Story by Sania Kharshingkar
The setting a dimly lit theater. The only lighting around the audience is a deep blue, alluding to the performers about to take the stage. Suddenly, brightly colored lights flare from the top of the stage. Blaring rock music bursts from the speakers surrounding the audience, signaling the show’s beginning. As you can gather from the description, I recently had the opportunity to see the Blue Man Group at Briar Street Theater, and it was an absolutely incredible experience. From start to finish, the show captivated me with its electrifying music, visuals, and interactive humor.
Celebrating 25 years in Chicago, Blue Man Group originally debuted at the Briar Street Theatre in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood in 1997 and has continued to run to this day. To those unfamiliar, the Blue Man Group is a performance art company famous for its unique blend of music, comedy, and multimedia theatrics. They commonly feature a diverse mix of percussion instruments made of atypical objects. Instruments such as drums with paint sprays and an organ made of PVC pipes. In addition to the percussion acts, a live band constantly works above the stage. This live band fits right in by wearing neon suits, performing musical numbers and keeping an energetic atmosphere. The dynamic combination of art, music, comedy, and technology allowed me, and the rest of the audience, to reconnect with our inner (and outer) child by seeing the world through a new perspective
It’s hard to pick a favorite part of the show. Choosing between what was happening in front of me at the moment, the venue-shaking rhythmic percussion performances, to the surprisingly observant skits involving the screen on stage, often referencing our modern-day dependence on the World-Wide Web. Along with the percussion performances, came humorous skits using audience members. Including a Blue Man “date night” between two audience members (complete with a mock procession down the aisle of the seats) and a human paint board experiment with another audience member. The integration of crowd work in the show is like no other act. It creates a unique and personalized experience for the audience that cannot be replicated.
After the show, I had the opportunity to speak with the Captain of the troupe, Tom Galassi, the Production Stage Manager, Brett Preston, and the Resident Music Director/Band member, Graham McLachlan. I asked about the usage of the DNA imagery on the screen during the beginning and end of the show. Captain Galassi explained, “The DNA imagery is something that has been a part of the Blue Man Group’s theme since the original shows in New York. It is sort of meant to emphasize the origin of the group meaning to represent ‘the common man.'” Production Manager Preston added, “The DNA is also meant to establish a connection throughout the audience and to show how the Blue Men are the same as them, regardless of the blue skin and no talking.”
Overall, the Blue Man Group show is a must-see for anyone looking for a fun and entertaining night out. It appeals to audiences of all ages and backgrounds. It’s no wonder it has become a beloved institution in the entertainment industry, watched by over 50 million people. For those looking to attend a performance at the Briar Street Theater, Blue Man Group Chicago tickets start at $49. In addition to regular tickets, Student Discount tickets are available for $30 (+ Facility Fee). Student tickets are only available for purchase at the Briar Street Theater box office. There is a limit of two tickets per student ID. If you have the opportunity to see the Blue Man Group show, don’t hesitate to do so. You won’t regret it!