I Met the Blue Men

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The Blue Man Group is in Nashville at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center this week, and I should have seen them last night, but thanks to a sick cranky baby (who is currently fighting sleep with every little bit of will power she has), I stayed home and Husband went to the show. Lucky for you, he’ll be sharing his very own review very soon. I have seen the Blue Men before, once in Orlando and once in New York, but I was still very excited to see them again. Not all was lost though…this morning I had the pleasure of meeting a couple of the guys (sans blue), learning about their instruments and even snagging an interview. Lucky me.

First of all, if you haven’t seen them perform yet, you are missing an incredibly entertaining and wildly creative show. Second of all, if you have seen them, you should know it is REALLY weird to see them in real life without all of that blue paint. I know this should be obvious, but they look like real people. Real people, with hair, regular eyes and the ability to talk and smile. It’s hard to imagine them as the performers when you are talking to one out of character. It’s a lot like talking to a 70 year old Asian woman who tells you she is Mickey Mouse from 9 to 5 at Magic Kingdom. (True story.)

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It was cool to watch them play a few instruments, goof around and talk to us about how all the pipes and whatnot in the show work, but the real excitement was when I got to talk one-on-one with one of the talented performers. His name is Adam. He’s young, very tall, funny, a former musical theater performer and has been a Blue Man for the last year and a half.  Here’s what he had to say about being on tour, auditioning for a Blue Man and more…

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Me- What’s the different between the tour and the permanent shows, like Orlando and New York?

Adam- There are a decent amount of difference between the shows. New York is our smallest show and it’s very intimate. They aren’t able to do the bigger aspect of the shows that we do on tour in these big venues. New York is a great show though, and you can really see and connect with every single person in the audience, which you sometimes lose in these bigger shows. We try to accomplish the same goal in each show though, which is to communicate with the audience on a different level, without talking.

Me- What’s your trick to keep from smiling? You guys are so funny, yet you never crack a smile! How do you look at each other and never laugh?

Adam- Well, we do, in our heads. When we are in character we try to stay solid. Instead of thinking of things as funny, we try and discover why the audience is reacting to certain things.

Me- Have you ever accidentally broke character?

Adam- Well, I mean, we try not to, but it’s tough. Sometimes, random things happen and we are just like “that was crazy!”.

Me- Once you become a blue man, how long can your career last?

Adam- Potentially…it’s kind of open ended. As long as you keep evolving as a Blue Man and keep exploring your character and coming up with new things, keep it fresh, it can be open ended. It’s awesome, it’s a great job. A dream job.

Me- When auditioning to become a Blue Man, what are some of the things you have to do?

Adam- We do a little drum interview, but it’s not very long because most of the audition is about acting. They do a lot of silent improv kind of games. They might set up a situation that you have to solve with other guys without talking. You may be up there with three guys you’ve never met before, put in a really strange situation and you can only communicate with your eyes and non-verbally. After a few days, you end up learning a number from the show and implement that into the audition as well.

Me- That sounds hilarious. We should be able to watch auditions.

Adam- It’s a kind of a secret process. They have their ways of trying to see the Blue Men in people.

Me- Do you have a background in acting?

Adam- I do. I was in musical theater before this. I did a lot of singing, dancing acting and I also played piano, which helps a lot in the musical aspects of the show. So, I went from that to not talking at all! I love it though, it’s really the best job in the world. I get to do it every night and we get to experience different cities. It’s a blast.

Me- Okay, one more…are the ever any inquiries about “Blue Women”?

Adam- It is possible, yeah. As long as you meet the requirements. You have to be musical, able to carry a beat, 5’10 to 6’2… so a pretty tall woman, but if you meet the requirements and have what they want than yeah, it’s possible. They hired a woman who was a Blue Man before, who performed in Boston.

Very cool.

Thanks Adam!

Stay posted for Husband’s review of the Blue Man Group and remember they are in Nashville until January 11th. Get your tickets here!

Cheers!

My Surprisingly Good Review of War Horse

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As I said last night, I was not enthused about watching and reviewing War Horse, but I’m willing to give just about any Broadway show a try. Then, I had my Joey interview and I actually started looking forward to the show. Husband thought I was faking my excitement on the way to the theatre last night. Neither of us are fans of the serious shows, we both tend to love musicals most. Remember, we are the people who got married at Disney World, we aren’t exactly the paragon of profound couples. Also, we both know that War Horse is sad, and we don’t like seeing sad animals stories either. (YouTube videos of puppies make us cry.) However, I assured him that the sheer talent on stage would be worth the dramatic storyline.

And, like always, as I was right.

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I talked a lot about Joey, the horse puppet, in the last post so all I’ll say now is he did not disappoint. All of the puppets were so impressive. The way they trot, gallop, nay, leap, everything is so realistic. I think I can speak for the entire audience, when I say you see them as actual horses on stage and you just want to love on them. Then again, I want to love on most animals.

