Chicago Shimpo
Blue Man Group’s New Show Expands This Spring
Interview: Japanese-speaking Blue Man

• The New Blue Man Group show has been on stage at Chicago’s Briar Street Theatre. The show brings you a thrilling multi-sensory experience with hilarious comedy and invites you to your childhood dream of fantasy.

• Anyone, who wanted to do mischief in your childhood, anyone, who wanted to beat drums with all your strength, and anyone, who still wants to play your childhood games, you will enjoy Blue Man show. You will get relief from stresses.

• Blue Men appear on the stage with energetic taiko drumming and then come together around a candy jar. What will happen next?
• Blue Men don’t speak at all, but one after another they show you what you wanted to do in your childhood. You might find old pipes in your garage and want to beat them as drums, and think of becoming a drummer. Blue Men bring you all those experiences through art, pulsating music, comedy, and technology.

• Award-winning Blue Man Group show has been seen by more than 35 million people worldwide since 1991. The show’s euphoric celebration of human connection has universal appeal for a broad range of audiences. The show has permanent theatrical productions in New York, Las Vegas, Boston, Chicago, Orland, Berlin, and a world tour.

• For information about Blue Man Group Show, visit www.blueman.com.
Place: Briar Street Theatre
3133 N. Halsted, Chicago

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Interview with Callum Grant
Japanese Speaking Blue Man

Q: How did you become a Blue Man?

Callum: I’m from Elgin, Scotland. While I was studying at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, one of my friends recommended me to become a Blue Man. Until then, I’d never seen or heard of Blue Man Group.

Q: You graduated from the school with a 1st class honors degree in Contemporary Theatre Practice!

Callum: Yes. So I graduated on Sunday and I was receiving Blue Man training on Tuesday in New York, in the same week.

Q: Wow! Is the training difficult?

Callum: It’s difficult, that’s why new, qualified Blue Men rarely join us.

Q: Were you in Tokyo Show?

Callum: I’ve performed in New York, London, Berlin, Amsterdam, Sydney, Tokyo, Rio and Boston, and now in Chicago since 2015.

Q: How do you see the audience responses in different countries?

Callum: Americans are crazy. They make fun with cheers. In Germany, they are calm and watching quietly then clap their hands.

In Japan, they are quietly watching every detail and looking around to see if somebody makes a cheering voice. Once a guy does so, everybody follows. There were many fans or maniacs. They came to backdoor after a show and gave me Japanese sake, gohan (meals), and other gifts. Kampeki! (Perfect!)

Q: Did you learn Japanese language in Tokyo?

Callum: I was in Tokyo from 2007 to 2012 for four years. I learned it at an izakaya bar.

Q: How often did you go to the izakaya?

Callum: Mainichi! (Every day!)
My first sake experience was drinking up a cup of sake without breathing. I had a trouble because my nose was in the cup. Later, I was called “Sake Dragon.”

I had to learn Japanese because there was no English menu. Kanji characters were difficult to memorize, but anyway I had to.

I talked a lot in Japanese with people in the izakaya bar and enjoyed it.

Q: Did you travel in Japan other than Tokyo?

Callum: I went to many places. In Hokkaido, I enjoyed snowboarding. I went to Nagano, Nara, Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima, Hakone… Ichiban (number one) was Kamakura. I watched fireworks that were set off from the ocean. It was very impressive.

Q: Did you encounter any problem in Japan?

Callum: I was in Tokyo when 2011 great earthquake and tsunami happened. News was saying, “No problem,” “Don’t worry,” but my mother and relatives in Scotland reached me and said that news in Scotland was broadcasting, “There were problems.” So I stayed in Osaka for several weeks.

After the disaster, taiko drumming group Kodo and I had collaboration and showed up on TV that was a NHK & WOWOW program. I played the drum at that time.

Q: How is your Chicago life?

Callum: I go to a Japanese restaurant at least once a week. My favorite is sushi and yakitori. When my birthday comes, I go to sushi restaurant every year with other Blue Men. I also go to a ramen store near the Briar Street Theatre.

Q: If we are lucky, we can see you someday. Do you appear in the show every time?

Callum: Recently, I’ve worked for other project, not a Blue Man. I play the guitar and sing in a band. We just released a new album “KEY”.

Q: Thank you very much.

Callum Grant has written and performed in his own musical project “Whisky Tales” as well as numerous solo projects including movie scoring and music/comedic work at Second City and IO Improv theaters.


A scene from Blue Man Group Show (Photo Credit: Daniel Boczarski)


A scene from Blue Man Group Show (Photo Credit: Eric Klein)


Callum Grant, Japanese-speaking Blue Man