I can't see anything that reminds me of the Blue Man Group without being overwhelmed with nostalgia. Reminders may include face painters from Duke or Kansas State, or bald-headed on Tobias trying out for the group on Arrested Development.
"Intelligent, engaging and tremendous fun... You leave the theater with a heightened awareness of everything surrounding you, feeling elated." is what the Las Vegas Weekly claims. And I agree.
I've only seen them once, but it goes down in my lifetime moment annuls as way up there. A long time ago, my husband was in NYC on business, and my middle son and I went with him. My brother lives there, and insisted on taking us to the Blue Man Group as much as I resisted. "Please don't make me dress up and go to the theatre. It's so looooooong," I whined. He ignored me, thank goodness, and we all filed into a tiny little auditorium that was packed. No one was dressed up.
I fidgeted in my seat for a few minutes, asking my brother exactly what kind of show this was going to be. He just shushed me. "Fine. I'm going to get a brochure," I said.
"A what?" he asked.
"A brochure. It will tell me about this blue business."
"Oh. A playbill," he said, rolling his eyes, not for the first time that trip.
I squeezed myself down our packed row, whispering to my husband I was going to get a playbill.
"A what?" he asked.
A playbill. It tells us what's going on," I said.
"Oh. A brochure." My brother rolled his eyes yet again.
By the time I got back, the theatre was dark and I checked my watch, hoping time would pass quickly. It did, but by the time I realized I was an hour into the performance, I didn't want it to end. It's been over 15 years since I saw them, and I can't remember the details, only that these three men painted in deep vivid blue paint conveyed a wide range of emotions purely by their expressions. Not words.
At one point there was an avalanche of toilet paper streaming over the entire audience as we sat in amazement and delight. They may not do that any more but it covered us. Literally. Our heads from the chin up were the only thing visible, and there was a big grin on every single one.
Started by three long-time friends in 1987, Blue Man Group now has 60 members who rotate in and out as they travel all over the world. But the three original members still perform.
I took a picture of my son with the group. The three of them, bald and completely blue, crowded around my little boy and made dramatic expressions as I snapped the shutter. I thought that picture would be a real keeper. That I would have it to remember our special trip to New York. I had other pictures on that camera: the snow magically covering the city that night, my son soaring around the pond in Central Park on ice skates, my brother and my son mugging it up at some amusement-park-lunch place.
But I lost my camera. Devastated, I called the cab company and filed a report. My brother didn't roll his eyes. He just gently told me the camera was probably gone. He'd lived in New York a while by then.
So now my memories of that special, special time aren't triggered by the picture I took of my little boy surrounded by these amazing blue men. The picture I never actually saw, but still imagine.
My son is 24 now, has a job with benefits, and doesn't live at home. But when I see any man painted blue, whether he's a fanatical football fan, or a bonified Blue Man, I'm transported back to that awestruck little boy, grinning ear-to-ear at the captivating performance we were a part of years ago.
(The Blue Man Group is due in Chattanooga on Thursday)