OTTUMWA — “Baby Shark Live!” dives into its spring tour at Bridge View Center Saturday.
“This is the launch of the spring tour,” said Josh Blackburn, producer for the show. “We’re excited to be her in Ottumwa and kick it off in this beautiful venue that I’m a big fan of.”
It’s not Blackburn’s first time working with BVC. He worked on the “PJ Masks: Save the Day” show that Round Room, the show’s production company, premiered in Ottumwa about a year ago.
The 10 cast members of the show arrived in Ottumwa Thursday to begin preparing for the launch of the spring tour. The 13-member crew joined them Saturday, Blackburn said.
“We chose Ottumwa because it has an amazing building and amazing staff at Bridge View Center,” he said. “Round Room has launched other shows here, and we wanted to come back and work with Scott and the team here.”
Scott Hallgren, executive director at BVC, said the show, in turn, is providing a big economic boost to Ottumwa. “We estimate this event has a direct spend to our local economy of $75,000, and it could creep closer to $100,000,” read a statement from the center. “This is a big deal for Ottumwa. You can see it first right here in your own backyard without having to go to a major metropolitan area.”
Blackburn said the show has 100 stops throughout the United States and Canada in this leg of the tour. Then it will begin looking at international stops.
But first, the cast has to get ready for Ottumwa’s 2 p.m. Saturday show. He said at lunchtime Wednesday that the cast was doing its first costumed run that afternoon. “We’ll get a few run-throughs before Saturday, and then we head to Kansas City,” he said.
The show is pretty simple. “There’s nothing to give away,” Blackburn said of the plot. He said the audience is introduced to Baby Shark in the beginning. They also get to meet his best friend, Pinkfong, a magical pink fox.
“They keep trying to meet each other and keep missing each other,” Blackburn said. “They meet different friends along the way. It’s more of a concert experience than a traditional story.”
However, parents who may be on overload from the viral ear worm that inspired the show don’t have to worry about hearing the song on a loop throughout the 60-minute production.
“The song itself is in the show a few times, but there are 19 other songs in the show,” Blackburn said. They include songs that families have watched videos of on the website or may otherwise be familiar with, such as “Wheels on the Bus,” “Five Little Monkeys,” “Monkey Banana Dance,” and “Jungle Boogie.” “There’s tons of interactive songs encouraging kids — and parents — to get up and move along. It’s not just an hour of ‘Baby Shark.’”
The show will be followed by a meet and greet, where kids will have the opportunity to go on stage and meet Baby Shark and Pinkfong and get a photo taken with the characters.
Blackburn said the target age of the show is preschoolers ages 2-5. “Ages 1-7 is a broader audience range,” he said. And, older siblings are encouraged to join the crowd. “It’s a family-fun show all the way around,” he said. “If you are a fan of preschool content, it’s really a fun and energetic experience for the family.”