DOWNTOWN BLUES: For the first time in 27 years, the Blue Man Group is adding a new item to their wardrobe. “Project Runway All-Star” Helen Castillo has created a jumpsuit for the three performance artists and, unlike their stage makeup, the design is not entirely blue.
Raised in New York, the designer attended an arts magnet middle school and subsequently saw her share of traditional Broadway shows. “Kids at school would always boast about their parents or the ‘cool aunt’ taking them to see this show. I grew up knowing it [BMG] as a household name. When I was invited to see a night showing of BMG, I couldn’t believe how close it was to St. Marks Place, where I hung out as a teenager getting my first tattoo and piercings,” she said. “It was refreshing to know there’s still an authentic New York tradition being maintained at Astor Place Theatre.”
Seen by 35 million people worldwide, the show is relatable to Castillo, who likes getting creative, messy and having fun. “Typically, I am inspired by paintings or art movements, so this opportunity was a stroke of fate. Just like visiting The Met to view the costume exhibitions, or photo galleries, the ability to get up-close and personal helps provide me with perspective,” she said.
But she also saw the humor in the Blue Man Group. “It was awesome to see a performance with absolutely no verbal interactions amongst cast members. Let’s just say I haven’t laughed harder than when they make art with their mouths,” Castillo said.
Blue Man Group performers will be at her Sept. 9 show as guests, wearing the khaki-colored jumpsuit with blue trim that she designed — at the Gelsey Kirkland Academy of Classical Ballet in Brooklyn. The limited-edition unisex style will be available at her site. Attendees will be treated to a ballet performance, which is meant to be a segue into the aesthetic of the collection. “I’ve never had this much freedom with venue before when hosting my show independently, whether because of the expense or lack of space availability of my choice.”
For the show, Verb hair products and NYX cosmetics have partnered with the designer, who has collaborated with hairstylist Jennifer MacDougall and L’Oréal hair coloring. Castillo is working on her own artistic interpretation, creating illustrations for a publication laced with zodiac characters that will be published in David Wasserman’s new book of poems, due out next year.