VStar and Nickelodeon are upping their partnership starting with “Move to the Music.”
Character-packed Nick Jr. Live “Move to the Music” to be first show from stepped-up agreement
VStar Entertainment and Nickelodeon have entered into a five-year deal that will see VStar be the exclusive live touring partner for Nickelodeon’s broad portfolio of family-skewing properties.
Nick Jr. Live “Move to the Music,” a new live show that will incorporate characters from multiple hit Nickelodeon preschool animated series, including “Bubble Guppies,” “PAW Patrol,” “Dora the Explorer,” “Shimmer and Shine,” “Blue’s Clues & You!”, “Blaze and the Monster Machines” and “Top Wing,” will be the first show born from the deal, which is being announced this morning.
The companies have had a relationship since 2016, when they partnered to bring PAW Patrol Live! “Race to the Rescue” to the stage, the first live stage show based on Nickelodeon’s popular PAW Patrol. That show is still running on three continents.
Also running are three touring units of Great Pirate Adventure, which started in 2017, and Bubble Guppies, which started last year.
VStar CEO Eric Grilly said that the deal started to come to fruition about a year ago and that the deal was signed last fall. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Sharon Cohen, executive vice president of the Nickelodeon Experience, said the producing partnership between the two companies for specific projects has morphed into a strategic partnership “because it felt like it was time to solidify the partnership and have in place the blueprint to launch more shows.”
Her division, which aggregates all of Nickelodeon’s intellectual property, was created two years ago and has a 30-member staff. Other Nickelodeon shows include “Double Dare Live” and the SpongeBob SquarePants musical.
Creating “Move to the Music” “was a very collaborative process,” Grilly said. “We looked at how their IP was performing on social media platforms, linear platforms, consumer-product platforms, B2B platforms, and we assessed the cultural relevance and made decisions based on those and other factors.”
Cohen expects the target audience for “Move to the Music” to be preschoolers and their parents. She also expects the road going forward will be a “true collaboration between the two companies. VStar is a fabulous partner and we recognize VStar’s knowledge in creating live theatricals.”
Grilly expects the tour to have cast of 10-12, which is in line with the existing PAW Patrol shows and will need three trucks. Music will be a combination of original music and music from the various Nickelodeon series that the characters populate. The music will be tracked.
The strength of Nickelodeon’s global business is the primary reason VStar was keen on upping the partnership; Nickelodeon’s rich, deep archive of content was another; and the success of their working relationship led VStar to want to strengthen it as well.
VStar was acquired by Cirque du Soleil in 2018. Non-Nickelodeon tours include Cirque Dreams and Discover the Dinosaurs: Time Trek. Previous VStar (formerly VEE Corp.) was the home of the Sesame Street Live and Barney franchises.
“VStar being bought by Cirque makes them that much more of a compelling partner for us,” Cohen said. “They’ve added additional capabilities.”
Cohen anticipates “many more productions over the five years of the umbrella deal.”
Tour dates and the venues that “Move to the Music” will play are still being determined.