I LOVED the set. It was so simple, but so perfect. They had what looked like an enormous torn piece of old paper hung over the stage that had images, dates and sometimes video projected onto it throughout the show. It seems odd to have just one pieced used as the backdrop throughout an entire Broadway show, but it worked beautifully. There were a few other pieces that would move on and off stage for different scenes: a door, a window, a wooden fence, but all was kept very minimal. The story was so intense and the characters were so compelling that we didn’t need much else.

Then there were the effects. Again, so simple, yet magical. There was one scene in particular where Joey and Topthorn are running through a battlefield in WWII; they are facing the audience and running in place. The lights are moving up and down with their motions. The long torn paper hanging overhead depicts battlefields rolling by and shots and explosions are heard going off everywhere. The fallen soldiers on stage begin to roll backwards to give the illusion that the horses are moving forwards, and it all looks fantastic. The entire show is done like this.

Together, the lights, the props and the people create this realistic war zone and it’s almost breathtaking. I literally jumped several times from the shock of an explosion, a gunfire or a defeated character. I had tears in my eyes, and even laughed a few times. It’s nothing like Wicked or Book of Mormon, two of my favs, but it’s a must-see nonetheless.  It’s a show that has stuck with me and certain scenes have run through my mind all day today. I love to see a show that keeps me thinking once it’s over. I’m so glad I gave War Horse a chance.

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If you get a chance, take a night off from whatever it is you do, and go see War Horse at TPAC by June 8th. Then, please let me know what you think of the show. I’d love to hear your opinions!

Cheers!

Hands on a Hardbody

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Last Friday, Husband and I had the pleasure of seeing and reviewing a new original broadway show, Hands on a Hard BodyI was especially curious about this new musical because it is not only set in Texas (Longview to be exact), but is also based on true events. It is based on a 1997 documentary of the same title. Here’s the lowdown…. a car dealership in Longview, TX used to host an annual competition for people to win a new truck, aka hardbody. Each contestant had to keep at least one hand on the truck, and whoever lasted the longest without leaning on the truck or squatting, won the brand new truck!

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What a unique idea for a Broadway musical, right?! Going in I was a little nervous that the characters would be gross exaggerations of people from Texas. The characters turned out to be right on the money. I felt like I was sitting in 110 degree Texas sun on the black asphalt watching a group of hearty dream chasers do their best to win their new ride. The only thing I needed was a foldable lawn chair and a cooler full of beverages. I was right at home.

The characters/contestants were full of southern charm, but were each on a very different journey. There was one character who was a grumpy old sourpuss and put every single person down every chance he got. There was an older man trying to prove he was still capable of great feats. A young Hispanic boy who needed to sell the truck to help pay for his tuition at Texas A&M. A girl who needed the truck to become independent from her parents and make something of herself. A mother who needed to take her kids to school and her Husband to work. One very religious woman who believed this was God’s answer to her prayers, and a few more lovable, and just as worthy, characters.

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The character I related to most was a young girl who sang about leaving her small town life and seeing the world. Even though she loves Texas, she dreams about what life is like beyond its borders. Winning this truck will give her the transportation she needs to hit the road and begin her adventures. I had this same yearning my whole childhood. I love where I grew up, but God, all I ever wanted was to travel and see all the mysterious places I read about constantly.

Husband and I had mixed feelings about the music. It was good, but some were a little too hokey. One song, “Joy of the Lord”, was PHENOMENAL. One of the best songs I have seen on Broadway. I have looked all over the Internet to find a video for you with no luck. So, take my word for it, this number was amazing.It was like being in a gospel choir, STOMP and a Broadway show all mixed together.  Another song, “If I had this truck” explained just how necessary it is for a Texan to own a truck…which is true, very very true. I’ve never seen as many trucks on the road than when I’m in Texas.

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This best part of the show was the story. I loved seeing ten people from all different walks of life being forced together for days and days. These people were forced to get to know one another, share and hear each other’s stories. Getting to know people different from yourself is a powerful learning experience. It teaches compassion and gives us a chance to walk in another human’s shoes for a bit. I left the show with a reminder to stop judging other’s too quickly. Sure, that guy next to me on the Subway was a complete jerk, but it’s possible he just had the worst day of his life, and maybe what he really needs is some compassion. I should remember to show more love to the grumps of the world.

I also left the show without my favorite black lace scarf. I realized about 45 minutes later, and luckily we were still in Time Square. We ran back to the theater to find the doors locked and lights off. We tried the stage door too. As we were pulling on the locked door it flew open. A tall man who obviously worked there and was on his way out looked at us like we were crazy, so we quickly explained why were tugging on the stage door. The worker told us he was the last person in the building and we were lucky we caught him. He allowed us to walk backstage, and out into the audience where I found my scarf lying across my seat.

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I enjoyed our date night with a taste of my old southern life. The vivid and realistic characters made the show for me. It was a version of the American Dream that we all relate to and a reminder that this dream is still alive and valid even today.

*If you want to purchase tickets to Hands on a Hardbody just click here.

**Sadly it was just announced that Hands on a Hardbody is closing THIS SATURDAY, April 13th. I’m shocked! So, if you want to see it, you better hurry!

Cheers!

