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Blue Man Group Returns for Six Sensational Multimedia Performances at DPAC Sept. 5-8

The Durham Performing Arts Center will present Blue Man Group on Sept. 5-8 (photo ©Paul Kolnik)

The Durham Performing Arts Center will present Blue Man Group on Sept. 5-8 (photo ©Paul Kolnik)

On Sept. 5-8, the sensational Blue Man Group — three manic mute bald-capped men dressed in black with blue grease paint smeared all over their heads — will return to the Durham Performing Arts Center for six mind-bending, aurally and visually spectacular multimedia shows of avant-garde performance art. (They last wowed DPAC patrons on March 15-20, 2011.)

The Blue Man Group combines slapshtick humor with hard rock — much of it pounded out on experimental musical instruments — to create infectious tribal rhythms. This one-of-a-kind theatrical experience will mix new material with classic routines — and be different every single show, according to 35-year-old Boston-based Blue Man Mike Brown, who was born and raised in Virginia Beach, VA, and educated at Old Dominion University in nearby Norfolk.

Brown says, “I studied theater, mostly acting. I also learned a lot about backstage work, running crew, scenic design, lighting design, etc. I am not a trained drummer; but I started playing drums in 1995, when I got a drum set for my birthday.”

Mike Brown played in bands in high school and college, and he minored in sculpture at ODU. After college graduation, he moved to New York City to try to make a go of it as an actor. But his backstage skills proved invaluable.

“I didn’t want to rely entirely on acting jobs,” Brown confesses.

Mike Brown says he first saw Blue Man Group on a college trip in 1997. “I fell in love with it,” he says. “It was a dream of mine to perform as a Blue Man.”

Meanwhile, the critics were raving about previous Blue Man group performances. “Blue Man Group packs a wallop,” wrote the Baltimore Sun. “It’s a big, loud, funny, silly, visually arresting production!” The Charlotte Observer added that Blue Man Group is “a hugely entertaining show for anyone ages 9 to 90”; and the San Antonio Express-News declared, “[Blue Man Group is] an exhilarating, thought-provoking, laugh-yourself-silly evening of percussion-heavy rock music, comedy and playful commentary.”

The DPAC news release quotes Blue Man Group co-founder Philip Stanton as explaining:

“Our theatrical productions take a humorous look at what we like to call 2.5-D space. An example of what we mean by this would be e-mailing or texting the person in the next office rather than walking over to talk to them face-to-face.

“We say that no matter how high-tech things get, there’s still something human there. We’ll always need others, always need to collaborate. People still need to come together and look each other in the eye. Through the Blue Man’s connection with the audience, we hope to encourage this human-to-human interaction, while helping people reconnect with their own sense of wonder and discovery, with their own sense of what is possible in their lives.”

Blue Man Mike Brown

Blue Man Mike Brown without makeup

Mike Brown first joined the Blue Man Group as a member of its backstage crew. Six months in, he responded to an open-audition notice — something like this invitation on the group’s website: “The Blue Man Casting Team is always looking to connect with new and dynamic performers. We accept submissions throughout the year for productions around the globe. Being a Blue Man is unlike any other gig. If you think you have the right combination of charisma, talent, and energy, we invite you to dig a little deeper and explore the world of Blue Man Group. There might just be a place in it for you.”

Mike Brown proved that he had the Right Stuff — that is, the “charisma, talent, and energy” to be a Blue Man — in 2003. He has assumed a humanoid persona and taken the stage in blue makeup and black threads in New York City, Boston, Chicago, Toronto, and Berlin, as well as shipboard on the Norwegian Cruide Lines.

“I do the show permanently in Boston,” notes Mike Brown, who is embarking on his first North American tour as a Blue Man and admits, “I’m extremely excited.”

“There’s always three Blue Men [in each show],” says Brown. “They’re hyperconnected, and very similar in a lot of ways and and very different in a lot of ways — different in terms of personality, knowledge of what they’re working with, and their tasks at hand.”

He adds, “I play all three roles — stage left, center, and right” He describes the main character he plays as “really interested in the [other] beings in the room — and he’s also very silly….

“The show is a lot of fun,” says Mike Brown. “It’s about everybody connecting as a community…. The Blue Men and the audience are hyperconnected at the end of the show.”

Brown says, “The Blue Men show the audience what they are capable of, and they bring audience members up on stage… {They try to] create a massive dance party in the audience. Because it’s so hard to describe, you really have to experience the show for yourself….

“One unique part of our show is, the Blue Men don’t speak,” says Brown. “We communicate through our eyes, through our actions, and through our music.”

Brown says four Blue Men travel with the current tour, which is produced by NETworks Presentations, LLC, but only three of them perform during each show.

“Recently,” says 10-year veteran Blue Man Mike Brown, “the Blue Man has become even more interested inn the world around him, particularly the world of technology, such as iPhones, computers, [and] texting. This is a chance to show off some of their larger [experimental musical] instruments and toys, including drums that are definitely unique to this show….

“In the touring show,” Brown claims, “the finale is truly a spectacular and awe-inspiring moment. The lighting design and sound design are definitely unique to this show. People will have a ball!”

He adds, “The Blue Men are super-excited to be out on the road, and to share everything that they can with the people who will spend time with them…. Trying to describe what the Blue Man Group does onstage is trying to describe the indesccribable.”

Triangle theatergoers will just have to see the show for themselves Sept. 5-8!

SECOND OPINION: Aug. 22nd Durham, NC Herald-Sun review by Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan: (Note: You must register to read this article).

The Durham Performing Arts Center presents BLUE MAN GROUP at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 5, 8 p.m. Sept. 6, 2 and 8 p.m. Sept. 7, and 1 and 6:30 p.m. Sept. 8 at 123 Vivian St., Durham, North Carolina 27701, in the American Tobacco District.

TICKETS: $42.75-$100.75 (including fees).


DPAC Box Office: 919-680-ARTS (2787),, or

Ticketmaster: 800-982-2787 or

GROUP RATES (10+ tickets): 919-281-0587,, or







DPAC PARENTAL ADVISORY: “Most parents would find this program suitable for ages 5 and above. All guests require a ticket, regardless of age. No one under the age of 5 admitted into the theater, and children must be able to sit quietly in their own seat without disturbing other guests.”


Blue Man Group: (official website), (Facebook page), (Twitter page), (Wikipedia), and (Internet Movie Database).

Blue Man Group YouTube Channel: (YouTube).

NETworks Presentations, LLC (producer): (official website).

Mike Brown (Blue Man): (Facebook page).


Robert W. McDowell is editor and publisher of Triangle Review, a FREE weekly e-mail entertainment newsletter that provides more comprehensive, in-depth coverage of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill performing-arts events than all of the other news media combined. This preview is reprinted with permission from Triangle Review.

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