What To Do: Blue Man Group says a lot without speaking

Also: ‘Beautiful’ comes to Philly; International Happiness Day

By Denny Dyroff, Staff Writer, The Times

blue man groupThe list of “What to Do” events increases dramatically during the summer with the majority of the activities held in outdoor settings. Not surprisingly, the frequency of stage and theater productions significantly decreases.

In the other three seasons, the majority of activities are indoor events and the events calendar features a large number of stage and theater productions.

The upcoming week is a prime example with Blue Man Group performing its outrageous show in Wilmington, “Beautiful” taking up residence in Philadelphia next week, “The Sound of Music” wrapping up its week-long run in Philly and “The Secret Garden” offering an attractive dinner theater option in Arden, Delaware.

Blue Man Group returns to the area for a five-show run at the Playhouse on Rodney Square (10th and Market streets, Wilmington, Delaware, 302-888-0200, www.duponttheatre.com) from March 18-20.

In the late 1960s, a British music group called the Bonzo Dog Band wrote and recorded a song called “Can blue men sing the whites?” which was a play on words referring the oft-asked question “Can white men sing the blues?”

In the early 1990s, there came the possibility of an answer to the Bonzos’ question when Blue Man Group came onto the music scene.

But, the question remains unanswered because the Blue Man Group has made music but never sung. Actually, the Blue Man Group’s silence goes even deeper. You’re more likely to hear Teller, the silent half of Penn and Teller, get chatty than to ever hear a word from a Blue Man.

“Blue Man never speaks,” said Blue Man Steven Wendt, during a phone interview Wednesday from a tour stop in Hershey. “We communicate with each other and with the audience — but never verbally.”

All of the various Blue Man Group performances feature trio of humanoid characters called Blue Men. The music is played by actor-musicians who all wear bald caps and uniform blue makeup and, as a trio, become Blue Man.

The Blue Man character has certain characteristics. There is a script to the show but no dialogue. It’s written in a very different way.

With the format of the current tour, fans are able to enjoy an up-close and personal look at the guys who are painted from head to toe in cobalt blue and the musicians behind them. The theatrical tour features classic Blue Man moments as well as brand new content – with a lot of audience interaction.

“This is a really great version of the show because the through line is fun to perform,” said Wendt, who has his own hand shadow stage show when he’s not working as a Blue Man. “There is a thread and people can get a good idea of who Blue Man is.”

In this always over-the-top production, the audience has the opportunity to become engaged with the spirit of the show — and the spirit of the Blue Man himself.  Blue Man Group’s current tour also features a physical design centered on a proscenium-sized LED curtain and high-resolution screen that creates an entirely new visual experience.

“We have a ton of new stuff in this show,” said Wendt, a native of Kansas City, Missouri. “Cell phones are taking over everybody’s lives. Blue Men relate to that technology. We have pretty cool optical illusions and a 2.5-Dimensional space. It appears that there are characters — LED images — walking out of the screen and onto the stage.

In addition to the national tour, Blue Man Group has theater shows on a permanent basis in a number of cities around the world, including Berlin, New York, Boston, Chicago, Las Vegas and Orlando. BMG also has a world tour which is currently in Asia.

“The show continues to evolve but there are certain numbers that people always want to see — Blue Man’s greatest hits,” said Wendt. “The throwing-and-catching with the mouth scene, the PVC instruments and the paint on the drums are standards. And, there is ‘Drumbone’ – people always want to see ‘Drumbone.’

“This production has a brand new finale. It’s awesome. Everyone is totally euphoric at the end of the show. We encourage people to go out after the show and be creative — to ignite that child-like wonder that exists in all of us.”

Video link for Blue Man Group — https://youtu.be/_MKG9iPpIlg.

Show times at the Playhouse are 8 p.m. on March 18, 2 and 8 p.m. on March 19 and 2 and 7 p.m. on March 20. Ticket prices range from $45-$120.


The music of Carole King and Gerry Goffin is featured in Beautiful.

Do you know what bond links these familiar songs — “Some Kind of Wonderful,” “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?” “It’s Too Late,” “You’ve Got a Friend,” and “I Feel the Earth Move.”

All these classic hits were written by Carole King and Gerry Goffin.

Do you know what bond links these familiar songs — “On Broadway,” “Make Your Own Kind of Music,” “Walking in the Rain,” “We Gotta Get Out of This Place” and “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling.”

All these classic hits were written by Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann.

