Spectator sues Blue Man Group over antics

January 24, 2008 2:43:31 PM PST
The Blue Man Group is on the cutting edge of Chicago theater. But did the performers take one of their routines too far? That's what a California man claims. And now he's suing the Blue Man Group.

A special afternoon out in Chicago with his grandson became the source of pain and nightmares, according to James Srodon. He claims his 8-year-old grandson was taking drum lessons in October 2006, and he'd heard the Blue Man Group played drums. He didn't know about their other antics, and he says he wasn't expecting an assault.

The Blue Man Group performs live in several cities in the U.S. and Germany. For years, audiences have been drawn to the interactive irreverent act. Three men covered in blue entertain audiences with the unusual and sometimes messy shows. In fact, visitors are warned to not wear anything valuable or nice. Visitors are also warned about the use of strobe lights during the show.

Srodon said he was not warned about a part of the show when a camera was forced into his mouth. In the lawsuit filed in Cook County Circuit Court, Srodon says the Blue Man actors used the "esophagus cam" to project an image of Srodon's mouth and throat onto a large screen for the audience's amusement.

The lawsuit alleges the Blue Man actors circled him, held his neck and arms and "forced his head back" to insert the camera.

"When I started struggling, it seemed like this fellow was more, he wanted to be more aggressive with this device and shoved it way down my throat," he said.

Srodon answered questions via phone from his attorney's office.

"The doctor concluded that a traumatic contusion to the esophagus. I challenge anybody in this room for you to traumatically contuse your esophagus on your own," said Antonio Romanucci, attorney for Srodon.

Srodon filed a lawsuit against Blue Man Productions claiming battery, negligence and infliction of emotional distress.

"No one had come to me and said 'Do you want to be part of a stunt?' I was totally unaware. I was totally unwilling. It was a surprise attack. And I think other people should know about this," said Srodon.

"He was left with a serious injury to his throat, and the force of the camera being shoved down his throat was enough to knock out fillings in his teeth," said Romanucci.

The local spokesman for Blue Man Group had not seen the lawsuit and would not comment. He did say he was unaware of any suit filed due to the Chicago production of Blue Man Group.

Romanucci said they'd been negotiating a settlement with Blue Man Productions since last year but have not been satisfied with the discussions.

Named as defendants in the suit are Blue Man Productions Inc., theater owner Fox Theatricals and related companies.