Over the past three decades, Blue Man Group has grown from street theatre to a global entertainment brand. It has a presence at Connect Travel events and at US Travel’s IPW travel trade show—marketing itself to groups of travelers globally. We recently had the opportunity to talk with Blue Man Group’s regional director of sales, Kristen Doss. Based in Chicago, she stays on top of all of the Group’s activities and is continuously looking for new ways to connect Blue Man Group with audiences. We used the occasion to ask Doss about the special appeal of Blue Man Group, how it has changed over the years, and why it is the perfect entertainment option for both domestic and international groups.
INBOUND: First, thanks for taking the time to talk with INBOUND. In the world of entertainment brands, Blue Man Group is singular and unique, and because of its international tours and venue in Berlin, is known world-wide. To start, I wanted to ask you this: Just what do you believe accounts for the appeal of a performing arts production that has no spoken language?
Doss: Blue Man Group is beloved around the globe because of its ability to use music, art and comedy to communicate with audiences. The show, and the unique Blue Man character, uses an array of paints, props and unexpected moments to create an experience unlike no other. Instead of following a narrative or storyline, the audience goes on a journey of discovery with the Blue Men and, because every audience is different, no show is exactly the same.
INBOUND: Are you able to give us a demographic profile of the people or groups who go to a Blue Man Group production?
Doss: The recommended age for a Blue Man Group show is 3 and up and, while I know it sounds a little cliché, it’s absolutely true that there is a little Blue Man for everyone. When we have school groups in the audience, the Blue Men play off of their infectious laughter and wide-eyed wonderment. When we are performing for a group of executives in town for a conference, the Blue Men work to play up their signature brand of irreverent humor to provide a welcome escape from reality.
INBOUND: With Blue Man Group now a staple among group travelers, it’s safe to say that it is popular among tour operators, both domestic and international, who sell it to their clients. Do you know why it is so popular among travel groups and among those who sell group travel?
Doss: With no spoken language, Blue Man Group provides no barrier to anyone to whom English is not their first language. Blue Man Group appeals to people of all ages, cultures and backgrounds which makes it the perfect addition to any tour itinerary for travelers from all around the world.
INBOUND: About two-and-a-half years ago, Blue Man Group was acquired by Cirque du Soleil—another unique performing arts experience. How has it changed what the Group does?
Doss: Since Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group’s involvement with Blue Man Group, additional opportunities for experimentation have presented themselves. The playpen got bigger and Blue Man Group is now able to bring ideas to fruition that weren’t capable of exploration before. However, you won’t see any acrobatics introduced to the show… Blue Man Group has an identify all its own.
INBOUND: Last year, you launched a new North American Tour which prompted the L.A. Times to say in a review: “The show pushes the boundaries in color, bright lights, music, art, a little magic, and exciting human connection without a spoken word.” Anything new planned for this year or the near-term future?
Doss: We are always seeking new opportunities for Blue Man Group, and to introduce the Blue Man character into different spaces. We launched our first ever documentary series last year, ‘Becoming Blue,’ which tells the story of the Blue Man training process. We also debuted our educational offering, Backstage on the Stage, taking school groups even further into the creative development of the show. And, as you mentioned earlier, we will be at IPW this year where we will have a booth and information about contracts for all Blue Man Group resident productions.