Blue Man Group to invade ToledoWritten by Vicki L. Kroll | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Few know what it’s like to be the madman, the rad man behind blue paint.
When Chris Smith puts on that customized hue, he feels freedom.
“When you have this sense of otherness about you, it’s kind of like you get permission to do things, especially as a Blue Man Group member,” he said.
“As we’re going through the audience, I’ll just pick someone and I’ll stare at them. I don’t do anything; I’ll just look at them. I’ve done it for 30 seconds where I don’t move and I’m just looking at someone and I’m getting fascinated by someone’s eyelash or ear lobe.
“If I were to do that anywhere, walking down the street, people would definitely call the police. I’m sure of it,” he said and laughed.
It was the interactive nature of the Blue Man Group show that spurred the actor to audition in 2011.
“We, as Blue Men, as performers, are given basically carte blanche to step out and get in your lap, which is an exciting element,” Smith said during a call from a tour stop in Memphis, Tenn. “This is very much audience-centric in the sense that we literally have a piece where we go out and hold a mini-casting session and pull an audience member up on stage and do a 10- to 15-minute piece where we don’t really know where it’s going to go.”
The trio loves it when something odd happens during a performance.
“There’s a part of the show where all the power goes out, and for whatever reason at that point an usher decided to show some people to their seats and we’re out there in the crowd,” Smith recalled. “The lights come back on and suddenly there’s this giant group trying to get to their seats and we’re standing right in front of them.
“Without missing a beat, we just grabbed their tickets and helped them find their seats. In the middle of the show, we all of the sudden turned into Blue Men Ushers, which was fun.”
Fun is what the Blue Man Group brings to its all-ages show. There’s tossing and catching marshmallows.
“I can remember throwing I believe 30 [marshmallows] in one show and somehow got them all in [the catcher’s mouth],” Smith said.
Of course, there’s “Shake Your Euphemism,” a humorous song that features dozens of names for the derrière.
“I think ‘your growing personal following’ is my favorite,” Smith said with a laugh.
And there’ll be artful drumming.
“Paint drumming is all over the place,” he said. “I think what’s really cool about this tour is that we always call it alt-Broadway, because you get these giant spectacles that you’d find at a Vegas or Broadway show and yet you have these off-Broadway, kind of intimate, small-theater-feeling moments.”
The Blue Man Group will perform eight shows from Dec. 4 through Dec. 9 at Stranahan Theater. Ticket prices range from $28 to $73. Showtimes can be viewed at stranahantheater.org.
“I think the best mentality to approach Blue Man with is — it’s a hard thing to explain to people, it’s a hard thing to prime people to know what they’re getting themselves into because it is not like anything else out there,” Smith said. “Ideally, what people will walk away with is a sense of igniting the inner child again.”