With their trademark blue performers, Las Vegas’ Blue Man Group at the Monte Carlo has been exciting audiences for decades with their sensory-packed production. The show, which is exhilarating for audiences of any age, takes you on a journey of human behavior and interaction by way of sound and light effects including strobe lights, confetti and plenty of other surprises along the way.
However considering that these notorious blue men have been entertaining at various properties on Las Vegas Boulevard since the early 2000s, in order to keep the production current and thrilling, the company decided it was time for a change. Recently revamped with new choreography and effects, Associate Artistic Director of Blue Man Group Michael Dahlen stepped in to evolve the musically-driven production to its highly anticipated next level.
To get the inside scoop on the changes implemented in the show, we chatted with Dahlen and then went to see for ourselves just how invigorating this show really is – let’s just say that you know you’re in for a wild experience when a show requires the first two rows to wear rain ponchos.
Q&A with Michael Dahlen
Q: What changes have been made to evolve the show?
A: Artistically we feel compelled to evolve. Like human DNA, we are constantly evolving and changing with our environment and culture. In this most recent addition to the show, we have added new music and new instruments; we’ve created a group selfie moment in the show; and really amped up the celebration at the finale of the show. Technology and our relationship to it has been a part of Blue Man Group’s creative evolution for a while now. We reworked a couple of moments in the show to reflect this ever-changing, deepening relationship between humans and the technology they live with every day.
Q: What was the reason behind the changes?
A: Blue Man Group has, from the beginning, been a product of the times. Culturally, what moves people changes and morphs constantly. What people get excited about also changes and Blue Man Group is a part of that. We share the same cultural experiences with our audiences and we always feel compelled to reflect this creatively. Our process is ongoing in that way, and it’s always our aim to ask the audience to look at where we are now in a fun way. For example, the idea of self-celebration is a big part of our world, with selfies being a huge phenomenon. We thought why not add a moment to the show for the Blue Men to explore that concept as well? It’s the biggest nightly selfie in Las Vegas!
Q: What is the common theme between the new additions implemented into the show?
A: Everything in our show is built to really celebrate the idea of being fully alive. We believe there are certain things that are built into our human DNA — the need to feel connected, the need to express creativity, the need to feel all of our senses firing off at the same time — creating a euphoric feeling.
Q: How did you collaborate on the new additions?
A: Collaboration has been the key to our success, since the beginning of Blue Man Group. We take the “group” part of our name very seriously. We believe that multiple perspectives can contribute to something whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. That is the case on this show. We added a couple of new and very exciting voices this time around. We’ve been working with Tony Award-winning lighting designer Kevin Adams for a couple of years now. He’s really pushed us in terms of our color palette and the show simply looks stunning. Kevin urged us to add a laser element to the show, and I’m so glad we did. Musically, we partnered with Brazilian percussionist Marivaldo Dos Santos to help us bring a new vibe to our sound. We have appeared in Brazil during Carnival over the years and felt like the music there fits really well with our sound. It’s great to finally get to hear it in one of our shows.
Q: How long did the whole process of creating and implementing the additions take?
A: It’s been a slow evolution over time, honestly. We’ve been creating things, sharing ideas for many months.
Q: What can audiences expect of the re-vamped show?
A: I think they can expect all of the laughter, the heart pounding music and the sheer visual spectacle they have come to know us for, but more.
Q: What makes the Blue Man Group show so captivating?
A: I really think it’s the Blue Man character himself. In a childlike way, he is curious about the world and he expresses himself honestly and simply, though differently from the rest of us. People really connect with him. I think he reminds us of our more innocent selves… the self we were before we had to start pretending to be cool, or pretending to have our act together… all that pretending takes effort. The Blue Man just is, and that can be such a relief.
Q: How would you explain the experience of a Blue Man Group production to someone who has never seen it?
A: I would just tell them to go see it and then we’ll talk. It’s something you have to see and feel to really get it. If I had to, I’d say it’s a joyful, thought-provoking celebration of life.
Q: How long have you been working with the Blue Man Group production?
A: I’ve been working on this project for most of my career. It’s been a non-stop adventure, literally. We are creating new and different things every day, either for our existing shows or for future shows.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
A: We feel really fortunate that the people of Las Vegas and the visitors to Las Vegas have embraced us and supported us for so long. We’re really proud of the work we’ve done this time around and hope we can make Las Vegas proud too.
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