It seems as if anytime I ask locals for something fun to do in the area, the Blue Man Group is bound to come up. Though people constantly tell me how fabulous the show is, I have always found something else to do. However, that all changed on Friday evening when I finally gave in and saw the Blue Man Group at the Briar Street Theatre in Chicago.
First, for those of you that do not know about the Blue Man Group, let me give you some background. The production is made up of three blue men that are literally blue from head to toe. The blue men are accompanied by a small, yet very, very loud band. Though the show features no spoken dialogue, the men lead the audience through self-exploration through lights, video, dancing, and every other human sense.
The show, which was apparently revamped earlier this year, features three giant "GiPads" that descend from the ceiling. The "GiPads" seem to help the blue men explore how humans communicate with each other. The touch-screens confused the blue men more than once, yet they slowly figure it out and eventually get their heads, literally, into their "GiPads" to see what all the fuss is about.
The "GiPads" are used again later in the show by a couple of 2-D characters that try to enter the real world. Tired of being held back by their 2-dimensional status, the characters try walking and interacting with humans. This segment of the show is really a part that makes you ponder how much technology is changing the world.
One of the fabulous things about this production is that audience participation is a must from beginning to end. The blue men search through the audience for a variety of audience members to do everything from eating a Twinkie with the blue men to being covered in paint and slammed into a canvas. As fun as the blue men are to watch, it is equally fun to watch the audience members either beg to picked or try to hide so they are not picked. Note to future audience members: the more you try to hide yourself, the more likely you seem to have a chance of being picked.
Throughout the show, the audience is left laughing, dancing, clapping, and, without really realizing it, thinking about life in general. Everything from the paint drums to the eating of cereal leaves the audience felling as if they are experiencing something never done before.
Now to be honest, and I promise I do not mean this in a bad way, my favorite part of the show is the end when a huge dance party closes out the show. Everything from streamers and toilet paper to big balls and strobe lights are running through your senses as fast as your mind can process it all. Once it is over, you are left invigorated and ready to keep partying. However, after a small encore, the show is, very sadly, over.
With all that said, I have to tell you that words simply cannot describe most of this show. It is literally a bit of everything. I have had people before tell me that "you just have to see it". I can promise you that it is true. To fully understand the Blue Man Group experience you have to just attend a show. A lot of what happens is the show is simply amazing and something that, even if I described to you, you may get a different reaction when you see it.
My best advice is to head over to 3133 North Halsted in Chicago and see the show. They have performances almost every day, and ticket prices start at less than $50.00. Just know that if you get a seat in the first five rows, you may get covered in paint, cereal, marshmallows, or who knows what else - so be sure to get as close to the stage as possible.
A final piece of advice before you go see this wonderful production, get there early. The lobby of the Theater is quite fun to play around in. If you arrive too late, you will not get a chance to fully experience all the tubes and gadgets they have going on to entertain you while you wait for the show to start.
For more information on the Blue Man Group, check out their website by clicking here.