News / Arts & Entertainment

Blue Man Group Reinvents Itself Through Classical, World Music

Blue Man Group Reinvents Itself, With Musici
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September 11, 2013
They are blue. They are bald. They are iconic stars of Blue Man Group. Since their first show in New York some 20 years ago, the Blue Men have traveled the world, and millions have seen them in action - beating on drums and each other, performing silent skits and slapstick. Now the performers - in black - their hands and faces painted cobalt blue - were on stage with an orchestra and musicians from other countries for two sold-out nights. Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles at the premiere of a new Blue Man Group show.]]
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Elizabeth Lee
— They are blue.  They are bald.  They are the iconic stars of Blue Man Group. Since their first show in New York more than 20 years ago, they have traveled the world, and millions of people have seen the blue men in action - beating on drums and each other, creating music and comedy.  Now the performers - in black unitards, their hands and faced painted bright blue - are on stage with an orchestra and musicians from other countries.  

More than 25 million people around the world have seen Blue Man Group...but never like this...on a stage, performing an entire show with a full orchestra. Kate Evans, who has seen the original show, brought her family to see the new one.

“Loved the different combinations of music and the different instruments they brought in the fact that they stepped back a little bit and let other people shine was wonderful too," said Evans.

Around the world, from Asia to Europe, North America to South America, Blue Man Group presents a multimedia experience with a blend of percussion, rock and roll, world music - and the bald, blue men are the stars.  All in black, the blue men play music, but don’t speak. It doesn't matter to the audience - their actions create plenty of physical comedy that transcends words.   

Blue Man Group performs its newest show with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra in Los Angeles.  Principal Guest Conductor Thomas Wilkins says in this show, the blue men learn how to play orchestral music.

“Part of the night for them is experimentation. Part of the night for them is about participation and collaboration with the group. But it really is designed around the music and the orchestra.  That’s a really cool thing and that’s very different for them too," he said.

Different, because the orchestra’s music becomes the focus.

“We hired an arranger to actually create music around the rhythmic stuff that is sort of in their [Blue Man’s]  natural mode of operation," said Wilkins.

The blue men not only share the stage with the orchestra, but also a kaleidoscope of musicians from around the world, including Japanese trumpeter Natsuki Tamura playing the traditional Australian didgeridoo...and the Brazilian band, Monobloco.

Just like the original Blue Man Group show, the new blend of music and comedy will translate across cultures, says former Blue Man Philip Stanton, a co-founder of the group.

“I think Blue Man is there to help us celebrate our creativity, kind of celebrate our ability to collaborate and be a part of a group and our curiosity. That’s the other thing that Blue Man is first and foremost, so these things we consider to be essentially human worldwide. And so a blue man is kind of an expression of those things," said Stanton.

Victor Solomon watched the show with his family and says people of all ages responded to the show.

“Everybody was laughing, babies were laughing and old people were laughing it was very colorful," said Solomon.

Blue Man Group hopes this new show will lead to more shows in other cities with orchestras from around the world.

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