Blue Man Group Part 1: The Legacy – 5 stars!

You see three men sporting blue bald heads, never speaking decked all in black.  At one point you might think aliens have invaded Earth.  But having stretched to have over a 35-year history as a performance art, The Blue Man Group is a widely recognized leader in the theatre world.  Beginning in Central Park in New York City as an artistic “Happening” that gained attention when they created a symbolic end of the 80s, The Blue Man Group branched out to become a worldwide phenomenon.  Boston’s Charles Street Playhouse has hosted one of its longest running residencies where they perform shows throughout the year. 

Exit through the gift shop has become a cliché of entertainment whether it be theatres or amusement parks.  Not so at the Charles Playhouse, where you are expected to linger in the gift shop before the performance begins.  After you check your tickets in, you enter a small and modest lounge area where a patron can take a break as they wait for the shows to start.  The lounge has both high top tables for the drinkers and a few comfy couches for those wishing to have a casual yet intimate moment. 

You are free to browse the wares on sale.  They include CDs, mugs and of course T-shirts that could commemorate your trip.  They also sell custom art pieces that were created in the very show you are about to see.  What better way to take home a piece of the show than to take home a literally piece of the show?  At Blue Man Group, you can do that very thing. 

For those wanting to have a beverage before we begin, the lounge has a small but fairly complete bar.  Ten taps serve various craft beers, most of which are from local breweries.  They can also mix a variety of cocktails and have non-alcoholic options as well.  You can make the visit a social one in which you build anticipation with fine drinks and friends.

Your first invitation into the interactive and immersive aspect of Blue Man Group can be experienced right in the lobby.  Just before the bathrooms is a wall of screens with various buttons that invite a person to give them a push.  Each button creates a unique sound and creates video ripples that track across various screens.  This art installation serves a gateway into the world of the sights, sounds and colors that have come to be staples of the shows.

Don’t worry fans, you can bring your drinks into the theatre.  They allow you to buy two drinks so that you can have one for the duration of the show.  Though it should be noted that there is no intermission, so be cautious with your liquid intake since you will not get a bathroom break.  If you are seated up close, you are provided a plastic poncho which gives an ominous foreshadowing of the kind of mayhem that is coming up.  One good aspect I saw was the staff provided booster seats for children which is a nice touch.  Blue Man Group is family friendly after all. 

What then are you to expect from Blue Man Group?  Without giving away the hole experience, the best way to describe the show is that is a celebration of art in a wide variety of media.  You will see painting, music, movement, instruments and more.  The audience is just as much a part of the show as the three Blue Men themselves.  At times, audience members will be plucked from the house and then appear as characters themselves in some aspect of the show.  At times, a camera will be pointed outwards to the folks watching the show and displayed upon a large screen.

For music lovers, there is a three-piece rock band that scores the entire performance.  They are as much a part of the show as the Blue members are.  They even sport glow in the dark costumes playing equally colorful instruments.  They complement the music played by the Blue Men who use a variety of instruments, especially unusual homemade percussions.  The image of a bald Blue Man beating a paint covered drum has become iconic and encapsulates in a single photo much of what the show is about. 

Each moment of the show is a build on the last.  Moment’s surge as the audience is engaged at nearly every moment possible.  At times you are asked to participate and at times, you are simply in the middle of the show as it is happening all around you.  The finale should leave you energized as your senses are overwhelmed in an uplifting way.

Blue Man Group has been around decades.  The show has evolved and changed and adapted to new technology and new themes.  However, it is not just a single simple entity.  There are Blue Man Groups all over the country and they have toured all over the world.  They are most well known for their shows in New York City, Las Vegas, and Chicago.

In 2017, they were purchased by Cirque Du Soleil, the famous French Canadian acrobatic circus.  Cirque itself has undergone many changes and transformations in the modern era.  It unfortunately had serious financial troubles due to the government shutdowns imposed upon it during the Covid crisis.  However, like true artists, they are undeterred by hardship.  And they have forged ahead to a new dawn in the post pandemic world. 

So how will Blue Man Group evolve?  The show in Boston is currently in the process of making some drastic changes and it is expected to debut a new version this fall.  In part 2 of this article, we will revisit Blue Man Group at the Charles Playhouse in Boston to see what the new show looks like.  What of the old will be removed?  What will be kept having become classic parts of the performance?  More importantly, how will the Blue Man Group create a fresh new experience?  Keeping things familiar while changing things up to keep the fans energized is how such a show has lasted decades.  We plan to keep you posted as the show enters a new phase.

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