Ashleigh Prince spoke with Josh Blackburn from Blippi The Musical about his career, Blippi’s songs and the live show. Read on for highlights from the interview, or listen to the full interview below. Tune in to Talk of the Commonwealth with Hank Stolz on WCRN 830AM Fridays at 9 AM and Saturdays at 1 PM for more behind-the-scenes interviews.
Ashleigh: Hello, everyone! Welcome back to Behind the Scenes at The Hanover Theatre. Today, there’s so much to learn about, it’ll make you want to shout because we are talking about Blippi The Musical, coming to The Hanover Theatre on June 7. Today, we are talking to Josh Blackburn. Hello!
Josh: Hello! Thank you for having me.
Ashleigh: Thank you for coming on. Now, Josh is the producer of Blippi The Musical, so I thought that it’d be really great to get a behind the scenes look at what goes into Blippi The Musical. it is coming to The Hanover Theatre for the first time this year, so I think that a lot of people are really excited to dive into the world of Blippi.
Josh: Yeah! It’s a super exciting show and we’re really excited to be bringing it.
Ashleigh: I have some little cousins that are really excited for Blippi to come to town. I was doing a little bit of research because I need to do that cool, hip cousin, and I noticed that Blippi’s YouTube channel has 15.5 million subscribers. I think that’s incredible!
Josh: Yeah, the Blippi YouTube channel has been growing exponentially for a few years! Blippi was taken over by Moonbug Entertainment a little while ago, and Moonbug has only helped to explode the world of Blippi into other languages and other friends, and make it even more fun and more powerful than it was before.
Ashleigh: Great! If there are some friends of The Hanover Theatre that aren’t familiar with Blippi and what he does, can you give us a little bit of background and a little bit of an introduction?
Josh: Yeah, Blippi is a guy who goes through the world with a great sense of curiosity, fun and excitement. Blippi is part of your everyday world and he is learning right alongside kids what the world is like, such as brushing your teeth, how long you should brush your teeth, what color is your toothbrush, singing a song about brushing your teeth and a song to help you remember how long you need to brush your teeth. Blippi will go to the museum and he’ll look at dinosaurs or see paintings, or he’ll go to the fire station and talk to firefighters and look at a fire truck and what color the fire truck is.
Blippi is just all about fun, excitement and education in a fun, highly active and interactive way.Josh Blackburn
Ashleigh: What I like about Blippi is that he’s not living in a magical fantasy world, he’s living in the real world. He’s helping people learn about a lot of different things like dinosaurs, plants, fish and all kinds of things across various subject matters. I think it’s really great and really engaging for kids.
Josh: We touched on many of those great moments in the live show, such as dinosaurs, fish and different types of vehicles and transportation. It’s things that kids are going to interact with in their everyday lives as they go through the world on field trips and also just hanging out with their families.
Ashleigh: Right. I hear that the show is very interactive and that there are new songs, and sometimes that they might recognize from the YouTube channel. When you are talking about Blippi The Musical, what is your favorite part of the show?
Josh: Oh, I have a trick answer. My favorite part of the show is watching all of the kids and families joining in with the action. You’ll have parents dressed up as Blippi whenever they bring their kids into the show, but then everybody’s up out of their seats dancing, learning the dance moves and singing along with the show. So, my favorite part of the show is watching everybody interact with the show. I have to say that Rex, the Tyrannosaurus rex, is one of my favorite characters in the show. That’s a really fun moment from the actual stage show.
Ashleigh: That’s a good one. I watched a little bit of it and I really did like the dinosaur part, I thought that was great and I can’t wait to see it in person. Is there a particular part in the show that kids and families really go wild for, like if Taylor Swift had just stepped on the stage? Is there a big wild moment for everyone in the show?
Josh: The moment that Blippi does come on stage for the first time is a very Beyoncé-esque moment where the crowd goes wild and everybody is jumping up and down. I will say that the new final song that we’ve added to the show for 2022 is “The Excavator Song,” which is by far one of Blippi’s most popular songs and videos. The reaction from kids and parents alike has been phenomenal.
Ashleigh: That’s great. I think that kids can be tough critics sometimes. So, they’re raving about Blippi The Musical, I completely get them. I know what a big celebrity he is in children’s entertainment, so I’m really eager to see what the show brings when it comes to Worcester on June 7. I am wondering now if people wanted to connect with the show before they attend, is there a cast album or videos that they can connect to on YouTube?
Josh: Yeah, there is a Blippi The Musical cast album which is streaming on all streaming services, and that’ll have all the songs from the live show, minus “The Excavator Song,” sung by the original cast, which is pretty awesome. If you really want to get to know the show before you come see it live, the theatrical filmed version of the live show is on the Blippi YouTube page. You can you can watch the entire 2021 version of the show there to get ready and learn some of the dance moves ahead of time.
Ashleigh: Oh, great. It’s great to prepare. I believe he makes an appearance on Netflix as well, right?
Josh: Yeah! Blippi is on most platforms now.
Ashleigh: That’s great. So, if you’re all prepping for Blippi The Musical, there’s lots of content out there that you and your family can dig through to get ready and get really excited for this very family-friendly show. So, let’s talk a little bit about you, Josh, how did you find yourself with Blippi The Musical?
Josh: In early 2019, an agency approached us, Round Room Live. Round Room Live is the producing company that produces and promotes Blippi The Musical along with various other family entertainment shows. The Blippi brand and their people were looking to explore different ways of bringing Blippi to fans and they asked us if we could put together a live show for Blippi. We work together hand-in-hand with Stevin John, who is the creator of Blippi, to create the first version of the live show all through 2019. The show launched in early February of 2020 for the very first time.
Ashleigh: Great, and how did you find your way into theater in the first place?
Josh: As many kids’ stories, I performed in the elementary, middle school and high school plays and musicals growing up. I then went to college to major in entertainment business studies, sort of. I always knew that I loved theater and loved live entertainment, so I moved to New York shortly after college to pursue a career in theater and sort of fell into the family and kids’ entertainment world. It’s been pretty awesome to be a part of such great shows like PJ Masks Live, Baby Shark Live, Peppa Pig’s Adventure! along with various other live shows that I’ve been grateful enough to be part of the producing team on.
Ashleigh: Yeah, you just named some really big heavy-hitters in the children’s entertainment industry. Those are some popular ones. I think I’m going to have to brush up on some other musicals too, aside from just Blippi in case you come back with other shows later.
Josh: Yes, we try to come back to all of our friends and favorite locations with each and every show.
Ashleigh: That’s amazing and we can’t wait to have you in Worcester. Before we wrap up for today, do you have any parting words for audiences today?
Josh: I would say that audiences should not expect to be seated the whole time just watching a story unfold in front of them.
Kids and families should be ready to get up out of their seats and sing, dance, jump along and be part of the action. This is an active participatory show, not a not a passive sit-and-wait show. Just be ready for the excitement to hit you as soon as you walk in the door.Josh Blackburn
Ashleigh: Absolutely. You heard it here, stream that album, watch the videos on YouTube and Netflix and really study up so that you can have your songs and dances ready for the actual production. If you haven’t gotten your tickets yet, do not wait and do not hesitate. Get your tickets for the show on June 7 now at TheHanoverTheatre.org. We still have some really great seats available in all of our seating locations, so please go ahead to our website and check that out as soon as possible. You do not want to wait if you do not want to miss out on Blippi! Let me tell you, it’s going to be quite the event. Thank you so much, Josh, for joining us on Behind the Scenes at The Hanover Theatre today. We’ll see you soon, bye!