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Blue Man Group 2011

Blue Man Group

Created and written by Matt Goldman, Phil Stanton and Chris Wink

Directed by Caryl Glaab, Todd Perlmutter, Michael Quinn, and Bill Swartz.

Artistic and Musical collaborators, Larry Heinemann and Ian Pai

 Pulsing show never misses a beat

Mime meets music, meets comedy, meets multimedia in shows in New York, Boston, Las Vegas, Orlando, Berlin, Tokyo, on tour throughout the U.S., on international cruise ships and – most fortunate for us – right here in Chicago!

Blue Man Group

Warning: Whatever you do, arrive for Blue Man Group on time. If you are late, all Hell breaks loose – lights flash the words “YOU ARE LATE,” the blue trio points at you, the audience takes up the chant, a spotlight follows you and a huge move screen displays your entire arrival – walking down the aisle and getting your seats. So, be on time!

Blue Man Group

You may even want to be early, because so much happens right from the start. Suspended, brightly lit words scroll by, directing activities to engage the audience. They announce celebrities (if there are any) to be introduced and applauded. They even extend intros to a few ordinary people. If there is a birthday in the house, you are directed to say – but not sing – “Happy Birthday.”

Blue Man Group

Then, the show begins – and what a show it is: innovative, fanciful, fun-filled, a true spectacle. What the world needs is more mime –and here it all is. The three blues are studies in nuance and non-verbal communication – from the pertinent turn of a head to the gesture of a finger – everything becomes clear. The Blue Men can be slapstick or poignant; they capture and display emotion easily and with aplomb and wind us around their drumming fingers with each and every shtick. Their individual facial features may be blurred by the blue, but oh those speaking eyes!

Sketch rapidly follows sketch in this brand new show. Highlights include a brilliantly executed exploration of huge Gipads as the three weave in and out of these communication devices in amazing sequences.  Then there is the tribute to plumbing as they beat out rhythms from huge pipes, which they expand and contract to vary pitch. Much is new, and yet nothing is lost from the old, including odd, original instruments and the show stopping drumming on paint barrels –with all the attendant splashing. Those seated  in the front rows huddled under rain slickers to protect their clothing. And, there is the grand finale with streamers, and giant balls floating through the air to be tapped and sent aloft again and again by eager, engaged members of the audience.

This continually pulsing show certainly includes the audience, especially when two are singled out to join the thee Blues on stage. Whether they are really guests or shills is debatable, but in either case the shenanigans are great fun.

This unique, multi-sensory theatrical phenomenon provides a magical treat for the whole family: not to be missed.

Note: There is an open casting call for men and women between 5’10 and 6’1 tall and athletic, with superior drumming and acting skills.  Currently there are approximately 90 Blue Men, worldwide. So, if you fit the bill….

Highly Recommended.

Beverly Friend

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 Briar Street Theatre, 3133 N. Halsted St., 773-348-4000. Tickets $49-$64. Thursdays 8 pm, Fridays 7 pm, Saturdays 4, 7 and 10 p.m., Sundays 4 and 7 pm in October and 1 and 4 pm in November. Running time one hour and 45 minutes without intermission. Open run.

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