By J.J. KINDRED
On the heels of receiving two Daytime Emmy nominations, a season four pick up from the Nickelodeon network and rising ticket sales for their upcoming live tour in Australia, “Yo Gabba Gabba!” is currently on a 50-city tour across North America.
Fans of all ages have the opportunity to see the characters come to life on stage for what its creators hope is a phenomenal live show experience like no other.
The tour started in Minneapolis in September and will wrap in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Dec. 11.
“Yo Gabba Gabba Live: It’s Time to Dance” features a mix of classic “Yo Gabba Gabba!” favorites, as well as new songs and new performances. The state-of-the-art, high-energy production features DJ Lance Rock, Brobee, Foofa, Muno, Plex and Toodee, and a mix of music, animation, games, singing and dancing.
Many celebrities, including legendary hip-hop star Biz Markie, have been part of the show in some form.
“Yo Gabba Gabba!” is one of the most popular series on the Nickelodeon network and on stage, with broad appeal among preschoolers, parents, teens and young adults.
The award-winning series was created by Christian Jacobs and Scott Schultz.
Jacobs, once a child actor himself, took time to speak by phone with The Knoxville Journal about creating the show and its forthcoming Knoxville stop.
KJ: How did you come up with the concept for “Yo Gabba Gabba!”, yet alone the name?
CJ: Well, the basics of when you make a kids’ show is that you make one that we can watch with them and the folks of our generation. It’s a feeling when we watch with our kids, the shows don’t have the same vibrance or funkiness when we were kids. That was really the idea. “Yo Gabba Gabba” become a blender in a lot of ways of the kids shows we grew up watching, such as The Electric Company, Mister Rogers, Sesame Street, Pee Wee’s Playhouse and the Muppets.
“Yo Gabba Gabba” is the magic cord that sets it off. We needed a magic word of this generation, like Abracadabra, Ga Ga Goo Goo, that kind of thing.
KJ: How do you come up with the choreography for it, and how do you get the audience to relate to it?
CJ: That’s a great question. The story is in themes for songs, messages or things we’re trying to teach. Most of them come from experiences we have with our own families at home. You have all these problems arise and we get our wives together and brainstorm. It relates to problems characters on the show are having. Rising straight out of our homes, and relationships we have with our own kids.
The choreography comes all together. When you get a bunch of preschool kids together, figurative choreography comes to play. A lot of our family and friends work on the show and Scott’s friends work on the show.
KJ: Do you guys try to make each show different?
CJ: As far as the live show goes, we want each show to be a concert and a big fun dance party for kids, and provide that surprise and that kind of vibe like the television show does. That’s where the big priority is — what’s going to happen next. The set list pretty much stays the same from show to show, but we have special guests and surprises. Biz Markie is at every show, but you don’t know what he’s going to do. We also pull in a local celebrity to help bring everything together.
KJ: What can people expect from the show?
CJ: Just a big fun party. Part of the thing with touring kids shows is that it can be painful for parents. I’ve taken my own kids to certain shows and I couldn’t wait until they were over. Scott, myself and everyone who works on the tour took extra care and effort to make sure this was going to be a fun experience for parents, too. The music is bumping and you’re going to be up and dancing, I guarantee it, whether you like it or not. They may call you out to come and dance, but it’s contagious and it’s fun.
The stars of “Yo Gabba Gabba Live: It’s time to Dance” will perform at the Tennessee Theatre Nov. 2 at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. For tickets and further information, call (865) 684-1200 or visitwww.tennesseetheatre.com.