These 10 songs and a whole lot of other all-time great pop songs are featured in the new show “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” — the award-winning show that opens on March 22 and runs through April 3 at the Academy of Music (Broad and Locust streets, Philadelphia, 215-731-3333, www.kimmelcenter.org).

“Beautiful: The Carole King Musical,” which is part of the Kimmel Center’s “Broadway Philadelphia” series, tells the inspiring true story of King’s remarkable rise to stardom — from being part of a hit songwriting team with her husband Gerry Goffin, to her relationship with fellow writers and best friends Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann, to becoming one of the most successful solo acts in popular music history.

The hit show is a jukebox musical with a book by Douglas McGrath that looks at the early life and career of King using songs that she wrote with Goffin along with other contemporary songs by Mann, Weil, Phil Spector and others.

The original production of “Beautiful” had its world premiere at the Curran Theatre, San Francisco in October 2013. It made its Broadway debut at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre in January 2014.

In the national tour, Abby Mueller plays King, Liam Tobin plays Goffin, Becky Gulsvig plays Weil and Ben Fankhauser plays Mann.

“I saw the show when it opened on Broadway,” said Gulsvig, during a phone interview Tuesday afternoon from a tour stop in Buffalo, New York. “I had auditioned for a workshop but then was unavailable to take part because of another show I was in. So, I was happy when the opportunity came around again.

“I loved the show. It’s so much fun. It’s fun to watch the audiences because they have such a good time. They love Carole King’s music and love to hear it played live. On top of that, we tell the story of the pre-‘Tapestry’ Carole King so they learn the story.

“Prior to doing this show, I did know a lot of her music but I didn’t know much about her. I learned a lot about a songwriter’s life in that era — going to an office building like the Brill Building every day to write songs. This show is based at 1650 Broadway.”

On his website, rock music legend Al Kooper wrote, “The greatest writers of the early-’60s — Carole King and Gerry Goffin, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, Howie Greenfield and Neil Sedaka, Jack Keller and Helen Miller — were all signed to the same publishing company. It was called Aldon Music and it was named after its two partners Al Nevins and Don Kirshner.

“Songs like “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin,” and “Up On The Roof” poured out of this genius monopoly like water from the tap. The Brill Building’s finest moments were in the ’40s and late ’50s at best. The Brill Building was a throwback to the past and the original Tin Pan Alley.

“The rents were high, and so the embryonic music business minions of the early ’60s flocked to 51st and Broadway to the renovated building with the reasonable, competitive rents known as 1650 Broadway. That’s all it was called. It wasn’t “The ______ Building.” And while it was only 1650 Broadway, the brilliance of pop and soul music birthed there hides in revisionist anonymity.”

“I listened to Carole King’s music a lot when I was young,” said Gulsvig, who played Philly a few years ago as Elle in the national tour of “Legally Blonde.”  “I was not aware of Cynthia Weil the person but I was familiar with one of her songs — ‘Somewhere Out There.’ I’ve since learned a lot about Cynthia.

“I like that Cynthia is smart and that she is driven — and that she is one of the few women who have succeeded in a man’s world. She is still good friends with Carole — and she is still together with Barry Mann. There are six Cynthia and Barry songs in this show.”

It’s no surprise to Gulsvig that audiences have been bowled over by this show.

“It’s fun to hear the audience recognize the music,” said Gulsvig. “They love Cariole and they love her songs. They go down a nostalgic walk. And, they appreciate learning the story of Carole’s heartbreak and triumph.”

Video link for “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” — https://youtu.be/Aj_hjB3gm6c.

Ticket prices for “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” range from $25-$130.

“The Sound of Music,” one of Broadway’s all-time classic musicals, will wrap up its six-day run at the Academy of Music with performances tonight through Sunday. The new touring production tells the spirited, romantic and beloved musical story of Maria and the Von Trapp Family, celebrates the 50th anniversary of the acclaimed film.

The production features music by Richard Rogers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, and a book by Howard Linsay and Russel Crouse. The national tour stars Ben Davis as Captain Georg von Trapp, Ashley Brown as The Mother Abbess, Kerstin Anderson as Maria Rainer and Teri Hansen as Baroness, Elsa von Schraeder.

Set in 1938 in Austria on the eve of the Anschluss, “The Sound of Music” tells the story of Maria, who takes a job as governess to a large family while she decides whether to become a nun. She falls in love with the children, and eventually their widowed father, Captain von Trapp. He is ordered to accept a commission in the German Navy, but he opposes the Nazis. He and Maria decide on a plan to flee Austria with the children.

Video link for “The Sound of Music”: — https://youtu.be/m0BzBdH6rqU.

