Blue Man Group will not be returning to the Universal Orlando Resort, the performance art group said today.
Blue Man Group did not reopen when the Universal Orlando theme parks returned last June, leaving it theater on CityWalk between Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure dark for the duration of the pandemic. With so many indoor theater productions remaining closed around the country due to the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, that raised doubts about the show's eventual return. Today, Blue Man Group confirmed that its run in Orlando is done.
While this is the end of our run at Universal Orlando, we hope our fans will visit when we safely reopen in Las Vegas, New York, Chicago and Boston. ?? pic.twitter.com/09Votg0zuu— Blue Man Group (@bluemangroup) February 1, 2021
Blue Man Group opened in 2007 at Universal Orlando, in the space formerly occupied by Nickelodeon Studios. Three years ago, Cirque du Soleil acquired Blue Man Productions, the company behind the Blue Man Group shows. Cirque has been facing financial troubles due to both the pandemic shutting live theater as well as a leveraged buyout loading the company with debt.
As the company's announcement said, Blue Man Group productions will remain in the United States in Las Vegas, Chicago and Boston, as well as at the group's original home in the Astor Place Theatre off Broadway in New York.
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If I were running Disney, I'd certainly be a little more nervous now about what this means for Drawn to Life. Granted, Disney Springs is more of a full-day experience than CityWalk is, but ticket prices have always been high for LaNouba and people are a lot more selective now about what kind of cash they'll drop on vacation. There's a reason that the NBA Experience still hasn't returned: it was never profitable since most people didn't see the value offered. Not to mention that Cirque was facing financial struggles long before the pandemic struck.
Trexen: "Granted, Disney Springs is more of a full-day experience ..."
Me: ... because it's actually a theme park.
Its a shame Universal has kept almost nothing in those buildings from its days as Nickelodeon Studios. I understand its in part because they don’t have a relationship with Nick anymore, but even areas closed off to the public has had almost everything Nick related removed or painted over. Hopefully Universal can find a good new use of the space though, hopefully one that doesn’t involve demolition.
We were lucky enough to win a vacation package to OU a few years ago, which included tickets to Blue Man Group (we would probably never have bought tickets to a show that almost always eats into potential park time). We have seen dozens of Cirque performances and other similar shows before, but had never seen a full BMG show aside from TV specials. The show itself is a mix of everything that is almost guaranteed to entertain every type of person on the planet. Sure, there are probably acts and segments that might not appeal to some, but it's hard to watch a full performance without walking out with a smile and sense of awe.
It's disappointing that they could not find a way to survive in a tourist market like Orlando, and it does make you wonder if other similar hard-ticket shows in Central Florida will make it to the other side of the pandemic. Aside from Vegas and their home theater in Boston, I wonder if their other shows in New York and Chicago also meet their demise, especially with parent Cirque dealing with massive losses right now too.
When it comes to this announcement leading to future USF expansion, I don't think it's that simple. Many of the former Nickelodeon sound stages adjacent to RRR are now used for HHN. In fact, most of these stages have become prop warehouses for HHN sets or are permanent mazes that are redressed over the course of the year for the next year's event. Any effort to convert these current "backstage" areas into full time park space would necessitate a complete reworking of HHN. I think what's more likely is that Universal works to reutilize the BMG stage for another similar hard-ticket show that's internally produced, or as a semi-permanent flex space for touring productions and/or NBC Network programming (Tonight Show, Today Show, Ellen's Game of Games, etc...). Another possibility is that UO utilizes this space to create another CityWalk venue like Toothsome or NBC Sports Grill and Brew. However, given the possibility that Cinemark might abandon the high rent and excessive space for their CityWalk location, UO might not want to expand its footprint when such a large parcel is either abandoned or underutilized.
I've attended BMG shows in both Orlando and Vegas (in the Luxor). Orlando's theatre had the better seating layout, IMHO: rectangular, only as wide as the stage and deep, whereas the Luxor's is wedge-shaped, such that many of the seats view the stage from an awkward angle. The ceiling's also lower, as I recall, which makes the toilet-paper blowers less fun.
BMG-Vegas resided at the Luxor 2000-05, Venetian 2005-12, Monte Carlo 2012-15, then Luxor again. Monte Carlo hosted a pre-show parade of luminescence through the casino to the theatre entrance, but sadly that was dropped for Luxor, reportedly because of the cost, but I figure the floor layout is also less convenient.
THC - you convinced me a long time ago. I concur!
Dear God, ProfPlum! You've gone to the dark side!
Ha! Ha! Ha! Tim, I genuinely enjoy Disney Springs more than the theme parks, except MK. Mrs Plum's eyes light up, too.
One down ... 5 billion to go.
By the way ... Who goes to CityWalk as a destination? ProfPlum raises a SOLID POINT ... Like other consumers he says "Hey, let's go out to Disney Springs tonight."
No one says the same thing about CityWalk ... Not right now.
I would assume that most of the people who go strictly to CityWalk and skip the parks are locals who want to catch a movie at the CineMark and maybe grab a bite to eat before or after. Perhaps hotel guests who just want to relax for a little bit too.
I've been on the BMG hype train ever since I saw the original show in NY back in 1992. It's a loss for Orlando and Universal not to have this show coming back. But I suspect that Universal Orlando will hold on to this theater space for a while, to see how the market for live theater plays out, before spending the money to flip it into any other use.
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Another casualty of the times. I never saw the Blue Man performance in Orlando but I have seen the traveling show and enjoyed it. I will definitely check it out once I make it out to Boston or Chicago.
Nevertheless on the theme park side could this open up the possibility of an expansion of USF? I know Hollywood RRR "cuts off" that soundstage from the rest of the park but still if Epic Universe never makes it to fruition, could a demolition and addition in the soundstages including this now vacant theater be a way of expansion? Who knows but we can speculate right.