Entertainment

Doors to close on Toronto's Blue Man

The Blue Man Group, which opened its first Canadian show in Toronto in 2005, will end its run in January after only 18 months.

The Blue Man Group, which opened its first Canadian show in Toronto in 2005, will end its run in January after only 18 months.

Producers had revamped Toronto's 700-seat Panasonic Theatre for the show, which they hoped would run for 10 years.

The Blue Man Group features three men performing wacky stunts wearing blue body paint and has shows running in New York, Las Vegas, Chicago, Boston, London and Berlin.

The Toronto cancellation, the first time the Blue Man Group has ended a production, is being blamed on poor box office.

Show faced boycott

The production ran afoul oftheatrical unions in Toronto because it runs with a non-union cast and crew.

The Canadian Actors' Equity Association attempted to force the production to use union members when it opened in 2005, but failed in the attempt.

Instead the union advocated a boycott, urging Toronto audiences not to attend.

It was successful in getting the support of Ontario's teachers unions, and this blocked the Blue Man production's attempts to book school groups into its Toronto show.

The closing of the Blue Man show, scheduled for Jan. 7, is not an indication of waning audiences and cannot be linked to the failure of shows like Lord of the Rings, said Equity executive director Susan Wallace.

"Placing the blame for the show's failure on our city instead of squarely where it belongs, with the show's deliberate inability to make itself part of our community, continues a pattern of disrespect for Toronto evidenced by Blue Man from Day 1," Wallace said in a statement.

Critics also said the show, which debuted in 1991, may have lost its freshness by the time it reached Toronto.

Toronto isn't the only town where the production has faced labour troubles.

Blue Man producers refused to meet at the bargaining table with the Las Vegas local of theInternational Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees and face an unfair labour practices ruling by the National Labor Relations Board earlier this month.

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