(*Disclosure I was given free tickets to attend the event, however all opinions expressed were from our contributor Angie Rumpf herself*)
I’m sure that you’ve seen the ads for the show with the odd colored blue men before. Because we live in Orlando I have seen my share of commercials and billboards through the years. My kids have begged me to go see them on stage. The sheer thought of taking my kids to an unknown show terrifies me. The loud noises, unexpected bursts of light, but more importantly it being theater performance and my kids being expected to sit while being overloaded with sights and sounds.
This performance was different, special. Blue Man Group at Universal CityWalk™ has partnered with the world’s largest autism science and advocacy organization, Autism Speaks, for their third annual collaborative performance. Slight modifications are made to the show including reducing sound and light levels at various moments during the performance and making earplugs available upon request. The Blue Men limit the amount of direct audience interaction and keep their approach to the audience more subdued. Blue Man Group will also create calming environments in the theater’s lobby for families seeking a break from the excitement.
For many years my children have been asking to go see Blue Man Group. Because we live in Florida we see the commercials and billboards more than most, they get reminders of the show often. They have watched many videos of them and find them hilarious. I have always known that this could be a tricky outing. I watched nervous parents prepared their children all around me for what would surely be sensory overload followed by a substantial meltdown. There was so much tension and worry on everyone’s faces.
I myself was terribly nervous because while none of my children are diagnosed on the spectrum they each have particular sensitivities that I knew may not mesh well with a performance like this. My oldest is easily startled by loud noises and my five year old gets extremely hyper and excited when that many senses are stimulated at once. It was a recipe for disaster. Thankfully, organizations like autism speaks are leading the way in providing sensory sensitive performances.
Sensory issues and being on the spectrum can affect every aspect of your life. Finding ways to comfortably navigate situations can be a challenge. Often, things that stimulate your senses can be extremely enjoyable but if you have sensitivities it can become overwhelming quickly. As adults most of us have figured out ways to navigate the choppy waters that are uncomfortable situations. Children are still learning the social skills and if you are a child with autism or other challenges may not be as easy to navigate as another child.
Watching these families slowly relax and accept that this was not going to be a difficult experience was breathtaking. They were able to accept that the audience was not upset their child was rocking or humming. They were able to experience every moment with their child without constantly preparing for a distraction or quick exit. It was magical. The Blue Men even seemed to be okay with relaxing a bit and I even saw one of the performers shake a child’s hand who repeatedly said “hi” to him until he acknowledged the greeting. By the end of the night it was a dance party in every sense of the word.
The Universal Orlando Resort™ Autism Speaks performance is part of a national partnership between Blue Man Group and Autism Speaks. As part of the partnership, Blue Man Group has pledged to host autism-friendly shows suitable for families in Boston, Chicago, Las Vegas, New York City and Orlando. For more information and tickets, visit blueman.com/autismspeaks
International entertainment phenomenon Blue Man Group has been performing in the custom-built Blue Man Group Theatre at Universal CityWalk™ since 2007. With 1,000 seats, a 30-foot Blue Man façade and plenty of paint, Blue Man Group at Universal Orlando Resort™ offers audiences a fun-filled experience like no other.
Blue Man Productions is a global entertainment company best known for the award-winning Blue Man Group show, performed in over 20 countries and seen by more than 35 million people worldwide since 1991. A dynamic combination of art, music, comedy and technology, the show’s euphoric celebration of human connection has universal appeal for a broad range of age groups and cultural backgrounds. The show is continually refreshed with new music, fresh stories, custom instruments and state-of-the-art technology. Blue Man Group has permanent theatrical productions in New York, Las Vegas, Boston, Chicago, Orlando, Berlin and a World Tour.
This creative collective has become part of the pop culture zeitgeist. Blue Man Group has served as the face of branding campaigns for Intel and TIM/Brasil and appeared countless times on hit shows like “The Tonight Show,” “Arrested Development,” “Ellen,” “Schlag den Raab” (Germany), “WOWOW” (Japan), and “CaldeiraŢo do Huck” (Brasil).
Beyond the stage show, they are Grammy-nominated recording artists, known for their contributions to various film and TV scores and multiple Blue Man Group albums, including their most recent, THREE. Their “Megastar World Tour” rock concert parody played arenas across the globe. The group’s recently published first-ever book, Blue Man World, is a visually stunning anthropological exploration of the curious bald and blue character.
About Autism Speaks
Autism Speaks is dedicated to promoting solutions, across the spectrum and throughout the life span, for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. We do this through advocacy and support; increasing understanding and acceptance of people with autism spectrum disorder; and advancing research into causes and better interventions for autism spectrum disorder and related conditions. We empower people with autism and their families with resources, online tools and information covering the life span. To find resources, join a fundraising walk or make a donation, go to www.AutismSpeaks.org