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The Life of a Blue Man

April 3, 2014

Feeling blue? Join the Blue Man Group!

Blue Man GroupSince its inception in 1987, the Blue Man Group performance art/music collective has entertained millions with its shows in New York, Las Vegas, cruise ships, and touring throughout the U.S. and Europe. Dozens have (mostly anonymously) put on head-to-toe blue makeup to perform with the group, but how did they get there? As Tobias on Arrested Development discovered, it’s pretty hard.

A reporter for the Portland Mercury interviewed Blue Man Russell Rinker—a former lumberjack and Shakespearean trained actor—to find out more about the audition process. Rinker says acting experience helps, and so do drumming skills. (There is a lot of percussion in a Blue Man show. Saturday Night Live and Portlandia star Fred Armisen is a former rock drummer, and he did a sting in the BMG.) They also seem to favor a very certain physical type: between 5’10” and 6’1” with an athletic build. (Only one woman has ever been a Blue Man, a one-year member of the Boston cast.)

The average Blue Man takes about 45 minutes to put on his makeup and get suited up before a performance. They also have to follow certain rules while on stage. A Blue Man can never talk and can’t swing his arms. They also have “no ego,” meaning nobody is a standout or star, and must always behave in a curious manner. During the training process, junior members spend time at dog parks studying the nonverbal behavior of (blue?) man’s best friend.

But it’s not all serious, dramatic work. The Las Vegas crew also have their own bowling team and play in a league against cast members from other Vegas shows such as Mama Mia, Avenue Q, and Cirque du Soleil.

If you’re interested, the Blue Men’s wranglers hold annual auditions. The next one is scheduled for May 5th in Los Angeles.

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