Performances are scheduled for March 18 at 8 p.m.; March 19 at 2 and 8 p.m.; and March 20 at 1 and 6:30 p.m. Tickets range from $20 to $130.

The Candlelight Theater (2208 Millers Road, Arden, Delaware, 302- 475-2313, www.candlelighttheatredelaware.org) is presenting “The Secret Garden” now through April 24. The show, which retells Frances Hodgson Burnett’s beloved Victorian classic, won three Tony Awards in 1991 — including “Best Musical.”

Orphaned in India, 11-year-old Mary Lennox is sent to Yorkshire to live with her embittered, reclusive uncle and his invalid son. She discovers renewed purposes for herself, bringing her sickly cousin, her uncle, and a long-forgotten secret garden back to life.

Performances are Friday and Saturday evenings (doors 6 p.m./show, 8 p.m.) and Sunday afternoons (doors, 1 p.m./show, 3 p.m.). Tickets, which include dinner and show, are $59 for adults and $33 for children (ages 4-12).

If you’re looking for something fun to do on Sunday, you have several good options — “Be Happy,” celebrate the first day of Spring or get a free water ice at any of Rita’s Water Ice locations around the area. Hey, you can probably accomplish all three at the same time.

int. day of happinessThe International Day of Happiness is March 20 — every year — forever.

March 20 has been established as the annual International Day of Happiness and all 193 United Nations member states have adopted a resolution calling for happiness to be given greater priority.

This campaign is a global celebration to mark the United Nations International Day of Happiness. It is coordinated by Action for Happiness, a non-profit movement of people from 160 countries, supported by a partnership of like-minded organizations.

So, when March 20 arrives, smile, share, eat healthily, exercise, be grateful, give back, think positively, spend some time with friends and family, spend some time alone, be mindful, dream, listen to music, say “thank you” and mean it, compete, be charitable. Do what makes you happy.

You can download your free “Happiness Guidebook” packed full of ideas and actions to create a happier life for you and those around you at http://www.dayofhappiness.net/#join.

March 20 is the first day of spring and the day of one of the area’s annual traditions — free water ice at Rita’s. On this special day each year, Rita’s is offering every guest a free Italian ice to celebrate spring’s arrival.

When winter finally makes its exit, the area’s event calendar begins come alive with a variety of antiques shows, craft shows and home shows. This weekend, one of the first antiques shows of the season will take place in Chester County.

antiques at kimberton

The Antiques at Kimberton Show will be held on March 19 and 20.

The Antiques at Kimberton Show will be held on March 19 and 20 at the Kimberton Fire Company Hall (2276 Kimberton Road, Kimberton, 717-431-7322, http://antiquesatkimberton.vpweb.com) from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. on Sunday.

The show will feature more than 70 vetted dealers from all over the Mid-Atlantic region with exhibit booths filling over 10,000 sq. ft. of space. Every dealer is hand-selected to ensure authentic, quality antiques are always showcased. Visitors will be able to browse and make selections from a wide array of top-quality antiques and collectibles.

Some of this year’s featured dealers are Cottage Antiques, Lem’s Larks, The Saturday Evening Experience, Ayscough Antiques, Abbey Brooks Antiques, Primitive Peddler, Serendipity Antiques, Hex Highway Antiques, Cedarville Antiques, Distant Past Antiques, Elaine Chalfant Antiques, Stone Gate, and Marnie de Carville Antiques.

The roster also includes The Gatchellville Store,Winding Creek Farm Antiques, Could Be Kindling, Chesapeake Country Antiques, The Better Treasure, Wishes Antiques, American Vernacular, Harmonyville Antiques, Ivy Hill Primitives, Morales American Indian Collectibles, Old Wood Shed, and Grings Antiques.

The expansive list of featured categories includes furniture, primitives, art, collectibles, textiles, pottery, glassware and a variety of other items from the past. The show, which has been in existence since the 1960s, is known for its diversity and the willingness of the dealers to discuss the items they are selling.

Tickets are $7 and there is free parking. Additionally, there will be a variety of food available for purchase during show hours.


The Sugarloaf Crafts Festival will visit the area this weekend for a three-day run at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center.

For more than 30 years, the nation’s most talented artisans have personally sold their contemporary crafts and fine art at Sugarloaf Craft Festivals. Rated as one of the top craft experiences in the country, close to a quarter-million visitors attended Sugarloaf Craft Festivals around the stares and enjoyed the work of thousands of juried artisans.

