Call it a phenomenon. Call it a rallying cry. Call it the most infectious 136-second song in the history of 136-second songs.
But whatever you do, don’t sing, “baby shark…doo doo doo doo doo doo” at any time during the reading of this article.
We beg you.
Just don’t do it.
You did it, didn’t you?
Granted, we understand if you did. And it’s exactly why the song/YouTube sensation “Baby Shark” has been transformed into the inaugural U.S. tour of “Baby Shark Live!” a magical mix of educational programming, live theater and rock concert all wrapped into one catchy 80-minute live show set to visit the Rosemont Theatre for two shows on Nov. 2.
And in case you were wondering, kids of all ages are already loving it.
“I use the kids as my research tool,” explains “Baby Shark Live!” writer, director and choreographer Jaimie Selke. “Whether its my own kids or the kids out in the audience, I pay close attention to the show through their eyes. What makes them move and what keeps their interest? And then, I make sure there is more of that.”
Indeed, keeping the interest of a demographic that has been raised on a questionable dose of YouTube and on-demand media offerings could possibly have its challenges.
But this is “Baby Shark.”
And “Baby Shark” can do no wrong.
The story of the friendly yellow shark began back in 2015, when Korean children’s entertainment brand Pinkfong took an old campfire song and transformed it into the “Baby Shark” dance heard ‘round the world. The song quickly entered the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 32, and ended up having a 17-week streak in the Top 50 while topping the Kids Digital Song Sales Chart. The “Baby Shark Dance” video now has over 3.5 billion views, making it the 6th most-viewed video in the history of YouTube.
But this fictional character and his friends have only lived on the screen — until now.
“It’s a bouncing baby rave,” laughs Selke of the live-action show which features 20 infectious songs brought to life via a handful of costumed performers, cartoon-like puppets and a large LED video wall that will continuously be showing images “that the kids are used to looking at.”
Indeed, as familiar images flash on the screen and the lights move to the beat of songs such as “Five Little Monkeys,” “Wheels on the Bus,” “Monkey Banana Dance” and yes… THE song of the hour.
“These are the songs that have been viewed billions of times,” says Selke. “The kids are going to recognize every song in the show. We just tried to pick the best songs. I mean, ‘Baby Shark’ comes in many different musical forms. We were not going to let you listen to it for an hour straight. [Laughs] The show is a musical roller coaster ride, that’s for sure. But we do make sure there are times for breathers. I guarantee you that.”
Selke says the ideal child demographic for the show are babies through 6-year-olds.
But you just never know.
“I was sitting next to an 11-year-old at a recent show, and he was looking at his phone at the beginning of the show and by the middle, his phone was away and he was singing right along with everyone else,” Selke says. “To me, that’s amazing. It really is for all age groups.”
And while there is no crucial storyline woven within these carefree songs, there are a variety of worthwhile messages within the antics of the friendly yellow Baby Shark character as it makes friends with the magical fox Pinkfong and the intelligent hedgehog Hogi.
“There are also some unexpected surprises toward the end of the show that everyone will love,” Selke says.
Creating a production that has a little something for everyone is something Selke is familiar with. Her recent directing and choreographing credits include “PJ Masks,” “The Chipmunks” and “Paw Patrol.”
“This family entertainment world has been my world for so long,” explains Selke. “I know what kids respond to and how to make sure they have a good time. Kids this age love the repetition of it all.”
But there is also something else these kids love.
“Kids love being with their family and love being with their friends and love spending time bonding over this song,” says Selke. “When I see the audience filled with kids and parents and grandparents all squeezing each other at the end of the show, that’s what’s special to me. That’s what makes it for me, every single time.”
Tricia Despres is a local freelance writer.