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Graduating senior lands job as 'Blue Man'

April 16, 2008

KALAMAZOO--Patrick Newton is feeling blue. And he couldn't be happier.

Newton, a Western Michigan University student from Owosso, Mich., who graduates this month with a degree in musical theatre performance, has landed a job in Blue Man Group.

Newton, who over the past four years has become a fixture on WMU's theatre scene, is very excited to join Blue Man Group, which is dedicated to creating riveting and innovative shows encompassing a wide variety of media.

"I'm absolutely thrilled," Newton says. "I'm overjoyed. I feel I'm extremely blessed that I have this opportunity coming right out of Western. I'm a student like anyone else and I've got a lot of debt to pay back. Especially for someone in the theatre field, to have a job as lucrative as this is right off the bat is a really great opportunity for me."

Newton will begin his Blue Man training in New York about two weeks after he graduates on April 26. He could end up with a Blue Man Group stationed in a major city or be assigned to a traveling Blue Man Group. He'd like to be in a group stationed in New York, but will enjoy the ride wherever it takes him.

Newton has seen Blue Man Group performances three times. Blue Man Group is well known for its popular theatrical shows and concerts, which combine music, comedy and multimedia theatrics to produce a unique form of entertainment. Newton says the show is right for him.

"For one thing, it's a really cool fusion of theater and percussion, and those are two things I've done for a very long time," says Newton, who comes from a musical family. "I grew up a musician and then went to school for theatre. So this is a really cool fusion of my talents that I can make money at."

Newton is no stranger to the stage. While at WMU, he has starred in many productions, most recently the acclaimed University Theatre production of "Dracula," in which he played the lead. The show was selected for regional competition at the American College Theatre Festival in Milwaukee. He also played major roles in productions of "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead," "A Little Night Music," "The Wild Party" and "Brigadoon" and has performed in various cabaret shows.

Newton was bitten by the acting bug early on.

"It sounds cheesy, but a lot of people are just born with a desire to perform," he says, "a desire to tell a story, to connect with an audience. I find a lot of joy in that."

Newton credits his time at WMU with preparing him to "make it" in show business.

"I've really enjoyed myself," he says. "I think I've gained an immense amount of knowledge about my craft. I don't think I would have been anywhere near as prepared just going out and trying to make it as an actor. I just don't think I could have done it."

Newton's training at WMU encompassed voice, theatre and dance, giving him a well-rounded base and preparing him as a "triple threat," an actor who can also dance and sing. He decided to try out for Blue Man Group and sent a headshot and resume to the organization last spring. He was called to audition in Chicago in September.

Performers who become Blue Men must meet strict requirements and usually have to audition more than once. Newton was called to audition again in November, this time in New York, leaving the day "Dracula" closed. As he was shopping a few hours after the audition, they called and said he had the job.

On May 19, Newton begins his Blue Man training, which had to wait until he finished school.

"I knew I wouldn't be done with school when I was auditioning and I didn't know if they would wait for me," Newton says. "But they were really great about that. They said they would wait for me and told me to just let them know when I got done with school."

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, (269) 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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