From their xylophonic instrumentals to their audience singalong of "Go Ask Alice," Blue Man Group has made music as much a part of its act as toilet paper, spinning canvases and spurting goo. Now folks enamored of the Blue Man sound can bring it on home, as the theatrical troupe release their first CD, "Audio," Dec. 7. The CD launch party will be held Dec. 1 in Las Vegas -- the Group's next city to tackle.
Spokesperson Manuel Igrejas is careful not to call the Virgin Records disc a "cast album," noting that although the music contains "recognizable elements" from the stage production, it's not the actual score of the show. In a statement, original cast-member Chris Wink put it this way: "On `Audio,' we were free to structure the music on its own terms and were able to create a listening experience that is unburdened by theatrical obligations." Instruments used on the recording include electric zithers, "airpoles" and, of course, plumbing pipes.
As for the Vegas stint, Blue Man Group will offer a hybrid of old and new material in their production at the Luxor Theatre, opening March 2000. Titled Blue Man Group: Live at Luxor, the production will utilize a seven-piece band (instead of the usual three) and make music an even more important part of the mix. *
It's not quite an Off-Broadway record (The Fantasticks still has 31 years on them), but Sept. 28, Blue Man Group performed "Tubes" for the 3,700th time since opening at the Astor Place Theatre, Nov. 17, 1991.
Created by Matt Goldman, Phil Stanton and Chris Wink, the group began performing on the streets of Manhattan and then graduated to PS 122 and Dixon Place. After an unforgettable stint at 1991's Lincoln Center Serious Fun Festival and an Obie-winning run at La MaMa, Blue Man Group is still going strong -- and still sending tons of paper cascading over audiences' heads. On Oct. 27, 1997, the Windy City officially turned blue when the avant garde theatre trio opened its third resident company in Chicago, IL. These "curious, gentle beings from inner space" -- who munch Cap'n Crunch, toss marshmallows at each other, create colorful works of spit up art, drum and play specially designed instruments -- currently reside at the Briar Street Theatre on North Halsted. Since Oct. 1995 the second Blue Man company has been banging away in Boston.
Initially, creators Wink, Goldman and Stanton did 1,000 straight performances as the trio before taking a break and selecting new cast members. It's not so easy to cast Blue Men, since they not only have to have solid acting and drumming skills but must be between 5'10 and 6' and the same body type as the other cast-members.
Currently, the Chicago, Boston and New York companies feature Chris Bowen, Shawn Sturnick, Jeffrey Doornbos, Randall Jaynes, Brian Scott, Steve White, Pete Simpson, Thamus Rounds, John Grady, Peter Starrett, Scott Kinworthy, Michael Cates, Wes Day, Tom Galassi, General Fermon Judd, Bryce Somerville, Frank Licari, Nathan Wetherington, Michael Rayhal, Jonthan Taylor, Matthew Banks, Anthony Parrulli, Gideon Banner, Eric Gebow and Jeffrey Brown.
For information and tickets: (773) 348-4000. For tickets to the Astor Place Blue Man Group show, call (212) 254-4370.
--By David Lefkowitz and Christine Ehren