Review Fix chats with Blue Man Mark Frankel, who lets us know everything about The Blue Man New York Drum-Off on Saturday Sept. 23.
About The Blue Man New York Drum-Off:
Blue Man Group Announces First-Ever New York Drum-Off Partnership with Astor Alive!, Sept. 23
The Blue Man New York Drum-Off selection panel, comprised of Blue Man Group band members and Blue Men, will identify up to twenty semi-finalists from the video submissions to perform live on Wednesday, Sept. 13 from 2 to 5 p.m. at Astor Place Theatre. The panel will then advance three finalists to compete live on Astor Alive! Festival’s main stage in the Astor Place Plaza on Saturday, Sept. 23 from 5:30 to 6 p.m.
The Astor Alive! Festival returns for the second year to celebrate Astor Place as a vibrant cultural district of over two dozen theater, dance, music, art, architecture and historic landmarks, including Astor Place Theatre where Blue Man Group performs. The festival will showcase twelve Astor Place and East Village cultural powerhouses across two stages with performances ranging from music and dance to poetry and theater. The event is free and open to the public.
The winner of the Blue Man New York Drum-Off will receive a prize package valued at over $5,000 including prizes from DW Drums, Vic Firth, Sabian, VOX, KORG and Blue Man Group. The Blue Man New York Drum-Off is just the latest in a series of Blue Man Group Drum-Offs throughout the country, most recently the Blue Man Group Orlando’s Drum-Off held on April 22 as part of Florida Music Festival.
Review Fix: What does being in Blue Man Group mean to you?
Mark Frankel: Being a Blue Man is the best job I’ve ever had. I work with an incredibly talented group of people that are focused on a singular goal: to create an experience for people that they will never forget. It’s an amazing feeling to connect with so many people every day and be present with what’s happening right now. And, I get to play drums every night. Who wouldn’t want to do that for a living?
Review Fix: Why is this drum off event special?
Frankel: There are so many incredible drummers out there, and this contest will give them a chance to step out and be seen as well as heard. The competitive element is just a way to entice people to join in, really it’s about learning and celebrating. Drummers are a tribe, and this is our gathering.
Review Fix: Away from the prizes, how do you think the winner will benefit in the long run?
Frankel: A contest like this gives drummers a chance to think of their instrument as a singular form of musical expression. No accompaniment, just the drums themselves. It’s very challenging to create a piece of solo music on the kit without getting too caught up in a display of speed and chops. Those are definitely components of what kit drumming is comprised of, but it has to groove above all else. All the contestants will have a chance to pow wow, connect, listen, learn and be inspired. The winner will walk away with a great sense of accomplishment and a beautiful new kit. Not bad, huh?
Review Fix: Who do you think will enjoy it the most?
Frankel: Who doesn’t love a drum solo? It’s going to be a celebration of the world’s oldest instrument, with a hint of healthy competition. Sounds like a good time to me!
Review Fix: What’s next for you?
Frankel: Well, as a Blue Man here in NYC, I perform seven shows a week. So, I’m doing a show tonight. With a young daughter and lawn that needs mowing, that’s pretty much all I can handle! I do manage to squeeze in some drumming outside of the show, though. It’s a nice change to just walk up in my street clothes and play – no bald cap required!
Review Fix: Anything else you’d like to add?
Frankel: Can’t wait to see and hear all of these incredible musicians! It’s going to be a blast.
Patrick Hickey Jr.
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