Blue Man Group Returns to Houston

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Everyone's favorite blue men return to Houston for an eight-performance engagement at Jones Hall from June 4 to June 9. Blue Man Group's touring production brings together all of its trademark elements: original instrumental rhythms, mind-altering video projections and unforgettable sound design. Part music concert, part multimedia art project, Blue Man Group is all parts theatrical spectacle. As any iPhone user knows, all things tech become dated, but there's a reason why this performing troupe has stayed a hot ticket since the early '90s. Underneath all that blue paint and computer-generated imagery, Blue Man Group has a heart.

"We say that no matter how high-tech things get, there's still something human there. We'll always need others, always need to collaborate," says co-founder and original Blue Man Philip Stanton via press materials." People still need to come together and look each other in the eye. Through the Blue Man's connection with the audience, we hope to encourage this human-to-human interaction, while helping people reconnect with their own sense of wonder and discovery, with their own sense of what is possible in their lives."

The spirit of collaboration runs deep in the group's performing history. My earliest memory of Blue Man Group was in 2001. I was 15 and watching the Grammy telecast when that year's host, Jon Stewart, announced the next performers - Moby, Jill Scott and Blue Man Group. I was a huge fan of the first two artists, but had no idea who or what Blue Man Group was. Thirty seconds into Moby's hit "Natural Blues," I knew.

Three bald men painted a shiny blue tint rushed onstage playing full-body percussion instruments that sounded as deep and rich as a fluttering heartbeat. Their psychedelic images of swirling DNA and moving eyeballs were a strange complement to Scott's earthy vocals and Moby's electronic guitar, but it all synched well together. In the 11 Grammy telecasts I've seen since then, few performances have matched the artistic idiosyncrasy of the Blue Man Group collaboration.

I've been a fan ever since.

What can audiences expect this time around? The group will perform some of its tribal themed staples, plus new material that will make use of a giant high-resolution screen. The show promises to be a visual and aural feast. Of course, the set isn't all just one glossy show. Audience members will be treated to the group's signature comedic wit and human pathos for a theatrical experience that's edifying on multiple levels.

The trio of Blue Men who will perform at the eight-show run include Shane Andries, a native Houstonian who graduated from Cypress Creek High School. Andries received his BFA in acting from North Carolina School of the Arts and is an experienced Blue Man. In addition to the national tour, he's performed with the group in Boston, Orlando, and off-Broadway at the Astor Palace Theatre.

Welcome home Blue Man.

The Society for the Performing Arts presents Blue Man Group at Jones Hall from June 4 to 9. For information, visit www.spahouston.org.

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