P.S. During the show, one of the girls talks about how Matthew McConaughey is from Longview, and how he was voted “Sexiest Man Alive” by People Magazine in 2005. She then mentions that the car dealership keeps a framed copy of this magazine in the lady’s room. Look what I found in the lady’s room at the theatre during intermission….

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Can Never Get Enough Cirque

Since we began dating in 2005, Husband and I have been to nine Cirque Du Soleil shows. We are BIG fans. The last Cirque show I went to was the traveling Michael Jackson show, phenomenal BTW, but almost a year ago! I was beyond thrilled when I got the opportunity last week to review the latest traveling Cirque show to land in NYC…Totem!

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In the midst of my flu, Husband and I trudged to the outskirts of Queens to the parking lot of the Mets stadium. I was a little surprised to see actual circus tents set up in the parking lot… Every single Cirque show I have been to has been inside it’s own building or a very large convention center. I was a little concerned that the quality would be less than par, but also felt a little like I was walking onto the set of Worlds Away.

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Inside the tents was like…well, it was like a circus. There were hundreds of people buying snacks and sodas, bars, souvenirs, photographers and big screen TV’s.

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Most everything was great, everything but the bathrooms. The bathrooms were completely outside, teeny tiny and boys and girls had to share them. These itsy bitsy freezing stalls were obviously created by a man who has never had to sit or handle a tampon.

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We had the best seats, but honestly most seats looked like great seats. When the show began we were overwhelmed with the set and the stage. The stage transforms to oceans, the sky, swamps, outer space and a volcanic island. It was phenomenal and the most realistic Cirque setting I have ever seen. The water was projected onto the stage, but rippled and waved when the characters stepped. It was all so magical.

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The theme of Totem is “The evolution of man” and begins with amphibians and ends with people in flight. With acrobats, dancers, singers and clowns we got to follow a story that seemed to connect mankind with nature, dreams and wild and crazy talents. The entire show was astonishing and kept us thinking “Holy Crap! That is NOT possible! No way Jose!”

My favorite performers
My favorite performers
These women were phenomenal
These women were phenomenal

There were a couple of skaters (who I’m convinced are in love) that did such insane tricks everyone around us couldn’t hold back their “ooh’s”, “aww’s” and “OMG’s”. The girl in front of me was covering her eyes and holding her breath. She was convinced the girl skater was not going to come out of her stunt in one piece.

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Like every Cirque show I’ve seen I got the overwhelming feeling to workout and start honing my talents. If these people can juggle upside with one foot while  carrying their friend on the other foot I can at least start jogging in the morning!

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The most impressive part of the show is the musicians. The entire show is done with live musicians who play and sing as the performers perform. If the acrobats are early or late or right on time the musicians have to keep their tempo exactly in time with them. I don’t know how they do it, but it all seemed flawless.

Totem is in NYC until May 12th and I promise you it’s a show you do NOT want to miss! Get your tickets here (and go to the bathroom beforehand!)If you live too far to see the show in the city then check the schedule here to see when it will be near you.

Cheers!

A Funny Night

Zoey’s Birthday was this weekend and she chose to celebrate her special day at a free comedy show downtown. A friend of ours told her about the show in the lower east side (AKA Chinatown) and gave us an exact address, which is a rare thing to have in this city.

We made it downtown through the pouring rain and found ourselves standing in front of a tiny apartment building…no line…no bar…no people laughing…no sign of a comedy show. After doing some research via google, we discovered another address 2 blocks away.

We walked through more rain and found ourselves yet again, in front of another apartment building. This time though, we found a few strangers also in search of the free comedy show. Eventually, we traveled back through the rain to the first address and discovered the show was indeed in the building on the third floor.

We walked upstairs still searching for any sign of a comedy club, but only found a regular apartment door. We entered the large-open studio apartment and three guys drinking Budlight around a table looked up and said, “Here for the hostel?”

“Ummm…no?”

“Oh, the comedy show?”

“Yes!” we exclaimed, relieved to finally be in the right place. The middle of the studio was lined with fold out chairs so we found our seats and began eyeing the many beers lining the table. I asked if we go buy a drink and was told that ALL beers are free!

We left the house with beautifully curled hair....
We left the house with beautifully curled hair….
the audience
the audience
The stage area
The stage area

Woo! We got a drink and were just starting to get settled when the pizza arrived. Tons of cheese pizzas from Lombardi’s ALL FREE.

My most favorite pizza!
My most favorite pizza!

Where are we!?!?! Free show, free beer, free pizza??? Where’s the catch?

The show began and we were a little disappointed with the first act. The poor guy was shaking all over, and his jokes garnered only few laughs. We thought drinking more beer might be necessary to enjoy the next 9 acts. Luckily, that wasn’t necessary.

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The various comedians that followed were hilarious. We laughed the next two hours away, and even got to hear some new material from one of SNL and Jimmy Fallon’s writer. We also learned that this hostel(?) hosts open mic nights all month, charging a few bucks to each comedian, then host a free show once a month for everyone to enjoy. Awesome.

After all the laughs I went home to laugh at this little cutie.

She held this in her mouth in this exact position for half an hour.
She held this in her mouth in this exact position for half an hour.

Happy Birthday Zoey! Thanks for taking us out with you!

Cheers!