BLUE MAN GROUP still uniting audiences

Courtesy photo

In an increasingly divisive world, those mysterious, exciting and entertaining blue men, while on stage, are always trying to bring us together.

Though the characters never utter a word throughout the show, the BLUE MAN GROUP delights audiences with music, acting and audience interaction to inspire, explore, and teach audiences we are all human.

Their latest “Speechless” tour returns to Southern California at the Segerstrom Center Jan. 7-12.

Since three friends working at a New York catering company created the BLUE MAN GROUP in 1987, nearly 35 million people have been reminded by performance that, despite our individual differences, we are all one.

“Our characters make it a point never to judge and always serve the greater good,” says Senior Musical Director Byron Estep, who has been with the group since being invited to perform with them at the Astor Theatre in New York in the early 1990’s.

BLUE MAN GROUP is today a global entertainment phenomenon, known for its award winning theatrical productions, ironic characters and “collaborative creative explorations.” They are considered “euphoric celebrations of human connection through art, music, comedy and non-verbal communication.”

Estep remembers the early days when three friends, Chris  Wink, Matt Goldman and Phil Stanton fused music and performance art to create the BLUE MAN GROUP.

The blue man concept came to Wink in a dream as a boy, said Estep.

“They always knew they wanted more than a musical act,” he said. Estep has been responsible for much of the music that drives each performance, using different tones and instruments. In many ways, he said, the music becomes “what the blue man is thinking.”

Visionary director Jenny Koons, in her first-ever collaboration with BLUE MAN GROUP, says the “heart of the show is an invitation to participate and unite strangers for a single night.”

While the new show features everything audiences “know and love” about BLUE MAN GROUP, (signature drumming, colorful moments and quirky comedy), the “Speechless” tour also incorporates “new songs and new technology. The men are still blue but the rest is all new,” she said.

According to Estep, the underlying music does the speaking for the all new show. As always, the show features a live orchestra that must follow the blue men around the audience to reflect improvisational interaction.

“Many people compose the music,” he said, adding that the musicians must be “super collaborative” to “respond in the moment” because no two shows are exactly alike.

A part of the pop culture zeitgeist, BLUE MAN GROUP has appeared countless times on hit shows including Dancing with the Stars, The Tonight Show, Arrested Development, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and others.

With residencies in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and Orlando and tours around the world, the BLUE MAN GROUP is always curiously identifying ways to entertain, inform an impact audiences.

Their musical work is Grammy nominated and their amazing experiential shows have universal appeal to a broad range of age groups and cultural backgrounds.

Their rock concert parody, “Megastar World Tour” has played arenas across the globe. Their book, “Blue Man World” is a visually stunning “anthropological exploration of the curious bald and blue character.”

The tour is presented by L-ISA Hyperral Sound by L-Acoustics for ultra high def sound which creates a “deeper sense of involvement” for the audience, according to the show’s promoters.

Since its humble beginnings in New York, the global entertainment platform is today owned and operated by Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group. The North American Tour is produced and promoted by Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group in partnership with NETworks Presentations.

For Estep, who first met the original members of BLUE MAN GROUP while recording in the same New York music studio nearly three decades ago, it has been a long and fantastic ride. However, what makes the show so successful and sustaining, according to Estep, is its underlying and relentless focus on humanity.

Despite changing times, the conceptual elements of the original blue men has remained remarkably constant. Entertaining while informing, allowing music and visuals to expand thought and using unique music to set a mood seems to always, always remind the audience that we are part of the same, single race: the human race.

“Whether it’s an audience in America, Japan, Europe, China, Germany or England, the blue man character appeals to people everywhere,” says Estep. After all is said and done, he says, the BLUE MAN GROUP remains “universally human” and that alone unites audiences around the world.

Tickets are on sale for the all new tour of BLUE MAN GROUP coming to Segerstrom Jan. 7-12. A special kids night on Broadway will be offered for two performances Jan. 7 and 8. With the purchase of one full-price ticket, parents can receive a second ticket free for children. Use code BLUEKID when purchasing. Ticket prices start at $28. Tickets to BLUE MAN GROUP can be purchased by calling (714) 556-2787 and at the Box Office at 600 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa.

Note: Children and families are also encouraged to arrive early to enjoy pre-show activities in the Segerstrom Hall beginning at 6 p.m. and the BLUE MAN GROUP is expected to be available after the show for photo/ops, according to Estep.