The Sugarloaf Crafts Festival will visit the area this weekend for a three-day run at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center (100 Station Avenue, Oaks, 800- 210-9900, www.sugarloafcrafts.com) from March18-20.

The well-attended annual event features an amazing array of top-caliber works in a wide variety of categories such as tapestry, musical instruments, jewelry, accessories, bells, quilts, glass, copperware, chair caning, enamels, furniture, sculpture, photography, boxes, pillows and clothing.

The list of craft genres also includes painted silk, fine arts, weaving, pottery, mixed media, brass items, woodwork, fused glass, hats, blown glass, rugs, leather, wind chimes, woodturnings, forged iron, baskets, specialty foods and collectibles.

A full slate of craft demonstrations will be featured at this weekend’s event in categories such as wheel-thrown pottery, paper making, iron forging, broom making, copper spinning, stone sculpting and hand-carved wooden bowls and spoons.

Additionally, the festival offers an ambitious schedule of live entertainment, including performances by Matt Miskie, Jazz Lobsters, and Janet Spahr. Children’s entertainment will featured costumed storytelling by Middle Earth Studio. The Sugarloaf Craft Festival also includes the “Feastival of Foods.”

The Sugarloaf Crafts Festival will be open from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $10 and are good all three days.

In Montgomery County, the Cabin Fever Craft Show is being held at Moland House Historic Park (1641 Old York Road, Warminster, 215-850-1888, http://craftsatmolandhouse.com) now through March 19.

More than 50 talented local crafters will offer pottery, floral arrangements and wreaths, primitive items, garden decorations, wall decor, scarves, fabric bags, jewelry, edible goods and more.

Show hours are 10 a.m.-8 p.m. on March 18 and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on March 19. Tours of the house, which was once the headquarters of General George Washington, will be offered from 1-4 p.m. on March 19.

The $1 admission fee benefits the Moland House Restoration Project.

Bucks & Montgomery County Home Show

The Bucks & Montgomery County Home Show will be held from March 18-20 at the SMG SportsPlex.

The Bucks & Montgomery County Home Show will be held from March 18-20 at the SMG SportsPlex (654 York Road, Warminster, 888-560-3976, www.acshomeshow.com).

The well-received annual springtime event is geared for homeowners who are interested in remodeling, landscaping and decorating their homes. It features hundreds of exhibits with merchandise, product demonstrations and sample interior and exterior vignettes.

Visitors to the show will be able to check out new products and receive expert advice from professionals. The event is a prime source of information to help people enhance the comfort, functionality, aesthetic appeal and overall value of their homes

The list of exhibitors includes contractors, landscapers, architects and interior designers. There will also be manufacturers’ representatives who will be presenting samples of products and offering ideas to spark inspiration.

Exhibitor Categories include kitchens, bathrooms, windows, roofing, siding, general contractors, landscaping, gutters, solar decks, dormers, sunrooms, awnings. basement systems, countertops, doors, flooring, pavers, waterproofing, generators, HVC, outdoor lighting, plumbing, garage doors, painting, tile and marble, security systems, appliances, electrical services, energy conservation, fireplaces, insulation, hot tubs.

The show, which features free admission and free parking, will be open from 11 a.m-9 p.m. on Friday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m.-6 p.m., on Sunday.

The Easter Bunny is known for hopping around but that is not the only way the holiday rabbit moves about. There are times when he rides the rails for special excursions. This weekend, he will begin boarding trains and hanging out with his admirers.

wc rrThe West Chester Railroad (610-430-2233, www.westchesterrr.net) is running its Easter Bunny Express on March 19, 20 and 26 with trains at noon and 2 p.m. each day.

On the 90-minute round trip along the beautiful Chester Creek from West Chester to the historic Glen Mills village, the Easter Bunny will be on board handing out treats to all passengers.

During our 20 minute stop at the historic Glen Mills station there will be plenty of opportunities for riders to take photos with the Easter Bunny. Additionally, Greg Wright and Friends will be playing live music and singing all of your favorite Easter songs.

Tickets are $22 for adults, $17 for children (agwes 2-12) and $7 for toddlers.

The New Hope and Ivyland Railroad (32 West Bridge Street, New Hope, 215-862-2332, www.newhoperailroad.com) is running its annual Easter Bunny Express from March 19-27 with departures at 11 a.m., noon, 1,2,3 and 4 p.m. each day.

The Easter Bunny is going to ride onboard the train where he will visit with each child, hand out special treats and pose for pictures. Coach tickets are $28.95 for adults, $26.95 for children (ages 2-11) and $11.95 for toddlers (under 2).

