'Blue's Clues' fetches rapturous reviews

Imagine a rock concert with an audience of 3-year-olds. That was the scene Wednesday morning at "Blue's Clues Live!," an energetic Broadway-style musical aimed at preschoolers and their fun-loving parents.

The popularity of Nickelodeon's "Blue's Clues" series was evident when Steve (played by Travis McGhie during the morning performance and Thomas Mizer during Tuesday's and Wednesday's nighttime performances) skidooed from a TV screen onto the stage. Children pointed, screamed and swayed in their seats as their hero began to sing and dance.

Then Blue the dog appeared � and the house really came down. Slippery Soap followed, then Tickety Tock, then Salt and Pepper, then Mail Box � the squeals spilled from the toddlers as each character, played by adults or puppets, made an entrance.

The story line was simple: Help Steve solve Blue's clues to find the location of "the most spectacular place," which turns out to be home.

McGhie deserves high praise for his performance. Imagine acting and singing above 1, 295 high-pitched voices? He not only did that but also was able to direct the children's enthusiasm in a way that advanced the show's action. McGhie even lured in the adults with his Elvis, Sinatra and Devo-like singing impressions and his happy-feet dancing.

By 11 a.m. Wednesday, "Blue's Clues Live!" had sold 4,872 tickets � that didn't count walk-in sales for Wednesday night's show. So it doesn't take a genius to figure out that wholesome entertainment for preschoolers is in high demand here.

But what's truly important about the touring 1 1/2-hour show is that it is laying the foundation to turn today's toddlers into tomorrow's theatergoers. And if there's any lesson that the children and their parents should take back to their "most spectacular place," it is what Steve says at the show's onset: "I heard the theater is magical and you can imagine anything."

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