Take a close look when you see the Blue Man Group at the AT&T Performing Arts Center's Winspear Opera House, opening Dec. 26. Something's missing.
"You'll notice we don't have ears," Shane Andries says. "When we put on the bald cap and the make-up, they disappear."
This aural absence allows them to smear their entire heads in the iconic blue, which Andries compares to a Vaseline-like paste. The body paint and black shirt and pants allow the appropriate juxtaposition of anonymity and solidarity for the character of the blue man.
"The show's concept is that the blue man is thrown into this varied, beautiful world and the costume allows the innocent, wide-eyed exploration," Andries says. "The more I get to know the character the more I appreciate him."
The visit to Dallas will be Houston native Andries's first performance as a Blue Man in Texas, in spite of his five-year history with the group. He's performed the show in Boston, Florida and in the international tour noting that each production is new and different.
Not surprisingly, Andries didn't plan to spend a career covered in blue paint. He spent a lot of time on the baseball field growing up and playing the drums. When he put down his baseball mitt and began to study theater, his percussive talents and athleticism made him the perfect candidate for the Blue Man Group.
"This whole thing just happened," Andries says. "It's hard to believe I've been painting myself blue for five years."
The performative aspects of the show are based in the tenants of classical drama. Functioning as a mask, the blue paint allows a point of view shift. "It's like the difference between wearing boots versus sneakers," Andries says. "You're just going to walk differently. It's a transformation."
The production crew of Blue Man Group has the paint removal process down to a 30-minute process, with the aid of a few chemicals and a lot of towels. But Andries says that occasionally his wife points out specks of blue he missed, especially on his eyelashes. Andries says many of his Texas friends and family members will be in the audience this week.
"I'm excited for everybody to finally see it," Andries says. "It's the first time most of them will see me covered in blue."