Entertainment » Theatre

Blue Man Group

by Will Demers
Contributor
Tuesday Mar 5, 2013
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Blue Man Group
Blue Man Group  

Theater has a wide variety of offerings from drama, monologues and musicals, poetry and interpretive dance; there is truly no limit to what you can experience when you go. Sometimes there can be an experience that defies classification, and "Blue Man Group" is just that sort of thing.

A trio of Blue Men as silent bald characters takes the audience on a journey of percussion, music, sound, technology and multimedia. They interact with the audience quite frequently and elicit nervous laughter and fabulously funny expressions through the use of video, displaying the participants throughout the entire show on huge screens adorning the stage.

One audience member is selected for a painting experiment where his body is the paintbrush, another to dine with our hosts in a surprisingly funny dining "experience." But the show also makes a statement of the relationships we as human beings have paired with technology; our propensity to have conversations with each other without ever speaking via text messages and online social media. It isn’t preachy but observatory.

Sometimes there can be an experience that defies classification, and "Blue Man Group" is just that sort of thing.

The three hosts are identically dressed yet have very distinct personalities that become evident quite early in the performance. The climax of the show features a truly interactive experience when our blue hosts let loose an amazing group of six lighted colorful orbs that surf the crowd while streamers and toilet paper shoot out of cannons to the delight of the onlookers. All of this is accompanied by pounding bass rhythms and jazzy guitar riffs.

Blue Man Group began its journey as an organization that produced shows and concerts in 1987, with founders Chris Wink, Matt Goldman and Phil Stanton using three blue characters in bald caps as the central artists. After each performance these artists would stay "in character" and not speak to anyone after performances. The music is performed by colorfully dressed bands as well as the trio, some of the action is accompanied by a male announcer spewing random facts and observations.

Eventually, the show moved to an off Broadway venue and continued to grow in popularity throughout the 1990’s and in the next two decades found its way into national and international tours. The group is far reaching, and has collaborated with other media formats including television, major motion pictures and Grammy nominated albums. Norwegian Cruise Line has named the group their official venue and there are ongoing performances in cities throughout the United States and the world.

A family-friendly show, a national touring Children’s Museum exhibit and a New York-based charter school both reach out to the communities across the nation. With so much to see and hear, this is a theatrical experience that warrants a repeat viewing. And bring the kids and grandparents because this is a group that truly can make anyone, regardless of their age group, laugh, dance and smile. You never know where these three blue guys will take you.

"Blue Man Group" played through March 3 at Providence Performing Arts Center, 220 Weybosset Street #2 in Providence. For info or tickets, call 401-421-ARTS (2787) or visit www.ppac.org.

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