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'Blue Man Group' lands at Gammage Nov. 1-6

October 17, 2011

It has been called performance art, experimental rock, avant-garde, theatrically offbeat – simply put, an experience.

For Patrick Newton, he calls the the show home.

Newton will be performing Nov. 1-6, at ASU Gammage, on the Tempe campus, as part of "Blue Man Group."

Having seen the show in Las Vegas in 2003, I was excited by the opportunity to talk with Newton about being a Blue Man and find out what he thinks of the tour.

This is the first U.S. theatrical tour for "Blue Man Group," which means you spend nearly a year on the road. What is your favorite part about touring?

I think the best part about touring is getting to do the show and be a Blue Man. It's nice to see the country and it's been a lot of fun moving around, but when your life changes so much on a daily basis it's nice to have something consistent to come to. The show is the consistency – what I can invest in wholeheartedly.

When I'm on stage performing, it feels like I'm home.

How would you describe the Blue Man?

It's a little difficult to describe. After people see the show, they don't know what to think of him. A lot of people compare him to an alien or a mime, but he's none of those things. He's more like some sort of reflection from ourselves. He's primal. He doesn't have these social restrictions.

When you see him, he seems in some ways very innocent and childlike. He has these chauvinistic qualities. He can play tricks and music, and do these interesting things that we don't do in our day-to-day lives.

What skills do you need as a Blue Man performer?

There's a lot of music in the show, so music ability is a big one. The Blue Man plays percussion and things that he finds and then turns them into instruments.

You also have to have a pretty rudimentary knowledge of drumming.

There are some other interesting ones – circus-like skills – unique skills that you don't see very often, if ever.

There is a popular episode of the "Arrested Development" television show when the character Tobias Funke joins the Blue Man Group. Have you seen it? What did you think?

I'm a huge David Cross fan. I think anything he does is just gold. I got a kick out of that episode, as did a lot of people, I think. My brother bought me a shirt.

Before you were a Blue Man, what were you doing?

I went to Western Michigan University for musical theatre. I had vocal training and dance training. My parents are music teachers, so I grew up drumming. And then I found this job. Actually, it found me.


To see Newton perform with "Blue Man Group," Nov. 1-6, at ASU Gammage, visit the box office to purchase tickets or to learn more information about the upcoming tour.

The show is appropriate for people of all ages and is 90 minutes long with no intermission.

With no spoken words, the show transcends language – perhaps the reason why it remains so difficult to define.