Men Who Aren’t So Blue

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One of the best features of the Norwegian Cruise Line’s Epic ship is its entertainment. Part of your fare includes the chance to see the Blue Man Group in their theatre. For those unfamiliar with the Blue Man Group, they are a trio of performers/drummers who never speak during the show but do performance art that I can best describe as social experiment. I was enthralled throughout most of the show and was excited to discover that on our last day at sea, the Blue Men were offering a behind-the-scenes interview session.

Here’s what they had to say.

Even here, they're kinda blue.

Even here, they’re kinda blue.

There are ~22 Blue Men in the troop of performers, though only 3 appear in each show and an alternate is available if any are unable to perform. The three men in our group were Ed (UK), Vinnie (Brazil), and Joe (UK). All of the Blue Men receive the same 12-week training at the headquarters in New York and learn all three stage roles so that they are interchangeable. These three Blue Men had never met until they came aboard the Norwegian ship, but it didn’t really matter. The Blue Men (and yes, there has been a Blue Woman in training) can mix and match and move around in their careers.

The three performers are covered entirely in blue, with steel gray/black clothing that makes them both androgynous and otherworldly.

Q: So, where did the Blue Men come from?
A: It started with two guys in New York who performed in a basement bar. They just did a couple of acts, then the show grew into a group of 3 guys. One got injured playing softball in Central Park and they thought they’d have to cancel the show that night. But one of the musicians in the group thought he could fill in since he’d watched them do it for two years. So he did and the injured guy sat in the audience and watched and realized that the show could go on without him. That’s when they started making the roles interchangeable and expanded from there.

As part of their show, they choose a woman from the audience to come up and interact with them. I loved this improvisation because anything could happen. As it turned out, the woman they chose seemed perfect for the act.

Q: How do you choose a woman from the audience?
A: As they perform and go out into the crowd during the opening segments, they start scoping people out. As Joe put it, he’s looking for the woman he’d choose to represent the human race in an intergalactic interview.

Q: Do they ever laugh/break character?
A: No. Because they’re paid not to. But if you ever see them looking at their feet or at the backdrop behind them, they are probably trying to refocus and collect themselves.

Q: Are they all drummers?
A: No. Vinnie and Joe had drumming backgrounds, but Ed was a ballet dancer and clown. They all applied and auditioned and go through the extensive 12-week training to master the drumming, stunt work, and improvisation that make up the show.

The shows follow a format but are always slightly different depending on the crowd. There’s a structure; a “journey” that the show goes through in all the cities where they perform.

In one segment, one of the Blue Men catches marshmallows into his mouth.

Q: What’s the record for the number of marshmallows in one of their mouths?
A: 42!

Q: How do they get so blue?
A: They wear shower caps and grease paint. It doesn’t take long to put on, but they always get together with the band and crew 2 hours before the show to prepare.

I think this is as blue as my husband is going to get.

I think this is as blue as my husband is going to get.

It looked like so much fun. My husband thought so, too, and is just crazy enough to be a part of the show. So I directed my last question to my daughter and niece:
Q: Do you think Mike should audition to be a Blue Man?
They giggled. A: Yeah…if he wants to get his heart broken.

Sweet, aren’t they? πŸ™‚

Have you seen the Blue Man Group perform?

18 responses to “Men Who Aren’t So Blue

  1. I heard for the first time of the Blue Man Group. Thanks to your post I can look forward seeing them one day – I hope! I love performances where they change their program according to the people watching them.

  2. This is so cool, and your husband is brave. πŸ™‚ I had no idea there were so many people involved. Our granddaughter saw them when she was five! She said she just closed her eyes most of the time.

  3. This was fascinating! I’ve always been kind of weirded out by the Blue Man Group especially since most of the time, the billboards in Las Vegas (where they perform regularly if I remember correctly) always portrayed them as, well, otherworldly performers. But I’d heard that their shows were a lot of fun and at least now you’ve confirmed for me that they are real people. πŸ˜‰

  4. I didn’t know what to expect at all. There were some parts I really liked and some not as much. But it was all such a sociology experiment to me, mixed with performance art. And fun. Not surprisingly, I liked the behind-the-scenes interview just as much. The same way I love author talks.

  5. Awesome, honey! Never knew any of the background of these guys. It’s pretty impressive that they’re still going strong and able to delight people after all of these years. That clown/ballet dancer resume is really something. πŸ˜‰

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