They're blue, bold and always unpredictable

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One minute, he's Kalen Allmandinger. The next, he's a bald and blue entertainer with childlike wonder and a talent for catching projectiles in his mouth.

Blue Man Group uses a variety of entertainment forms for its unusual shows.   special
special
Blue Man Group uses a variety of entertainment forms for its unusual shows.

It takes less time than you would think to get into costume, said Allmandinger, a veteran of Blue Man Group, which performs two shows in Augusta this weekend.

Allmandinger wears neck-to-toe black clothing, a bald cap and a face full of blue grease paint. It's the signature look for Blue Men, trios of trained actors, musicians and artists who, for two hours, dazzle audiences with drumming, paint, marshmallows, makeshift instruments and whatever else the performers can get their hands on.

Audience members in the front rows are given ponchos in anticipation of the mess to come.

"It's part of the fun, and it's always fun," said Allmandinger.

He first saw a performance of the group, which was founded in the 1990s in New York by a small group of friends, when he was in school.

"When I first saw the show, I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of," he said.

Allmandinger studied acting at Roosevelt University in Chicago . He was already a drummer, and a friend passed along an audition notice, thinking he'd be a perfect fit for the job.

Allmandinger was hired, and he underwent training to sharpen his drumming skills and learn the technical side of Blue Man Group performances.

The current tour took more than a year of preparation, including five weeks in technical and stage rehearsals, he said.

"We needed every second of that time," Allmandinger said. "There's drumming and acting and catching things in our mouths. It's tough to nail that and do that really well."

Which is why, he said, the show is built to take advantage of inevitable mishaps.

"It's less obvious when something goes wrong because we plan for things to go wrong. We write failures into the story," he said. "It makes better comedy."

The tour's comedy is set to a backdrop of a giant LED curtain and high-resolution video screens. The show, Allmandinger said, combines classic Blue Man theater with updated technology, including video and even handheld smart phones.

"It ends up being a commentary on technology," he said. "It united us across the globe in ways that are unprecedented, yet alienates us from the person sitting right next to us."

Currently, Blue Man Group theatrical shows can be seen in New York, Boston, Chicago, Las Vegas, Orlando, Fla., Berlin, Stockholm, Vienna and Tokyo.

"Because so much of what we do is dependant on the audience, every show is different," Allmandinger said. "Even if someone has seen a Blue Man show on a previous tour, there's still a newness to it. There are always surprises."

If you go

WHAT: Blue Man Group

WHEN: 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday

WHERE: Bell Auditorium, 712 Telfair St.

TICKETS: $55-65; (877) 4-AUGTIX, Georgialinatix.com

Comments (1) Add comment
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Jefe
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Jefe 02/21/11 - 08:29 am
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Had a great time at Sunday's

Had a great time at Sunday's performance.
My face ached from smiling so much!
We really enjoyed the show.

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