Twenty-five years ago, three college graduates came together to create what would become an international phenomenon.
In 1990, Matt Goldman, Phil Stanton and Chris Wink developed the show that is now known as Blue Man Group. What started in a small theater in New York City and has grown to be a show performed in over 15 countries.
Now, that show is coming to the Twin Cities. Blue Man Productions presents Blue Man Group at the Orpheum Theater on Friday, Dec. 18.
One of the blue men themselves, Ethan Golub, took some time to chat with me about what it’s like to be the man behind the blue.
So Mr. Golub, how was it that you became involved with Blue Man Group?
Golub: I graduated from college with a music/percussion degree and was pursuing acting in Los Angeles at the time. It seemed like a great fit, so I submitted to their casting department directly and was lucky enough to get an audition.
Wow! It’s not always that direct or easy. It’s great that you were able to get an audition. So, this has become a very well-known show. When it comes to music, how do you keep the performances fresh for people who have seen it a few times?
Golub: The music we play, as well as the show itself, can vary greatly based on audience interaction and the energy in the theater. This energy is unique to each show which keeps it fresh for us performers, as well as audience members who continue to return to experience that spontaneity they have come to expect from Blue Man Group.
The performance is tied so closely to the music, how long do rehearsals take to ensure that each movement matches the music?
Golub: We have a 45 minute soundcheck before every show to get the energy flowing and establish the connection between the band and the Blue Men.
You mentioned already that the show itself can vary depending on the audience, but does the group go into different cities planning to have different music? Or is it the same across each Blue Man Group show?
Golub: Each city has its own nuances in the music that make it special for that venue. The tour, for instance, is set up to embrace the large venues and “rock concert” vibe you expect from Blue Man Group on tour.
Why do you think the music and musicians act as the voice of the Blue Men? What do you think it adds to the show that they don’t talk?
Golub: The fact that the Blue Men don’t speak allows the audience to interpret what the Blue Men are thinking for themselves. It also makes the show accessible to literally everyone. We rely on the band to express the subtleties and undertones of our journey in connecting the audience. It’s a joint effort, as the band and Blue Men are constantly influencing and inspiring each other throughout the show.
I can imagine that the show is really reliant on the relationship the Blue Men can make with the band and vice versa. So, what do you think it is about Blue Man Group that keeps people coming back in different cities and throughout the years?
Golub: Blue Man Group is a unique show. We will make you forget the responsibilities of the day and reconnect you with your exuberant, playful self. Who doesn’t like a party?
True! Especially around the holidays! Tell me, what is your favorite part of the Blue Man Group show?
Golub: I love interacting with the audience. There is no faking a true connection between complete strangers. I’m fortunate to experience that each night.