Nickelodeon takes its popular preschool puppy out to play
with its Blue's Clues Live! stage tour, set to debut Oct. 29 in Wallingford,
The 75-city tour is slated for a yearlong run in major and
secondary markets across the country, including a 13-day appearance at New York's
Radio City Music Hall next April.
The Broadway-caliber stage production will borrow
characters from the weekday Nick show Blue's Clues, including Blue, Steve,
Mail Box and Tickety Tock. The theatrical version adds new characters created just for the
stage, said Stuart Rosenstein, director of theatrical development for Nickelodeon and
executive producer for the Blue's Clues Live! tour.
For example, the stage curtain is a character named Curt
Ann, who talks to the kids in the audience as they walk in. "It'll be a big
surprise for the kids," Rosenstein said.
The curtain is one of several interactive features in the
stage production. As they walk in, kids will receive a 'handy-dandy' notebook to
follow along with, just like the ones used to track clues on each episode of the TV
The production is geared towards 2-to-7-year-old children
and their parents, said Rosenstein. Even though 6- and 7-year-olds may no longer watch the
TV show, he said, they may still have some nostalgia for the characters.
Blue's Clues co-creator Angela C. Santomero also
helped script the stage play. As with the television episodes, the writers sought input
from parents and educators.
In research, parents said a live theatrical production
should be new -- not a rehashed TV episode -- and should take the audience somewhere they
haven't been. To that end, the dog Blue will appear in different forms: as a puppet
in one scene and later, as a full-size actor in costume.
"We wanted to stretch the imagination and
interactivity of live theater," Rosenstein said.
Parents also wanted the stage production to feature a close
adaptation of Steve, as the television actor will not join the tour. "What is
important about the actor who plays Steve are the mannerisms, the look and the feel,"
Although cable operators are constantly bombarded with
affiliate promotions, Rosenstein is urging local marketing and ad sales departments to
participate in Blue's Clues Live! promotions.
"We target a family demo that's important to
them, and we can give them something tangible to offer subscribers and advertisers"
in the form of free tickets and back-stage passes to meet Blue, Steve and the gang, said
Jason Malamud, vice president of affiliate advertising
sales for Nickelodeon parent MTV Networks, said cable ad-sales reps can attract retail
sponsors for the local event by sending parents to pick up tickets at promotional
Bookstores, family-style restaurants, clothing stores --
any venue that attracts young children shopping with their parents -- would make the most
effective partners, Malamud suggested.
Blue's Clues is such a phenomenon that the
identity of the sponsors is almost irrelevant, he added. "Customers will go wherever
necessary just to latch on to the Nickelodeon brand," said Malamud.
The Blue's Clues tour is by no means the first time a
made-for-Nickelodeon character has expanded beyond its TV roots. The network's
popular animated series Rugrats, aimed at a slightly older audience, had its own
stage run and also made its way to the big screen.