Blue Man Group : There's Nothing Like It

"Off-Broadway" is such a vague term used to capture all of the alternatives to the main theatrical scene that Manhattan has to offer. I've seen some really memorable and marvelous plays outside of the Broadway strip, a testament to the diversity of the arts that New York regularly boasts. In the case of Blue Man Group, though, this is truly something that you have to leave Broadway to experience. "Off-Broadway" here is more synonymous with "offbeat."

For a show that's been around for two decades now, it is refreshingly current. The production is full of references to the iPhone, Lady Gaga, and other cultural phenomena. At the same time, however, the show maintains the richness and purity of the original show, with props, sets, music, and antics that undoubtedly first appeared with the debut of the show. It's that mix of relevant references and reliable sources of laughter that makes the show come so alive.

The theater itself lends itself to an "Off-Broadway" experience. While some patrons might complain about the shortness of legroom, the tight quarters contribute to the overall feel of the show. Audience members might feel like they're sharing a seat next to a stranger on a roller coaster. When the Blue Men enter the audience -- whether via the aisle or climbing over seats -- you can share the suspense of what might happen next with the person next to you. The interactivity doesn't end with those who are chosen to come up on stage; cameras at times focus in on the audience, as the observers become observed.

Kids are bound to enjoy the impressive assortment of music, sketches, tricks, and performance art that these talented actors pull off so effortlessly. Still, I would like to have seen more jokes tailored toward adults in attendance, in much the same way that animated films nowadays appeal to people of all ages. Blue Man Group thrives on the unpredictable and the inane, traits that are welcomed by children and adults alike. My favorite scene of the show centered around a meal of Twinkies enjoyed by the three performers and a selected guest from the crowd. Without any speaking throughout, the audience (and the guest) had to go on the performers' expressions and reactions. It was like watching a well-crafted silent film.

Maybe there's room for the show to improve on its appeal to adults. Still, the sheer range of innovation featured in this show is enough to bring people to the theater. If your curiosity is piqued, your appetite will be satisfied.