Take Five with 'Blue Man' Eric Rubb

Amanda Collins Bernier
Baystateparent Magazine
Eric Rubb, center, is a South Shore dad of three.

It's been nearly two years since the theatrical phenomenon Blue Man Group rocked the iconic Charles Playhouse in Boston. During that time, the cast -- many of them dads -- coped with daycare shutdowns, remote learning, and all the uncertainty the rest of us have. We caught up with Blue Man Eric Rubb, a South Shore dad of three, about pandemic parenting and what he's most looking forward to when the group makes its long-awaited return to to the stage this month.

What’s your background and how did it lead you to the Blue Man Group?

I probably grew up like a lot of kids – played sports (soccer for me), loved to act, and when all my friends took up guitar and bass, I thought, “Well, I guess I should play drums if I want to be in the band!”

Flash forward - I went to Boston University for theatre and while studying there, I had the opportunity to take my mother to a show for Mother’s Day. That show: Blue Man Group. The moment I first heard the opening drum calls, I remember thinking to myself, “This is it. This is the show I want to do.” It was the perfect blend of everything I loved about live theatre – playful, dynamic, wild, hilarious, and moving. I felt an instant draw to the emotional life of the character and the show.

And there was great music.

When I heard about open calls my junior year, I went. And the casting director at the time was incredibly generous. He gave me great feedback on my audition and even greater feedback for my career. He said, “Come back and see us when you graduate.”

I did and the rest is history.

You have three kids and have been “blue” for their whole lives. Are they impressed by your job or is it no big deal to them?

They better think it’s a big deal! No, in all seriousness, they all connect to it in very unique ways. My eldest is fascinated by the energy and community of the show and likes to talk about what interesting thing happened on any given night. My middle child is all about the music – in fact, he started taking lessons from one of the Blue Man drummers. My youngest – she likes the performance itself and that it makes for “the best day ever!” (her words).

Blue Man Eric Rubb looks forward to returning to the stage this month after a two year hiatus.

The pandemic has been hard on us all, especially parents. How has your family life changed in the past couple years, and do you hope to carry any of those changes into post-pandemic life?

That’s a tough question. I think first and foremost, was our desire to be closer to and invest more in our immediate family. That includes investing in each other – building individual relationships with the kids, finding what makes each of our interactions different.

For many years, raising three kids all under 10 can quickly become what my wife’s family refers to as, “army maneuvers;” who needs to be where, when, who’s doing the pickups, the drop-offs, who’s making the school lunches – suddenly you find yourself being carried by your day rather than guiding it.

It was hard when the show initially shut down, but it also gave us as family time to connect more. I’m so proud of my kids and the unique humans they are turning out to be and those ways of connecting are ones we’re not likely to give up on anytime soon.

It’s been almost two years since the Blue Man Group has performed in Boston. What are you most excited about returning to the stage?

Can I say everything? I’ve been so fortunate over the years to perform this show in a lot of different places and with so many talented performers. There’s a collective moment in the show – we casually refer to it as “helmets up” – when the Blue Men and the audience see each other for the first time. And in all my years, there is nothing quite like that moment. So much possibility, danger, excitement, nervous anticipation, all bubbling together, and it is in that moment that we all decide together to go on this ride.

That moment. I can’t wait to experience that moment with my fellow performers and audiences again. And again. And again.

What’s unique about the Boston show?

Boston has always felt a bit like an incubator for the world of Blue Man. We have a performance space that is simultaneously rooted in the history of this city but also unlike any other performance venue that Blue Man plays in across the globe. This means we are always testing new approaches, new ways to adapt material that are unique to our audiences and our home.

Blue Man Eric Rubb, his wife Caroline, and their three children, Banjo, age 11, Leo, age 8, and Eloise, 5.

Blue Man Group returns to the Charles Playhouse beginning Feb. 10. During School Vacation week, Feb. 18-27, the group will have an expanded show schedule including added weekday matinees at 1:30 p.m. Children under the age of 5 are not permitted in the theatre. Tickets and more information is at blueman.com.