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Natural Awakenings Chicago

Blue Man Group Excites Audiences Young and Old

Mar 25, 2014 08:00AM ● By Megy Karydes

Blue Man Group Unveils new GiPad; Photo Credit: Paul Natkin

Blue Man Group has been a staple of Chicago’s theater scene since 1997 when three silent performers decked in blue started entertaining audiences young and old at the Briar Street Theater. What started as a street performance art has grown with permanent live performance installations in six cities, an ongoing theatrical tour of the USA and Canada and a highly acclaimed show on Norwegian Cruise Line’s Epic.

My family and I, which included my husband and 7 year old son and 9 year old daughter, were invited to attend a performance on a Friday afternoon and while my son wasn’t thrilled to go, I think he might have been the one who most enjoyed the performance.

The intimate space seats 675 and was once the carriage house for the horses used to deliver good for Marshall Field and Company. Now the theater is packed with locals and tourists alike, even more than a decade later. Why? Partially because The Blue Man Group is a very unique, multi-scensory experience that melds theatrical spectacle with strong original music and comedy that appeals to a broad audience, from my young and wide-eyed seven year old to cynical adults.

The other reason it’s withstood the test of time is that while the iconic, silent, inquisitive Blue Man character has remained consistent since the show’s opening, the world he reacts to is continuously changing, allowing for a production that continuously evolves. So the show I saw a decade ago is very different yet kept similar elements (like the drumming, music and the paint). Today’s performance is a blend of those signature elements with newer passages that examine the influence of technology on today’s world with a funny and perceptive look at contemporary communication vehicles.

One such element was the GiPad (a spoof of the iPad) and how the way we choose to communicate over technology has ridiculously changed how we communicate in general. It’s a thought-provoking performance. Yes, we’re there to be entertained and we are entertained, but make no mistake, the performance will have you thinking about what we now come to do very naturally (using our phones and other types of technology) rather than bother to observe nature around us.

The performance ends with a pulsating finale that has audiences up an out of their seats, featuring an original Blue Man Group music score. The kids (and adults) were frantically trying to move along the giant orbs floating above the audience and it was remarkable to see everyone, people we didn’t know, helping each other get access to these orbs.

With Spring break beginning for students, the Blue Man Group offers several different types of offers and discounts that are worth checking out.

Blue Man Group

3133 N. Hasted

(773) 348-4000