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Cirque Du Soleil Buys Blue Man Group


Two hugely popular live entertainment companies are joining forces. Cirque du Soleil announced yesterday it is acquiring Blue Man Productions. NPR's Rose Friedman reports.

ROSE FRIEDMAN, BYLINE: If you haven't seen a Blue Man Group show, chances are you know somebody who has. They're interactive performances by bald guys painted blue with lights and percussion and physical comedy. Blue Man groups seem to be everywhere, New York, Boston, Chicago, Orlando, Las Vegas. Plus, they tour. But now they want more.

CHRIS WINK: We want to go to South America, Eastern Europe. We would love to go to places like Rome and Barcelona and St. Petersburg and Dubai.

FRIEDMAN: That's Chris Wink, one of the co-founders of Blue Man Group. He says the big one is China.

WINK: That's an exciting group of people, a giant group that we want to reach.

FRIEDMAN: So Blue Man Group is teaming up with Cirque du Soleil...


UNIDENTIFIED SINGER: (Singing in foreign language).

FRIEDMAN: ...Best known for their tumbling, their trapeze and acrobatics. And they happen to be partially owned by a Chinese company called Fosun.


UNIDENTIFIED SINGER: (Singing in foreign language).

FRIEDMAN: So Blue Man Group gets a partner that can help it reach new markets and maybe try new types of shows. Being part of a bigger business can help with that. And what does Cirque get from the deal? It said in the statement that it's looking to, quote, "diversify its entertainment offerings beyond circus arts."

WINK: They weren't looking to Cirque du Soleil-ify (ph) Blue Man any more than they were trying to Blue Man-ize (ph) their Cirque du Soleil shows.

FRIEDMAN: And since neither show depends much on words, expanding globally makes sense. In other words, more of the same in more places. Rose Friedman, NPR News.

(SOUNDBITE OF BLUE MAN GROUP'S "GIACOMETTI") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Rose Friedman is an Associate Editor for NPR's Arts, Books & Culture desk. She edits radio pieces on a range of subjects, including books, pop culture, fine arts, theater, obituaries and the occasional Harry Potter-check-in. She is also co-creator of NPR's annual Book Concierge and the podcast recommendation site In addition, Rose has edited commentaries for the network, as well as regular features like This Week's Must Read on All Things Considered.