Special rail excursions with the Easter Bunny will also be running at a number of other regional tourist rail lines including the Wilmington and Western Railroad (302-998-1930, www.wwrr.com), the Strasburg Rail Road (717-687-7522, www.strasburgrailroad.com) and the Middletown & Hummelstown Railroad (717-944-4435, www.mhrailroad.com).

please touch museum

The Please Touch Museum is celebrating the arrival of spring with full days of fun on March 19 and 20.

The Please Touch Museum (Memorial Hall, Fairmount Park, 4231 Avenue of the Republic, Philadelphia, 215-581-3181, www.pleasetouchmuseum.org) is celebrating the arrival of spring with full days of fun on March 19 and 20.

The museum invites kids and their parents in for crafts, games and live music from The Plants, a local band that specializes in music for youngsters. In the theme of spring, children can enjoy a “Frog and Toad Storytime Meet & Greet.”

Spring-themed crafts such as kites, butterfly making and seed balls will be offered throughout the day.  Activities run from 10 a.m. and the event will conclude at 4:30 p.m. with a parade throughout the museum. Access to the spring celebration is included in the price of museum admission which is $17 for children and adults.

The Penn Museum (3260 South Street, Philadelphia, 215-898-4000, www.penn.museum) is presenting a special event on March 19 titled “Egyptomania!” from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. It is part of the museum’s “World Culture Day” series.

The internationally-acclaimed museum features galleries that have 5,000 years of ancient Egyptian culture on permanent display. On Saturday, visitors will be able to view Egypt’s culture in a non-traditional manner.

Visitors can partake in a variety of activities such as a hieroglyphs class, gallery tours, a mummy-making workshop, curator talks, a Middle Eastern drum workshop and playing “What in the World?,” an audience participation game featuring Museum artifacts.

Museum admission is $20 for adults, $18 for seniors and $15 for children (ages 6-17) and full-time students.

Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library (Route 52 just south of the Pennsylvania state line, Wilmington, Delaware, 800-448-3883, http://www.winterthur.org) is presenting a special event called “Brushes with History: March Bank” on March 19 from 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

Visitors are invited to start their spring off right with a morning of mimosas and painting. After a short tour of the garden, an instructor will walk participants step-by-step through creating a painting inspired by the March Bank.

Tickets, which are $45, include two drinks, pastries and all art supplies.

The annual “Orchid Extravaganza” is winding down and will run just two more weeks — now through March 27 at Longwood Gardens (Route 1, Kennett Square, 610-388-1000, www.longwoodgardens.org).

The celebration of the orchid species features approximately 5,000 orchids in bloom along with a variety of displays and special exhibits throughout its four-acre conservatory. There are displays of orchids in planting beds, containers and innovative exhibits.

As one of the first plant collections at Longwood, orchids have held a place of distinction since 1922. Longwood’s talented horticulturists celebrate the beauty and variety of orchids with an artful display that includes a towering 12-foot-tall archway, a spectacular orchid curtain, and hundreds of vibrant Vanda orchids in the Silver Garden.

Admission to Longwood Gardens is $20 for adults, $17 for seniors and $10 for students.

On March 19, the Hay Creek Valley Historical Association is hosting special “Irish Breakfast Buffet” from 7-11 a.m. at Joanna Furnace (1250 Furnace Road, Geigertown, 610-286-0388, www.haycreek.org).

The buffet event will also feature live music performed by Phyllis Hummel. She will be singing Irish and Scottish songs — many of which would have been familiar to the Scotch-Irish workers at Joanna Furnace and their families in the local community. 

The meal will feature a traditional Irish buffet of pancakes, french toast, county sausage, homemade corned beef hash, bacon, scrapple, creamed chipped beef, scrambled eggs, country-style potatoes, baked oatmeal, fruit, coffee and juice. Tickets are $9 for adults and $4.50 for children (ages 5-11).

Another seasonal event will be held in Berks County on March 20 when the Daniel Boone Homestead (400 Daniel Boone Road, Birdsboro, 610-582-4900, www.danielboonehomestead.org) hosts its annual “Pennsylvania German Easter” from noon-4 p.m.

Visitors are invited to join the Friends of the Daniel Boone Homestead for their annual Pennsylvania German Easter celebration. Children — with the help of volunteers — can hunt for eggs filled with candy and treats hidden inside the site’s historic buildings. There will also be ongoing “mini” egg hunts throughout the historic area.

Pin It

Share this post:

Related Posts

Leave a Comment