17 Feb The Rise and Growth of the Blue Man
Everybody is the Blue Man and its everywhere. Created by friends Chris Wink, Phil Stanton and Matt Goldman in New York City in the late’ 80s in a small 300-seat theater in New York’s East Village, Blue Man has evolved into a phenomenon with full-blown tours and a top-end Vegas show. Today, Blue Man continues to raise the bar with their new show at the Venetian in a custom-made venue. One of the co-founders Matt Goldman talks to an online casino site about the Blue Man Group’s evolution, development and strength.
Could you please tell me how Blue Man grew?
I think the core of that whole question is that we’ve remained an organization owned and operated by artists. Because of that] we have a concept that really doesn’t exist anywhere else we know of. It is not a blueprint for Broadway. This is not a model of the Cirque. It is not the traditional model of entertainment in Las Vegas. So we are at once aware of the realities of having to run an enterprise with a lot of people, and meeting payroll and insurance and all that kind of things, but at the same time we get to make as pure, creative-driven decisions as one can have in the realities of having to survive in a commercial world.
Why did the Venetian create the new Blue Man theatre?
It’s not a theatre. It was a room only. They rented it out and did the variety show “V” and who knows what else[ there]. But it didn’t have a gallery of flying, not all the infrastructure that would support a big kind of show. Like Phantom we don’t need water and stuff that flies around.
Have you specifically created new Blue Man Sequences for the Venetian?
One thing we did was change our approach to lighting entirely, and set it from scratch, start to finish. The Luxor show was a black void and everything we needed for that bit was brought onto the stage and taken out. The Venetian is exactly the opposite. We worked with this guy in the first place, Marc Brickman. Marc Brickman is the man who has been producer designer for The Wall of Pink Floyd. He also did concerts with the Nine Inch Nails that got all the attention with those crazy screens that flew all around. He is like a god in the world of rock. He described[ this new show] in that he took all of his 30-plus years of rock world experience, and we took all of our Blue Man world experience and we smashed it all together to create what we did at the Venetian.
So this Blue Man is more of a show about rock?
One of the new pieces in the series is not exactly but[ for example] a send-up to the rock concert experience. It is “Blue Man Stumbles on a’ How to Be a Rock Star’ manual.” The Blue Man plays rock star for about seven to eight minutes, and the crowd plays worshiping, wild, over – the-top rock fans. And it’s all role-playing but it’s so fun. We’re just telling people what to do, like shaking their fist into the air or screaming with both of the arms flying high. And we are sneaking some of the coolest rock effects you’ll ever see behind it. We make fun of the tool. At the same time, though, we are trying to give you the best aspect of a rock concert that you’ll ever see.
Does it just become about the perception of what the audience is watching?
Overall[ which is inherent in how] we created that set. It has a depth of 80 feet. All that tubing and connections are in there. We are lighting it up. We only use 40 feet to perform where Blue Man actually does. But we build on it in the back space]. It is human. This is organic. It is an urban one. At times] you’re not sure if it’s the information age because there are cables and, at other times, the industrial age is where giant sludge pipes pass through them. The first half of[ the new show] is very similar[ to the old one] but it’s more of an “old school” than ever before.
In getting the audience and the Blue Man to know each other in the first half we are taking a lot more attention. We want the audience to really connect with the Blue Man’s humanity. Then as the show begins to unfold, the set is starting to reveal itself and things are getting bigger and spectacular. Yet still you are linked to humanity. The Venetian’s second half[ of the show] has much more character to Blue Man. It’s a lot of fun. And it does have much better music.
What’s in your mind as you transition through new Blue Man eras?
That was the obstacle all along. Each show we’re doing is a continuation of previous shows. It has been revised. This is something of an evolution. Our most recent thinking. So, we’re never thinking about a whole new show. This is not the way it is. But what we do is explain it to ourselves[ where we ask] “What is it? What kind of standard is that? Why does it happen at the end of the series, where a friend or family member will recommend it to 98 or 99 percent of everyone who saw the film?”What we recently got in touch with is that the series is about creating a certain feeling.
There is no fourth wall, so the audience’s personality does have an effect on the show. We are trying to get this feeling of euphoria in its baseline, this heightened feeling of being great. We spoke and remembered this morning that feeling great as a person often requires a group experience, and how that works in different scenarios. We just have to make sure we keep an eye on the ball. The feeling we have. The ideas echo, because being human is all about what it is. At first, this creature looks like the Blue Man and then you know it’s actually a piece of you and I and everyone.