Blue Man Group

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Blue Man Group
Blue Man Group is a creative organization centered around three mute individuals that present themselves in blue paint and black clothing. Friends Chris Wink, Matt Goldman and Phil Stanton (collectively referred to as CMP) conceived of the idea during the 1980s while in New York City. They began appearing on the streets in Blue Man regalia, entertaining passersby and staging unusual events such as "The Funeral For the 80's". Interest gradually snowballed to the opening of a full theatrical act in 1991 located in the Astor Place Theater. This critically acclaimed show, as well as frequent appearances on "The Tonight Show", enabled CMP and Blue Man Group team to open similar productions and expand their concepts into other kinds of performances.

Theatrical productions

Blue Man Group's theatrical acts incorporate rock music (with an emphasis on drumming), odd props, audience participation, sophisticated lighting, and large amounts of (recycled) paper. It is also noted for having a "poncho section" of the audience; in the front rows, audience members are provided with plastic ponchos in order to protect from various foods, substances, paints, and so on which get thrown, ejected, or sprayed from the stage. The shows are family-oriented, humorous, energetic and often employ thought-provoking satire on modern life.

It is highly recommended that one not arrive late to a performance.

List of theatrical productions

  • "Tubes- Rewired" in New York at the Astor Place Theater (1991 - present)
  • "Tubes- Rewired" in Boston at the Charles Playhouse (1995 - present)
  • "Tubes- Rewired" in Chicago at the Briar Street Theater (1997 - present)
  • "Live at Luxor" in Las Vegas at the Luxor Hotel Theater (2000 - September 2005)
  • Las Vegas Venetian Show (October 2005-)
  • Berlin at the Theater am Postdamer Platz (2004- present)
  • Toronto at the Panasonic Theater (Opens June 19th, 2005)

Musical Instruments

As the shows evolved, Blue Man Group developed a set of custom musical instruments, many designed from the observation that common materials, such as PVC pipes make an interesting noise when struck. The group has invented several different instruments used in their shows and on audio recordings. Listed here are a few of the more common and well-known ones.

  • PVC-The PVC is an instrument made out of 2" PVC pipe. The pipes are cut to exact lengths and the performer plays the instrument by striking one of the open ends with a closed-cell foam paddle. In the live shows, three seperate PVC instruments are used, one for low, mid, and high octaves. This instrument also comes in a "backpack" variety for portability.
  • Tubulum-Similar in concept to the PVC, the tubulum uses much larger size PVC pipe and has cardboard or rubber "reeds" on the end that are struck with drumsticks. This gives the tubulum a different sound than the PVC. Most tubulums are designed for playing extremely low notes, so the tubes have to be sufficiently long to generate the low sounds. Because of the sheer size of this instrument, the theatrical shows in New York, Boston, and Chicago are not physically large enough to contain this instrument. A backpack version of this instrument is used in the Las Vegas, Berlin, and Toronto shows.
  • Airpoles-Airpoles are hollow fiberglass boat antennas of various lengths. The instrument is sharply swung to create a "swoosh" sound. These instruments come in three varieties. Sword Airpoles are short and held on the end like a sword. Wiper Airpoles are longer versions of Sword Airpoles. Angel Airpoles are very long and are held in the middle so that both ends move in unison to create rhythmic sounds. This is supposedly one of the most difficult Blue Man instruments to learn, as it requires very precise muscle control that can take a long time to develop.
  • Drumbone-The drumbone is another instrument made from large-diameter PVC, this one uses two moveable sections to alter the pitch. One performer plays the instrument with drumsticks, another moves the horizontal slide, while the third performer moves the vertical slide.
  • Hammered Dulcimer and Cimbalom-While not inventions of the Blue Man Group, these instruments are played with drumsticks rather then the usual felt hammers. This gives the instrument a much move aggresive sound with a sharp attack.

Music and tours

In 1999, the group released their first audio recording, appropriately called Audio. It was less of a soundtrack and more a collection of full length instrumentals that featured the new instruments. The group participated in Moby's Area2 tour in 2002, giving a more rock-oriented performance than found in the theatrical shows. Songs developed during this tour appeared on 2003's The Complex. Unlike its predecessor, The Complex featured a variety of vocalists including Tracy Bonham, Dave Matthews, Gavin Rossdale and Venus Hum. The record spawned its own 2003 tour, the first headlined by the Blue Man Group. The tour cleverly deconstructed the traditional rock concert experience and was later chronicled on DVD.


When Blue Man Group was still based in New York, they ran a variety of fake advertisements in The Village Voice.

The group achieved widespread visibility when they appeared in an Intel advertising campaign for Pentium 3 and Pentium 4 CPUs as well as Centrino technology.

Blue Man Group has also appeared on The Simpsons as part of one of the couch gags, had guest appearances in The Drew Carey Show and Arrested Development, and appear in an informational video played continuously at security checkpoints in the Las Vegas airport.


Announcing their debut in Toronto, Ontario in 2005, the Blue Man Group attracted considerable controversy for opting not to use unionized workers for their show, which was regarded by many labour groups as being highly unusual for a show of this size in Canada.

Their June 20, 2005 premiere in Toronto was picketed by members of the Canadian Actors' Equity Association, the Toronto Musicians' Association and two locals of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees.



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  • Audio DVD-audio LP with 5.1 surround sound mix (2000)

The Complex

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Side Projects

External links

Official Sites

Fan Sites

de:Blue Man Group


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