Blue Man Group takes talents to Wharton


When Chris Smith of the Blue Man Group was growing up in South Lake Tahoe, Calif., he didn’t have a passion for drumming or blue makeup. What he did have a passion for, however, was juggling.

“I was on a road trip with my family, and my dad’s RV kept breaking down,” Smith said. “We were on our way to Yellowstone National Park. It was ridiculous.”

During a stop in a cafe, a book called “Juggling for the Complete Klutz” caught his eye.

“I begged my dad to buy it,” he said. “My dad didn’t think I would use it. Eventually, me and him would compete. In the end, I beat my dad pretty well.”

Chris Smith eventually became a professional juggler. At UCLA, where he graduated in 2007, Smith would juggle and lead the band into the stadium. The experience got him used to performing in front of people and showcasing a skill.

In addition, Smith performed as a physical actor with Cirque du Soleil. So when the Blue Man Group came to town for auditions, his friend told him to tryout.

“I didn’t think I would get it because I couldn’t drum,” Smith said. “A year and a half later, I’m with the group.”

The Blue Man Group will perform at Wharton Center tomorrow through Sunday in Cobb Great Hall with tickets available for purchase at the Wharton Center box offices.

Smith said one of the coolest parts of the performance is that it’s unlike any other show out there.

“It’s such a phenomenal performance because our show has changes every night,” he said. “We’re very aware of the audience. There’s no fourth wall like in some other shows.”

Wharton Center Public Relations Manager Bob Hoffman said the Blue Man Group is highly interactive with the audience.

“When you’re sitting in the audience, all of your senses are on the stage,” Hoffman said. “They have these stunts that they do using paint, using all these cool shapes and sizes. It’s just amazing.”

Communication freshman Palak Sabbineni said she would be interested in seeing the group live.

“They’re kind of weird, but in an entertaining way,” she said. “I would go see them because I’ve never seen something like
that before.”

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