Three Questions with Matt Ramsey of the Blue Man Group

The UMKC Theatre alumnus reflects on his nearly 20 years in blue
Matt Ramsey, pictured center, with the Blue Man Group spraying paint everywhere.

Matt Ramsey (M.F.A. '00) was hired as a Blue Man fresh out of grad school. What he expected to be a year-long stint has become a "bona-fide career."

portrait of Matt Ramsey

The internationally recognized Blue Man Group has entertained more than 35 million people in 25 countries with their unique performances that incorporate drums, paint and marshmallows.

Ramsey recently spoke to us about his time in the group.

What was the training like to become a Blue Man?

It’s generally about a three-month process in which we teach the blocking, the music, and most importantly the acting. The last part is the hardest thing to learn: how the character thinks and behaves. For me, training to be a Blue Man was like an extension of graduate school. It’s a performance style that requires a mental and physical discipline that I was well prepared for after UMKC.

The most bizarre part of training was practicing catching marshmallows in my mouth. Every day for three months.

What are some of the most interesting things you've gotten to do with the group?

I’ve had so many incredible experiences: throwing out the first pitch for the Chicago Cubs, performing on the Tonight Show and performing at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin.

I’ve performed with The Roots, Neil Patrick Harris, Shaquille O’Neill, and this summer I was at a Mets game at Citi Field throwing t-shirts into the crowd with Mr. Met. Also, it’s me on the cover of the Blue Man Group album called Three.

I think the most surreal moment was being an answer in Jeopardy. I was named in a question about Blue Man Group, to hear Alex Trebek say “Matt Ramsey” on Jeopardy was amazing!

Two photos of Matt Ramsey, one in costume before he threw t-shirts out at a Mets game and another where he is helping other Blue Men during a photo shoot.
Ramsey in costume, left, before throwing t-shirts out at a New York Mets game and helping other Blue Men during a photoshoot, he's pictured out of costume top left.
What keeps you coming back to being a Blue Man?

I’m often asked if I get tired of doing the same show. There have been times, naturally, when I can’t believe I have to put on blue greasepaint again. But it’s not long before I’m reminded again how special it is to perform this character. The level of listening, commitment, and focus required to connect with a theater full of strangers without saying a word is an incredible feeling. It’s why I’ve stayed for this long- the connection on stage between the three Blue Men is something I’ve rarely experienced in other shows. It’s very satisfying.

Published: Sep 27, 2019
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