Archive for August, 2008

Blue Man Group

August 23, 2008

The Blue Man Group is a live theatre show at Universal Orlando Resort. The venue is a converted sound stage located between Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure–The two Universal theme parks. The show consists of three “blue men”–Actors who wear blue prosthetics on their face and hands–Along with a live band. There are very few spoken words. The entire show is a visual display of dazzling special effects, mime, and audience involvement.

To attend the show, you must park in the Universal Studios parking lot (price $12 as of 2008), take the long trek through the middle of Universal’s City Walk, and pass the entrance to one of the two theme parks. Then you need to shell out big bucks (upwards of $80+ although in the interest of full disclosure Universal gave my family hospitality tickets for $30 each.) There is a small concession stand inside the theatre where you can get hot dogs, soft pretzels, popcorn, sodas and various alcoholic drinks for the usual theme park mark ups. The theatre seats approximately 1000 people. Although the show makes an effort to occasionally bring the action out to even the upper reaches of the back row, this is one show where you will benefit from getting seats that are center and as close to the front as possible. If you are very close to the front, you might want to wear a poncho. Indeed, since the first four or so rows all wore identical clear ponchos, perhaps the theatre provides them if you are going to be sitting in the “splash zone.”

Most likely you have seen the Blue Men in either commercials and/or during some TV specials. The show itself is pretty much what you would expect from these glimpses. It consists of a number of “scenes” some very short and others lasting fifteen minutes or longer. Each of these scenes involves the group interacting with something that provides either a visual spectacle, sound spectacle, humorous expressions, or a combination of all of them.

Some of the more memorable moments occur when the three blue men invite someone to the stage to enjoy a snack cake with knife and fork (no doubt a lucrative product placement with the brand clearly displayed so even the back row could see it), when the blue men walk, literally, through the chair tops of the audience, when they beat their drums spraying colored paint into the air, and when gooey, paint like substances squirt out of the centers of their chests.

My thirteen year old daughter particularly liked the lessons in how to properly respond to rock and roll music and the climatic ending when rolls and rolls of toilet paper-like streamers sprawled from the back of the theatre, helped along by the audience, to the front of the stage. She really squealed with delight when one of the blue men pulled me out of my chair and wrapped me head to foot with the toilet paper. I thought I would get one up on him by falling over backwards after being wrapped, only to discover they had outsmarted me by having another person stand behind me who caught me in my attempt to steal the show.

My number two son requested this outing to The Blue Man Group in celebration of his impending departure to begin his Sophomore year of college at Ringling School of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida. He thought the show was excellent and I enjoyed watching him and his older brother get into the swing of things during the lessons in rock and roll appreciation.

Although the show started off slowly and I was somewhat annoyed at the obvious product placement for a popular kid’s breakfast cereal and another for a snack bar (since they are not paying me I will not expose the specific brands) as well as feeling that the actors were not always as crisp and synchronized as they should have been for a highly professional show in this price range, by the end of the evening I found myself smiling broadly if not outright laughing. The show lasted approximately two hours and the time seemed to pass too quickly.

My office manager and her friend saw the show last week and were not very impressed. So perhaps it works better if you attend with youthful spirit! However, there is no question that younger kids will love the show. Although I am long past the age of having toddlers, I suspect they will enjoy it as much as they do their early morning cartoons. At $30 I felt as though I got my money’s worth–I’m not sure I would feel the same if I had paid $80.

Overall I would give Blue Man Group a hearty thumbs up. Though if you have a choice between Blue Man Group at Universal and La Nouba at Disney (The other major live theatre show in Orlando)–Go to La Nouba where you get so much more for your money. Blue Man Group will tickle your funny bone. La Nouba will make your heart soar!