BCS Spotlight

Monday, 16 October 2017 12:08

BLUE MAN GROUP CELEBRATES 20th BIRTHDAY!

With two decades in its home at Lakeview’s Briar Street Theater under its belt, Blue Man Group is still going strong. The show can best be described as a bizarre, performance-arty take on STOMP, with both running about 90 minutes without an intermission, both featuring silent performers, both utilizing homemade percussion instruments, and both inciting audiences to go, “What the hell did I just see?”

Blue Man Group was founded in New York in 1991 by three friends: Chris Wink, an artist and drummer, Phil Stanton, a DIY designer and builder, and Matt Goldman, an entrepreneur and software developer. All three have been nominated for Grammys for their musical work on Blue Man Group.

Even after twenty years, Blue Man Group’s uniqueness keeps people coming back. For a show that has become such a staple, it is still unlike any of its theatrical peers, i.e. musicals, plays, operas. And for good reason. What other mainstream theatrical production features paintings created live onstage, quirky feats like seeing a performer catch dozens of marshmallows in his mouth, surprisingly funny, albeit silent, sketches with deer-in-the-headlights audience participants, and tons of cool, otherwordly, Pink Floyd-esque music being played live right in front of you?

A rundown of the materials used for each show should give some idea (or not) as to what a BMG audience is in for. Each week the three Blue Men go through the following materials: 32 pounds of Jell-O, 8 boxes of Cap'n Crunch, 385 marshmallows, 40 pieces of white chocolate Toblerone, 44 boxes of Twinkie Lights, 60 drum heads, 64 drumsticks, and 28 cakes of blue makeup made specially for BMG -- they even have their own proprietary color called "Blue Man Blue."

The 20th birthday performance featured some minor add-ons from the regular BMG show. One of the pieces of art created live onstage during the show via paint being spit out of one of the Blue Men’s mouths revealed “20!” in big white text, while there were lots of treats for the audience like tote-bags, various SWAG, and custom Sprinkles cupcakes.

It's clear why the indefinable show has continued to dazzle audiences across the country for twenty years, and as long as this city remains a vibrant hub for entertainment, Blue Man Group will have a welcome home in Chicago.

You can catch Blue Man Group at Briar Street Theater at 3133 N Halsted St on Thursdays through Sundays. Tickets on Ticketmaster.

Published in Theatre Reviews

There’s something new going on at Briar Street Theater! The Blue Man Group has made some new and exciting additions to their already beloved and ever-changing show. The fixture of Blue Man Group in Chicago entertainment has built a twenty-plus-year tradition that has grown to include generations of families, international acclaim (with shows Berlin, Boston, New York, Las Vegas, Orlando, Amsterdam and Oberhausen) and fans all around the world. Unique to Chicago, at the intimate setting of Briar Street Theater in Lakeview, “Left”, “Middle” and “Right”, as our three Blue performers are called by their stage location, play with guests’ perceptions, develop an even closer audience relationship and bring out the little kid in everyone. You will shriek in delight (or even fear), laugh until in your sides hurt, and awe at the thrill of the Blue.

 

The dedication of the Blue Man Group crew guarantees that everyone has a unique experience when a participant in their show. Whether you are familiar with the tubes, massive drums and electric paint or maybe you haven’t been so up close and personal to such funky dudes of the like, no matter your Blue Man experience, veteran or newbie, this is a production that is sure to entertain any theater attendee. As always, the Blue experience is divulged to you through the sounds of music. You will remember the familiar and fall in love with the new. Have you ever used a GiPad? Among new songs, their live band and new technological additions, the Blue Man Group pulls you deeper into their own world experience and farther away from your phones.

 

Tom Galassi (Captain and Assistant Director), Jeff Quay (Associate Music Director) and one of the six primary Blue Men, “Boomer”, take pride in the new changes they’ve made and the show has become more encompassing of our current state of the world. A grand finale brings all people together with the love of music; standing and dancing and moving unified to the same song. The production also brings awareness to our attention to the digital world, in a comical, therapeutic way, perhaps slightly violent, but all with a Blue-branded sense of humor. The Blue Man group continues to be exciting, thrilling and always challenging to your perceptions. Locals, families, school groups and tourists all flock towards the light of the Blue. The new additions are not to be missed by anyone of any age, strengthening what was already a unique experience. Though be warned - don’t be late! You never know what they’ll do to you as you wander down that aisle.  

 

Blue Man Group has been a staple in Chicago for over two decades and there is a reason its popularity has not slowed down. The reason is simple. Blue Man Group has been, and will continue to be, a theater event like no other. Caution should be had when choosing seats. Although ponchos are provided, the first five rows put audience members at risk with getting doused, or splattered, with wet paint depending on your location.

 

Blue Man Group is performed at Briar Street Theater. For tickets and/or more show information, click here.  

 

Published in Theatre in Review

 

 

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