I was Bald and Blue. And I remained that way for nearly 2 years.
Lesson One: Never, ever cast yourself 'out' of any show. You just never know.
But that's only where this story begins. More lessons await.
Without a doubt, all the shows I've done have left marks on me artistically; some good, some bad. But BMG's effects have been particularly deep.
After several months in the company, I remember running into Chris Wink, one of the 'Original Three' Blue Men - (Chris, Phil Stanton and Matt Goldman started Blue Man as an artistic exploration / salon journey in the late 80's); I turned a corner down in the depths of the Astor Place Theatre and there stood Chris, who looked up at me and said, "Hey, Jimmy, good to see you. How's it going? What are you working on?"
I'd never been asked that question after being in a show for that long before. Momentarily flummoxed, I stammered, "Um, well, I, uh... remember that part of the show when all 3 Blue Men come downstage, then turn as one to the audience and-"
"No, no, that's not what I mean," he said. "What are YOU working on?"
DING! The color of my world changed.
I looked around me. The guy who was filling banana tubes was also a terrific painter. One of the Blue Men who trained me was developing a Performance Art Piece that he was self-producing at a small found space in the East Village. Dumbfounded, I realized that nearly EVERY company member at BMG, whether they were talking into tubes, training to be Blue Men or were selling tee shirts in the lobby - nearly all had some kind of artistic endeavour of their own. Street Dancers, Actors, Filmmakers, Musicians, Found Object Artists... in addition to their 'work life' at BMG, they had one or several side projects that they were constantly evolving. And I realized with a start this was the basic culture of the place: This show, BMG, which was on the way to becoming an artistic behemoth, was started by 3 guys and their friends who were just 'working on their own stuff'. It worked. It works.