“Blue Man Group” – ASU Gammage

This review aired on KBAQ November 3, 2011


ASU Gammage
Tempe, AZ

“Blue Man Group,” now at ASU Gammage, is an acquired taste, and it’s a taste I will never understand or enjoy.

But before “Blue Man Group” criticism, there is a more serious issue.  The show is part of this season’s seven-show Broadway Across America – Arizona series.

While the Las Vegas style entertainment may appeal to many, there’s no way this vaudeville extravaganza qualifies as a Broadway show.  It has no plot and the background music is secondary to the magic maneuvers and technical wonders that make up this short show.  Why wasn’t “Blue Man Group” offered as an optional attraction?  It will be interesting to see how many Broadway subscribers feel “Blue Man Group” was an appropriate season entry.

The “Blue Man Group” has played to over 17 million people worldwide.  The version here is the newest although much is identical to Las Vegas.  There’s new technology and a few new ideas, including a funny one about text messaging, but much is the same material used in earlier variations.

Although “Blue Man Group” is innovative and unique, like Las Vegas, clever ideas turn into too long segments as the material grows monotonous and boring quickly.  One wishes routines were shorter and more diverse material was included.

Two of the show’s big numbers are identical to Las Vegas.  In one, an audience member is brought on stage.  Like other audience members close to the front, she’s covered in plastic to protect her clothing from the paint that flies around freely throughout the show.  She seems embarrassed initially but she sits down with the Blue Man Group ensemble where they then spend an eternity opening, cutting, dicing, dissecting, and passing around Twinkies until this belabored routine ends with all four of them throwing up from obvious holes in their chest-tugging garb.  The person’s polish and similar appearance to the Las Vegas participant make me suspicious the “volunteer” is actually part of the company.

The other audience participation trick plays similarly.  A recruited man dons a white suit and is covered in paint.  Off stage, a camera shows him being thrown at a canvas where instant artwork results.  The picture and the paint saturated guy are trudged on stage and displayed.  Another predictable plant methinks.  Three unidentified guys of the six listed cast members played Tuesday.  They did their routines and physical gyrations with panache and athletic verve.  My companion who hadn’t seen “Blue Man Group,” agreed with my criticisms but enjoyed the group although he said it was a one time experience.

You may love “Blue Man Group” but the routines are too long, and, once you’ve seen it, that’s it.  “Blue Man Group” continues through Sunday with limited tickets remaining.  For tickets, call the ASU Gammage box office at 1-800-982-2787 or order tickets online at www.asugammage.com.

Grade: D


One Response to ““Blue Man Group” – ASU Gammage”

  1. aperson said:

    Nov 04, 11 at 16:36

    I completely agree with your review of the show. I also agree that it shouldn’t be part of a Broadway series package. I had never seen it before and both my husband and I both had agreed that the routines were too long. I lost my interest for each routine. I was just waiting to get out of there but the crowd was cheering. I am a season ticket holder, but I purchased two additional tickets for my daughter and boyfriend and thought $75/ticket was steep for the entertainment quality. I would have rather spent my cash on something else or donated it to one of the local theater companies that produces better quality shows than this one.