Yo Gabba Gabba! Live: There’s a Party in My City, the first live U.S. touring shows for the popular children’s program “Yo Gabba Gabba!,” looks like a hit.
Conceived by animation/entertainment company W!ldbrain and produced and promoted by Michael Cohl’s Miami-based S2BN Entertainment, YGG Live put six shows in three cities — New York, Chicago and Los Angeles — on sale today (Oct. 9) and immediately sold out New York’s two shows and is considering adding more. Chicago and Los Angeles go up today as well.
The tour begins Nov. 14 in Los Angeles at the Shrine Expo Hall. New York’s Beacon Theatre is Nov. 21, and the Rosemont Theatre outside of Chicago is Dec. 5. Former artist manager Mike Luba, president of music and family entertainment at S2BN, is running point for the company on the Yo Gabba Gabba! tour.
The New York blowout for a tour untested in North America is an impressive debut. “We didn’t really know, this being the first time out,” Luba admits. “We weren’t sure if it was something we should book into Brooklyn Bowl and see if 800 people show up, or should we go into the Garden and see if 10,000 show up. We feel like we kind of settled into the right spot, and we’re going to give people a really good experience.”
YGG as a family show tour jumps into a lucrative but competitive space that annually fields such long-time winners as Dora the Explorer, Sesame Street Live and Clifford the Big Red Dog, among others. Luba believes the rock sensibilities of YGG that appeals to parents, along with the expertise at S2BN, come at this entertainment niche from another angle.
“Nothing against any of those shows, they all do what they do really well,” Luba says of the competition in the family show arena. “We’ll take the skills we’ve learned in doing everything from Broadway to rock concerts to events and exhibitions and put it to use here. It’s up to us to not only let people know the show’s coming, but to educate [consumers] as to what it’s all about so they know what to expect, and to blow their minds when they get there.”
S2BN Entertainment bills itself as “a diversified, international family show and event entertainment company specializing in the acquisition, development and production of high caliber touring exhibitions, unique live music tours and events, theatrical performances, and consumer and multimedia product offerings.” Cohl is best known as the promoter of the Rolling Stones’ world tours since 1989, and was a key player in orchestrating Live Nation’s megadeals with such artists as Madonna, U2, Jay-Z and Shakira. Cohl resigned as chairman of the board of Live Nation and vacated his post as CEO of Live Nation Artists in June of 2008, and launched S2BN later that year.
S2BN projects to date include the Bodies Exhibition, FuerzaBruta and the Pete Seeger Clearwater Concert: Creating the Next Generation of Environmental Leaders in celebration of his 90th Birthday. Now it’s Yo Gabba Gabba! “It seems like the people out there really want it,” Luba says. “I was sitting with [Cohl] one day and said, ‘I’m certainly prone to being wrong but I would have to be as wrong about this as anything I’ve ever done in my life.'”
The show will feature DJ Lance Rock and the YGG characters Brobee, Foofa, Muno, Plex, and Toodee, as well as surprise guests. Luba says the show features very high production values in light, sound and video. The tour comes on the heels of the first YGG album release, “Yo Gabba Gabba! Music Is Awesome,” set for release Oct. 20 on Filter Recordings.