are now on tour in Australia. How do you rate Australian
audiences, as well as Australia from what you have
seen so far?
I'm so happy to FINALLY visit some of Australia. There
are so many ways to have great experiences here. For
instance, it seems your cities found ways early on
in planning to enjoy your waterwayssomething
we in the US are struggle to do. One surprise is the
food! So many restaurants at a very high level! As
is the case with the many Aussie friends I've had
over the years in NY, there is a sense of friendliness
and fun everywhere, and a great positive mix of rebelliousness
and positivelyand the audiences certainly reflect
that! They have been very bit as enthusiastic, if
not more so, than our American audiences. They seem
to show up expecting to have a great experience.
You started the Blue Man Group back in 1988. What's
the main things that have changed on both a creative
and business level since then?
When we first began, my partners Chris Wink, Matt
Goldman and I played the role of the Blue Man in every
performance, we played over 1500 shows with no break
and no understudies. It was an invaluable time for
us to really live in the character, get to know who
he is and how he would interact with the world in
various scenarios, but it didn't leave much time for
anything else. Soon we learned what is obvious; that
the very concept of the Blue Man, a sort of "everyman,"
should be inhabited by others. So these days, we have
well trained actor/musicians who play the role every
night, which frees us up to spend our energy training
new Blue Men, directing the shows and projects, writing
new material, and of course, running the business.
What's the biggest and smallest audience the group
has ever played to?
This is a tough question because I can assure you,
in the very early years, the audiences were small,
VERY small. But, since we opened at the Astor Place
Theatre in NYC, which has 300 seats, it remains the
smallest venue we perform in on a regular basis. And
then when we had the Blue Man Group Megastar World
Tour going on, we played to arenas of 10 to 12 thousand
people. That was incredible. We also do collaborations
and performances of all kinds, in different places,
such as opening at the Super Bowl or performing in
Carnivale in Brazil. I couldn't even guess how many
people were in attendance. Safe to say the number
varies greatly depending on the project.
When did you first realise you were really onto something
as far as The Blue Man Group being able to be a sustainable
group that would be able to tour the United States,
and eventually lead to world tours?
It took quite a while really. For a long time we were
just working hard and having fun, and really didnt
have any idea where it would lead. I thought we'd
probably run off-Broadway at the Astor Place Theatre
for a few months, and then tour festivals and universities
if we were lucky. Then some "word of mouth"
started kicking in that there was something unique
happening downtown, and we were fortunate to get the
call to be on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Regis
and Kathy Lee, and the show started selling out every
night! I think it was at that point that we started
to wonder if maybe we were on to something bigger.
Still, none of it was overnight, that is for sure!
We took small steps and never rally looked to far
into the future. There was no long-range business
plan for sure! We slowly opened shows around the US,
taking our time and trying to do things right so that
the show would have longevity. We didn't want to be
a flash in the pan. We turned down more offers than
we accepted, just to be sure we able to make thoughtful
decisions, maintain the quality of our shows, and
develop new material as we went along.
If someone says, in one or two sentences, what sort
of entertainment does The Blueman Group do, what do
you tell them?
It's a multi-media, multi-sensory euphoric celebration
for all ages and all walks of life. There is something
What does the blue face paint represent?
For us, the Blue Man character represents a child-like,
primal being an "everyman" as I said.
The Blue Man has elements we all posses. He is at
once an innocent as well as very heroic. He is a scientist
as well as being somewhat shamanic. He's also quite
a trickster while being a great group member. It's
these six attributes which at times seem to be at
odds that produce interesting behavior in the Blue
Man. I would also say we imagine him to be the true
self, without any pretense or social masks. So, for
us, putting on the blue make up is a ritual of taking
off the masks we wear in order to succeed in day to
day society, and revealing the true joyful self underneath.
How does the Star Lyric Theatre rate as a venue compared
other venues as far as technically, atmosphere, and
Its great! Its a beautiful theatre in a beautiful
city with incredible audiences. It has great acoustics,
which are very important to us. And it has that "X
factor" you can't defineit just has a great
vibe. We would be thrilled to play here for a long
What's your main secret to connecting to the audience?
The beauty of it is that if we trust the character,
and having no "fourth wall", we allow ourselves
to truly be present and "in-the-moment"
with the audience, and are vulnerable and very alive
in the theatre, people tend to see themselves in him,
they relate to him through the emotion he expresses
with music, color and even his non-verbal humor.
Who came up with the idea of raincoats for some audience
I don't remember where the idea came from exactly,
but it was one of those beautiful ideas that served
two purposes -- of course, on a practical level, it
helped to make sure that our patrons didn't leave
with stains on their clothing, but it also helped
to generate excitement in the theatre. When you hear
the rustling of the ponchos, and people squirming
in their seats, you know something exciting is about
to happen, and we love to live in that beautiful moment
What's the audition process like to join The Blue
Man Group, and what percentage of applicants make
We have a full time casting team that searches the
globe for potential Blue Men -- literally. Those who
think they have the skill set can send their information
in to Blue Man Productions and possibly get an audition,
but it is a challenging process, for sure. We are
looking for men or women who are 5'10 - 6'1, who are
trained actors, and preferably drummers as well. (However,
we have sometimes taught people to drum, if they couldn't
already). Only a few people out of every 100 applicants
make the cut, but for those who do, its an incredible
opportunity to bring joy to many people nightly.
How often do you include topical news events into
It varies. We are constantly writing new pieces and
bits for the shows, but it tends to be targeted at
things that truly affect who we are and how we live
rather than chase current events. We see the Blue
Man as pre-political, so we tend to stay away from
politics for the most part. Sometimes we'll add a
few minutes worth of new material to the show, other
times, we'll add large sections of half an hour or
more to the show. It really depends on how fast the
world is changing, if we feel inspired to make a comment
on the new state of our culture.
What's the biggest misconception about the group?
Funny, I still get questions from people who think
there are only 3 Blue Men in the world. They haven't
quite done the math, I think, to realize that we can't
possibly be in all these cities at the same time.
Of course, there is only one Blue Man Group, and all
of our shows and Blue Men originate from this group,
but there are many actors who now play the role in
various cities around the globe.
What would the Blue Man Group like to be remembered
Well if we are remembered for bringing some laughter
and hopefully a little group euphoria to a number
of people for a while that'll be awesome. But a few
times a show you get that person who speaks of being
truly inspired to find some new creativity in their
lives, and maybe go take some risks they would not
have taken. I don't know what you call that, but I'd
love to be remembered for b ringing a little of that
What's your motto?
Well, there have been so many inspirations for us
throughout the history of Blue Man Group, but the
one that guided us from the beginning is Joseph Campbell's
"FOLLOW YOUR BLISS". You can not predict
what will happen if you live by that!