a special performance with Dave Matthews at the Astor Place Theatre in New York City, collaborating on the song "Sing Along."[19]

To celebrate Blue Man Group's 25th anniversary, a global tour began in Singapore in March 2016. It continued through Asia and Oceania in 2016 and opened for the first time in South Africa in February 2017.[20] It was announced that the tour will continue on to Abu Dhabi and Switzerland later in 2017.[21]

In April 2016, Blue Man Group released Three, their third studio album. Building on the group's previous albums, Three draws inspiration from the group's 25-year history.[22]

In May 2017, Blue Man Group collaborated with the YouTube channel The Slow Mo Guys for a video of several objects being destroyed with bowling balls, including busts of the Blue Men. A Blue Man "signed" Gavin Free's lab coat (the cleaner of the hosts') by wiping his head on the right shoulder.[23]

On April 27, 2019, Blue Man group gave a special performance at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, during the Grand Opening Session of DECA's International Career Development Conference.[15]

In February 2021, it was revealed that Blue Man Group had collaborated with American pop band AJR on a song called "Ordinaryish People", included on their album OK Orchestra released on March 26, 2021.[24] A music video featuring Blue Man Group was released on February 9, 2022.

Discography[edit]

Videography[edit]

  • The Complex Rock Tour Live DVD (2003) – live concert footage taken from shows in Grand Prairie, Texas
  • Scoring Reel – a scoring DVD only available in 2004
  • Robots (2005) – performed on soundtrack for movie
  • Inside the Tube (2006) – one-hour documentary created for PBS. Features interviews with Stanton, Wink, and Goldman describing the Blue Men, and video clips from various theatrical performances. In "Inside the Tube," press notes state, "the three founders discuss the improbable journey they took from building drums and tube instruments in their living room to having one of the most popular shows in Las Vegas, a gold album, and a successful arena-sized rock tour. The program takes an intimate look inside Blue Man Group's unique creative process and provides never before revealed insight into some of the underlying themes of their work. The founders also cite some of their influences, including a public PBS program that impacted them at a pivotal moment in their career."[6] Available through the PBS store and also as an extra on the How To Be A Megastar Live! DVD.
  • How to Be a Megastar Live! (2008) – live concert footage from Blue Man Group's newest tour. It was released on DVD on April 1 and Blu-ray on November 4, 2008. The DVD version includes an additional audio CD of many of the show's songs.
  • Space Chimps (2008) – performed several songs on the soundtrack for the movie

Books[edit]

Television[edit]

Advertising[edit]

Programming[edit]

  • The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (1992–94, 1997–2001, 2003–2005, 2007) Blue Man Group appeared on the premiere of Leno's version of the Tonight Show, prompting him to state, "This is not your father's Tonight Show." They appeared on the show 17 times, often involving audience members and celebrity guests, including Robin Williams and Mel Gibson. One Blue Man Group episode won an Emmy for The Tonight Show.[26]
  • The Drew Carey Show (2001) – During the episode "Drew Live III," the Blue Man Group experimented on Drew Carey as he slept on the train, making it look like he had sex with his nemesis, Mimi Bobeck. At the end of the show, it was revealed that their motive was for Drew to kill himself out of embarrassment so that they, along with John Ratzenberger, could take over the show.[27]
  • Arrested Development (2004) – The show approached Blue Man Group about appearing in an episode. The collaboration grew to a storyline where Tobias longed to be a part of Blue Man Group, and, ultimately, his father-in-law "hid from the law" performing as a Blue Man in Las Vegas.[28]
  • Fetch! with Ruff Ruffman (2007)
  • Scrubs (2006)
  • Space Pirates (2007)
  • Disney Channel’s Shake It Up (2012) – Blue Man Group guest stars.
  • NBC's America's Got Talent (2012) – For the season finale, BMG performed "Shake Your Euphemism".
  • NBC's Today Show (2015) – Blue Man Group performed on a live broadcast from Universal CityWalk. At the end of the performance, Al Roker helped the Blue Men fire confetti from the stage.
  • NBC's I Can Do That (June 2015) – Alan Ritchson and Joe Jonas trained to become Blue Men.
  • NBC's The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (October 2015) – During the "Telephone Booth" skit, a Blue Man was a celebrity from the "mystery bench" and was placed in the telephone booth with Hugh Jackman after his opponent, Shaq, answered a question correctly. The trapped Blue Man wrote "help" with blue paint from his head on the telephone booth wall. In another "Telephone Booth" skit, two members of the group joined Jimmy Fallon in his booth after Dwayne Johnson, aided by Romanio Golphin Jr, answered a question correctly. Only two members of the group entered the booth, while the other wandered around the stage, due to the booth also being occupied by WWE wrestler Big Show.
  • Telemundo's La Voz Kids (July 2016) – During the live finale, Blue Man Group performed alongside the show's top 6 finalists. The kids sang "Applause" by Lady Gaga and three Blue Men and Blue Man Group band members provided the music.
  • NPR's Tiny Desk Concert (September 2016) – Blue Man Group performed tracks from their studio album Three during a Tiny Desk Takeover[29]
  • NBC's Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris (October 2016) – The Blue Men played instruments alongside Neil Patrick Harris, who got in on the drumming. By the end of the performance, Harris and episode co-host Shaq were doused in blue paint.[30]
  • AMC's Halt and Catch Fire (August 2017) – In this drama about the first decade of personal computing, Blue Man Group performs at engineer and businessman Gordon Clark's 40th birthday party.[31]
  • Tru Tv's Impractical Jokers Season 8 episode 5 punishment in the episode "Blue Man Dupe" At a Blue Man Group Concert, Q is forced to rudely ask strangers to get out of their seat; because he thinks that the seat is his, where he later finds an error on his ticket. Later, Q must sit in the front row when the show starts in just his clothes, unlike in a poncho—like everyone else, and get disgusting substances all over him, and made a mess of with things like toilet paper.
  • CNBC's Deal or No Deal had them support Max Reynolds during his gameplay.[32]

