What does it take to be a Blue Man? Global Okanagan goes behind the scenes

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The Blue Man Group—an internationally-renowned theatrical production—is performing in the Okanagan. Shelby Thom takes you on a behind-the-scenes tour at the SOEC – Apr 23, 2019

They’re bald, bold, blue and they don’t speak.

The world-renowned performance art production Blue Man Group will be in the Okanagan at the South Okanagan Events Centre (SOEC) on April 23 and 24.

The high-energy show with tribal rock sounds integrates technology, music art and comedy. It’s a sensory overload.

READ MORE: Blue Man Group invades Montreal Metro

“The Blue Man Group is a really exciting, fun experience for the audience,” said Blue Man performer Jonathan Clapham, who has been in the role for 12 years.

Clapham is a Chicago native who studied theatre in high school before earning a Masters of Fine Arts in acting. He is also a classically-trained pianist.

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“Met with the casting department of Blue Man Group, did the auditions, learned how to drum and yeah, it all worked out,” he said, describing how he joined the troupe.

READ MORE: Blue Man Group comes to Montreal

The group was founded in New York City in 1987. Performers have visited 25 countries.

The production was recently acquired by Cirque du Soleil and is touring across Canada, reaching smaller towns that have never experienced it before.

Clapham said the iconic blue paint takes 45 minutes to apply.

READ MORE: Blue Man Group in Vancouver

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“We put a bald cap on, like a latex bald cap, so it covers up all your hair, covers your ears [and] over that we put a whole bunch of this makeup,” he said at rehearsal on Tuesday.

The production also customizes its own unconventional instruments, played in a unique way by a live band.

“I usually think of the music as the consciousness of the Blue Man,” said musician Terry Tungjun. “Since they don’t speak, we are actually speaking for them through music.”

WATCH: Blue Man Group invades Montreal Metro

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Blue Man Group invades Montreal Metro – Feb 11, 2019

And while the special effects have changed over the last decade, Clapham says the crux of the show remains the same.

“New technology works its way into the show, but the core of what Blue Man Group is about [is] that curiosity, that desire to connect with people and to connect people to each other,” he said.
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“All of that beating heart of Blue Man Group has continued throughout.”