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From The Streets To The Stage: The Rise Of The Blue Man

blueman.jpg

Blue Man Group
Lindsey Best

The Blue Man Group has been entertaining crowds since the 80s

They wear only black, play the drums and catch colossal amounts of marshmallows in their mouths. And they don’t talk. But possibly their most defining characteristic is the color of their skin: Blue.

But before Blue Man Group had permeated pop culture and become a Las Vegas show mainstay, they were just three guys trying to make people laugh on the streets of New York in the 1980s.

In what could be called an act of fate, three young guys from different walks of life – an acting student, a magazine researcher and a software producer – came together to do something different, something interactive.

So when Matt Goldman, Phil Stanton and Chris Wink decided to go blue, it was a social experiment of trial and error. They began drumming on household items and PVC pipes, painting with bright, neon colors and, of course, fitting as many marshmallows as they could in their mouths.  

Not everything they did in the early days was successful. Writing random poems on paper towels, for example, wasn’t a hit. But sending that paper around for the audience to play with was, and is something still used in the show today.

“I think primarily we learned the power of the image,” Stanton said. “That there was something unique about this look of a bald and blue character – it’s universal in some way.”

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The exact origin of character is still hard for the founders to describe, but the inquisitive, whimsical blue man is both simple and intelligent; primitive and advanced.

“He’s both innocent child and sort of a wise sage," Stanton said. “That’s one of the things that makes it so fun to play. You get to inhabit this character that is both more childlike than you can be in real life and is more sage than you really are.”

They began to be invited to small, off-broadway theaters in New York City before arriving at the Astor Place, where they still reside today. Perhaps their most defining moments as an entertainment group that had permeated the mainstream was their appearance in the distinctive Intel commercials, or the storyline about them written into Fox's "Arrested Development" sitcom.

Blue Man Group now has ongoing theatrical productions in Las Vegas at the Monte Carlo hotel-casino, Orlando, Boston, New York, Chicago and Berlin, as well as tours throughtout South America and North America.

They have been in Las Vegas for the last 15 years.

KNPR's State of Nevada
Jul 01, 2011

Blue Man and Blue Band

Guests

Phil Stanton, co-founder, Blue Man Group

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