Fall Preview: The brotherhood of Blue Man Group
For Mike Brown, a member of Blue Man Group for a decade, being a Blue Man is being part of a brotherhood. They all see it as a sacred brotherhood, he said, and it astonishes him that he’s a part of it.
Brown, Blue Man Group captain for the current national tour, spoke with The Herald-Sun by phone this week as he arrived in Philadelphia with a Blue Man brother and they were heading to rehearsal for the show in Atlantic City, N.J. Blue Man Group will return to the Durham Performing Arts Center for a four-day run Sept. 5-8.
Brown has been Blue in New York, Boston, Chicago, Toronto, Berlin, Oberhausen and on a cruise. This is his first national tour, and bigger venues allow Blue Man Group to show off larger toys, larger technical effects, more lighting and an array of sound. A Blue Man show, which, if you didn’t know by now features three men dressed in black and with skin painted bright blue, is a cavalcade of percussion, effects, color, light and humor. Blue Man Group is also about supporting a theme of creating a big sense of community, Brown said, and a large party for all.
Every night the show is fresh and fun and exciting, he said. “Sometimes I have a hard time calling my job work,” Brown said.
As captain, Brown’s job is to “keep the team working cohesively, efficiently, is getting along and having fun,” he said. “You’re maintaining the Blue Man aesthetic, the Blue Man character.”
So who is the Blue Man?
“The Blue Man is a deeply curious, egoless being that is really interested in getting out there and connecting with everything around him,” Brown said. “He’s part scientist and part clown. He’s not afraid to look silly.”
Brown studied theater at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va., and played the drums in bands with friends. He saw a Blue Man Group show in 1997, fell in love with it, and it became a dream of his to be a Blue Man and combine his loves of acting and drumming. After college, he moved to New York and got a job in the background of Blue Man as a deck two sub on the crew, which meant setting up props among other duties. He had a lot of fun and learned a lot about Blue Man Group, Brown said. Six months into his job, there was an open call for Blue Men, and Brown became Blue.
Even after 10 years as a Blue Man, being a Blue Man means always wanting more and always working, he said. You also have to act with your eyes since Blue Men don’t speak, and catch things in your mouth. They practice that every day.
“It’s live theater – if a guy throws you a marshmallow and you miss, it was meant to be,” Brown said. That blue paint has gotten in his eye, and even on his contact, but it’s non-toxic so you just work through it. The blue of BMG is a special color. Brown loves the color blue. Being a Blue Man is an honor, he said, and a great experience.
WANT TO GO?
WHAT: Blue Man Group
WHEN: Sept. 5-8
WHERE: Durham Performing Arts Center
123 Vivian St., Durham