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Blue Man Group is so indestructible, it’s even outlasting ‘Phantom’


Again in 1998, once I reviewed a efficiency by Blue Man Group, I steered that its 90-minute act of irreverence was a bit previous its prime. Blue Man had by then been performing its wildly common comedy of paint splatter and wizardly percussion for a number of years in an off-Broadway theater in Decrease Manhattan, and the gags felt to me a bit, effectively, aged.

That’s how a lot I knew.

Twenty-four years later, I’m nonetheless sitting on the aisle, however extra to the purpose: Blue Man Group continues to be standing on the stage. And delighting crowds of all ages, from New York to Las Vegas to Berlin to Seoul and in all places in between. The Blue Man ethos has been tickling audiences with its messy sight gags and road performances for greater than 30 years — a file that exceeds even “The Phantom of the Opera,” the longest-running present on Broadway. And whereas Blue Man Group exhibits no indicators of flagging, “Phantom” has introduced it would vanish from Instances Sq. within the spring.

The unique Blue Man trio — Matt Goldman, Chris Wink and Phil Stanton — has grown to a fraternity of 70 Blue Males, who, dressed like moon males dipped in ink, have performed in numerous productions to greater than 35 million folks worldwide.

The sturdiness of the Blue Man system is among the trendy wonders of theater in America, particularly since its fashion is so anomalous. A Blue Man efficiency is bizarre, wordless and nonlinear: Three actors in an identical costumes and thus indistinguishable from each other change stunned glances as they strategy the devices and props assembled onstage. A trademark gag has them slopping gobs of colourful paint onto barrel-shaped drums and beating away as paint drops dance and spray in each course — together with towards viewers members within the entrance rows, who sit within the “splash zone.”

The group, which refines and varies the content material usually, has its roots in satire, as a sendup of a number of the pieties of the artwork world. “The deliriously antic mix of music, portray and clowning has its semi-serious aspect,” then-New York Instances critic Stephen Holden wrote in an evaluation of Blue Man Group in 1991, when it was performing a present known as “Tubes” at New York’s Astor Place Theatre. “In an amusing spoof of artwork criticism the three performers, who by no means communicate, pose as a panel of consultants sharing their ideas a few stuffed fish held in entrance of a canvas. These ideas, alternately pretentious and irreverently humorous, are paraded in purple dotted letters throughout electrical indicators hooked up to their heads.”

One era’s avant-garde is one other’s mainstream pop. Which is what Blue Man Group has develop into, staying now for lengthy runs in locations such because the Luxor Lodge in Las Vegas, and touring to huge venues, together with the Kennedy Heart’s 1,164-seat Eisenhower Theater, the place it ran final summer season. (Blue Man has cemented its perch within the big-time firmament, having been acquired 5 years in the past by Cirque du Soleil Leisure Group — an enormous group that, like Blue Man, additionally grew out of a street-performance custom.)

I went again to Blue Man Group when it handed via the Eisenhower in July and marveled anew at how indestructible the act stays. A part of the worldwide attraction is the common language it speaks — that’s, no language in any respect. One other half is the wide-eyed innocence of these mysterious males of azure, let free of their imaginative playpen.

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