Since last fall, parents have been demanding refunds to the show, which they believed would feature Stevin John as Blippi, a YouTube star beloved by preschoolers.

By Maressa Brown
October 10, 2019
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Blippi LIVE show
| Credit: Shorefire Media

Parents of preschoolers know their kids can't get enough of YouTube, and one of their most beloved series on the platform stars Blippi, a goofy dude in orange glasses, a bowtie, and suspenders, created and portrayed by Stevin John. Blippi videos often rack up over 20 million views, so it's no wonder that when a live Blippi tour was announced last fall, parents clamored to get tickets for their kids.

Now, following a successful tour launch and performances in 13 cities, Blippi the Musical is making its way across over 30 more tour stops on a multi-city North American tour.

"Watching the actors give these awesome performances has been a dream come true," said Stevin John, creator of the world-renowned Blippi brand, in a press release. "Families across the US are loving the musical. I’m thrilled the tour will continue to entertain in even more cities this spring and summer."

Credit: Courtesy of Matt Lerner (Round Room Live)

Announced tour dates include:

Friday, February 21 — Palace Theatre — Columbus, OH

Saturday, February 22 — Rosemont Theatre — Rosemont, IL

Sunday, February 23 — Riverside Theater — Milwaukee, WI

Tuesday, February 25 —Byham Theater — Pittsburgh, PA

Wednesday, February 26 — Kirby Center — Wilkes Barre, PA

Thursday, February 27 — Tilles Center — Brookville, NY

Friday, February 28 — Kodak Center — Rochester, NY

Saturday, February 29 – Queen Elizabeth Theatre – Toronto, ON

Sunday, March 1 — Akron Civic Theatre — Akron, OH

Tuesday, March 3 —Adler Theatre — Davenport, IA

Wednesday, March 4 — Ralston Arena — Ralston, NE

Thursday, March 5 — Orpheum Theater — Madison, WI

Friday, March 6 — Family Arena — St. Charles, MO

Saturday, March 7 — Des Moines Civic Center — Des Moines, IA

Sunday, March 8 — State Theatre — Minneapolis, MN

Sunday, May 31 – North Charleston Performing Arts Center – Charleston, SC

Tuesday, June 2 – Walt Disney Theatre – Orlando, FL

Wednesday, June 3 – Albany Civic Center – Albany, GA

Friday, June 5 – Belk Theater – Charlotte, NC

Saturday, June 6 – Montgomery Performing Arts Center – Montgomery, AL

Sunday, June 7 – Mark C Smith Concert Hall – Huntsville, AL

Tuesday, June 9 – Landers Center – Southaven, MS

Wednesday, June 10 – Thalia Mara Hall – Jackson, MS

Thursday, June 11 – Shreveport Municipal Auditorium – Shreveport, LA

Friday, June 12 – Robinson Performance Hall – Little Rock, AR

Saturday, June 13 – The Theatre at Grand Prairie – Dallas, TX

Sunday, June 14 – Bass Concert Hall – Austin, TX

Monday, June 15 – Ford Park Arena - Beaumont, TX

Tuesday, June 16 – Wagner Noel Performing Arts Center – Midland, TX

Thursday, June 18 – Hudiberg Chevrolet Center – OKC/Midwest City, OK

Friday, June 19 – Kauffman Center – Kansas City, MO

Saturday, June 20 – Pikes Peak Center – Colorado Springs, CO

Sunday, June 21 – Paramount Theatre – Denver, CO

Tuesday, June 23 – Orleans Arena – Las Vegas, NV

Wednesday, June 24 – Arizona Federal Theatre – Phoenix, AZ

Thursday, June 25 – The Magnolia – San Diego, CA

Friday, June 26 – Fox Theater – Riverside, CA

Saturday, June 27 – Fox Theater – Oakland, CA

Sunday, June 28 – San Jose Civic – San Jose, CA

Tuesday, July 7 – Altria Theater – Richmond, VA

Wednesday, July 8 – City Auditorium at Macon Centreplex – Macon, GA

Thursday, July 9 – The Louisville Palace – Louisville, KY

Friday, July 10 – Clowes Memorial Hall – Indianapolis, IN

Saturday, July 11 – Fox Theatre – Detroit, MI

Sunday, July 12 – Tennessee Performing Arts Center – Nashville, TN

Tuesday, July 14 – Forum Theatre – Binghamton, NY

Thursday, July 16 – Byham Theater – Pittsburgh, PA

Friday, July 17 – Merriam Theater – Philadelphia, PA

Saturday, July 18 – Prudential Hall at NJPAC – Newark, NJ

Fans can visit blippithemusical.com now for further information on tickets and meet and greet packages.

It bears noting that last fall, John confirmed that he isn't appearing on the tour; an actor portraying the "character" of Blippi is.

John told Billboard explained why he opted out of the tour. “I won’t be on the road, but I am obviously extremely involved with the whole process,” he noted. “Blippi is as a character and I’m the creative force behind it, but since YouTube is a monster and all of these platforms are really crazy, I can’t go on the road for many weeks or months at a time.”

Instead, the YouTube star said he is hiring an actor who will be trained to master the mannerisms kids identify with Blippi. "My advice to them will be to try and envision what it was like to be a child and remember how your excitement and imagination we're at such an elevated level,” John told Billboard. “I really try and remember what it's like to be a child. I had a great childhood and I want my audience to have a great childhood and get excited about life and to love learning."

No matter how dedicated this actor might be to Blippi's portrayal, parents feel duped, because the only place this discrepancy was noted was in fine print on the Blippi Live website.

“I’m livid,” said Dana Oliver, who spent about $400 on three 6th row tickets plus two "meet and greet" tickets to take her kid to see the Toronto show, told BuzzFeed News. “I’m trying to get a refund.”

Another mom who spent $460 on tickets and meet-and-greet packages for her family of four ultimately got a refund, telling BuzzFeed: "I called Ticketmaster and argued with them as they were equating it to Disney on Ice and him being a ‘character.' But I argued that he IS the character and it would be like the Wiggles touring with replacements!"

Ticket prices for the 30-show tour range from $26 to $70 (plus fees), and a "meet and greet" after the show cost an additional $40 to $51.

Turns out this live tour controversy isn't the first eyebrow-raising issue involving John. BuzzFeed reported that in 2013, pre-Blippi, John made Jackass-esque comedy videos as “Steezy Grossman," one of which involved him pooping on a friend. Thankfully, that clip has been scrubbed from the internet.

In a statement to BuzzFeed about the clip, John said, “At the time, I thought this sort of thing was funny, but really it was stupid and tasteless, and I regret having ever done it."

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