News / Arts & Entertainment

Blue Man Group Reinvents Itself Through Classical, World Music

Blue Man Group Reinvents Itself, With Musici
X
September 11, 2013 9:02 PM
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.]]
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.

You May Like

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

The Hamilton Live

Paquito D'Rivera, who has won 12 Grammys, is celebrated both for his artistry in Latin jazz and his achievements as a classical composer. D'Rivera's latest project, “Jazz Meets the Classics,” was released this month. He joins us on the latest edition of "The Hamilton Live."