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Manual Labor 

Blue Man Group writes the playbook on rock-star rowdiness.

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As Blue Man Group trucks its How to Be a Megastar Tour 2.1 into the Q tonight, it'll be an Ohio homecoming of sorts for member Michael Rahhal. That's because the Oklahoma-bred thespian is a 1995 graduate of Ohio University, where he caught the acting bug for live theater. "On top of being classically trained, I've studied a lot of clown work, with masks, dance, and mime," says Rahhal, who's been a Blue Man for nearly 10 years. "[My training] leans toward the avant-garde and the more fringy elements of theater and comedy." The tour is no different. At the start of the show, an image of a how-to-be-a-rock-star instruction manual flashes on a Jumbotron. The trio then flips through the onscreen pages and gives lessons to the audience on how to head-bob and fist-pump its way to rock and roll glory. "Even though we have these mammoth arenas with thousands of people in them, we get all the way in the back. Nobody is getting away, because that's a big part of our ethos," says Rahhal. "They can't just sit back and be spoon-fed entertainment. They have to experience it with us."To add to the insanity, a seven-piece band backs the trio with power-pop originals. And the dudes start a spirited paintball fight, in which the "poncho section" in the first couple of rows gets splattered. "This is a totally interactive multimedia experience, with innovative video, comedy, and a band that totally rocks," says Rahhal. "For me, it's the ultimate day job." The Blue Man Group hits the stage at 8 tonight at Quicken Loans Arena, 100 Gateway Plaza. Tickets are $49.50 to $75. Call 216-420-2200 or visit www.theqarena.com.
Sat., March 22, 8 p.m., 2008

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