Blue Man Group has also performed on various shows such as an appearance on The Grammy Awards (with Jill Scott and Moby), The Emmy Awards, The Latin Grammy Awards, The Royal Variety Show (for Queen Elizabeth II), Wetten, dass..? (Germany), The Voice (Germany), Regis and Kathie Lee, Regis and Kelly and The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

Awards and nominations[edit]

  • 1991 Obie Award (winner)
  • 1992 Drama Desk Award for Unique Theatrical Experience (winner)
  • 1992 Lucille Lortel Special Award [33]
  • 2000 Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Album (nominee)
  • 2000 Eddy Award (design)[34]
  • 2010 OBIE Advertising Award[35]
  • 2011 Off Broadway Alliance Awards' Audience Choice Award for Best Long-Running Show (winner)[36]
  • 2012 International Emmy Award nomination for Arts Programming (nominee)[37]
  • 2014 Drum! Magazine Readers Choice Award – Best Percussion Ensemble (winner)
  • 2015 Drum! Magazine Readers Choice Award – Best Percussion Ensemble (winner)
  • 2021 'Blue Man Group X Friends Anniversary' The Telly Awards - Silver Winner: Craft Branded Content[38]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Lauren, Flanders, Haley (2015). Audience Participation in Blue Man Group: Success Through Authentic Character, Adaptable Narrative, and Accessible Space (Thesis). Brigham Young University.
  2. ^ "Blue Man Group | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved March 17, 2018.
  3. ^ Sickler, Linda. "A close look inside the secret life of a Blue Man". Savannah Morning News. Retrieved March 17, 2018.
  4. ^ "Theater: Long Running Shows". The New York Times. 2015.
  5. ^ Welch, Liz (2008). "The Blue Man Group (Cover Story)". Inc. 30 (8): 110–112.
  6. ^ Deb, Sopan (2017). "Blue Man Group Is Bought by Cirque du Soleil, With Plans to Expand". The New York Times.
  7. ^ a b Blue Man Group: Inside the Tube. PBS. 2006.
  8. ^ Blue Man Group / Show in Berlin Archived June 27, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "Norwegian Introduces Norwegian Epic's Captains And Hotel Directors Unveils Inaugural Sailing Dates in Europe and U.S. Miami" (Press release). Norwegian Cruise Line. October 15, 2009.
  10. ^ "Broadway musical 'Priscilla' heading to cruise ship". USA Today. Retrieved January 25, 2017.
  11. ^ "Blue Man Group – 'Die Show Sensation'". Bluemangroup.ch. Archived from the original on March 19, 2008. Retrieved November 23, 2009.
  12. ^ "Blue men pack up bags". OfficialLondonTheatre.com. March 27, 2007. Retrieved October 31, 2017.
  13. ^ Ogunnaike, Lola. "For the Blue Man Army, Recruitment Is on the Rise", The New York Times, 10 October 2005.
  14. ^ "After 14 Years, Blue Man Group Leaves Universal Orlando". News 13. February 1, 2021. Retrieved February 1, 2021.
  15. ^ a b "Blue Man Group to perform at #DECAICDC 2019". DECA Direct. March 29, 2019. Retrieved March 30, 2019.
  16. ^ "Ricky Martin e Blue Man Group". Latin Grammys. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  17. ^ "Michel Telo y Blue Man Group". Latin Grammys. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  18. ^ "Blue Man Group National Tour". January 21, 2010. Retrieved February 9, 2010.
  19. ^ JaredB23 (August 18, 2009), Blue Man Group (feat Dave Matthews) – Sing Along, archived from the original on November 14, 2021, retrieved February 15, 2017
  20. ^ "Blue Man Group". www.bigconcerts.co.za Big Concerts. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  21. ^ "World Tour – Official Site of Blue Man Group". www.blueman.com. Archived from the original on February 16, 2017. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  22. ^ "25 Years: New Vinyl 'Three'". blueman.com. Archived from the original on April 22, 2016. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  23. ^ "Bowling in Slow Motion with Blue Man Group - The Slow Mo Guys". May 16, 2017 – via YouTube.
  24. ^ "OK ORCHESTRA by AJR". Genius. Retrieved February 4, 2021.
  25. ^ GoodReads. "Blue Man World by Blue Man Group (contributor)". Retrieved April 26, 2019.
  26. ^ "Blue Man Group". IMDb. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  27. ^ The Drew Carey Show (TV Series 1995–2004), retrieved February 15, 2017
  28. ^ Bateman, Jason; Rossi, Portia de; Arnett, Will; Cera, Michael (November 7, 2004), The One Where Michael Leaves, retrieved February 15, 2017
  29. ^ Boilen, Bob (September 26, 2016). "Blue Man Group: Tiny Desk Concert". NPR.org. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  30. ^ Carra, Mallory. "Blue Man Group Performs On 'Best Time Ever With Neil Patrick Harris' & It's So Fun". Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  31. ^ "'Halt and Catch Fire' Season 4, Episode 1: So it Goes".
  32. ^ Blue Man Group. "This contestant is going to need some reinforcement..." Facebook. Retrieved March 13, 2019.
  33. ^ [1]
  34. ^ [2]
  35. ^ [3]
  36. ^ "Off Broadway Alliance Awards". Retrieved August 24, 2011.
  37. ^ [4]
  38. ^ [5]

References[edit]

External links[edit]