VStar Entertainment Group
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Blue Star Media, LLC
|Founded||March 14, 1980|
|Headquarters||Shoreview, Minnesota, US|
Number of locations
|Parent||AUA Private Equity|
VStar Entertainment Group is a family entertainment production company headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States. It produces Sesame Street Live, a live touring stage show based on the television series. It has also produced stage shows based on Dragon Tales, The Muppets and Muppet Babies, Bear in the Big Blue House, Curious George, and Barney & Friends.
Vee Corporation was started on March 14, 1980 from an idea by founder Vincent Egan to produce a live character show just for Sesame Street. At the time, there were only three touring family shows, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus and two ice shows, Ice Follies and Holiday on Ice. He based it off his time working for the Ice Follies which had a segment with those Sesame Street Muppets. Egan approached Jim Henson's company and Children's Television Workshop, who were interested. He then found an investor in Gordon Stofer, whose Norwest Growth Fund took half ownership in the company for $500,000. Egan refinanced his home mortgage for $25 thousand in additional funding. With the funding, Vee was able to sign a licensing agreement with the Children's Television Workshop for the characters.
The first Sesame Street Live show opened in September 1980 at the Metropolitan Sports Center in Bloomington, Minnesota for a five-day run. That show was successful. The following shows in five locations had lackluster attendance costing VEE the profits made in Bloomington. Egan figured that the marketing material was confusing people in those markets as what type of show was not specified. He overhauled the script and marketing while getting his creditors to wait for payments. That Christmas, the show went on to play for four weeks at Madison Square Garden's 4,000-seat Felt Forum in New York City before an audience of 100,000 people.
Around 2000, Egan purchased Norwest Fund's stake in the corporation. He also formed two divisions, Vee Costumes & Creatures and Vee Production Services, to successfully diversify the company.
Sanjay Syal started Blue Star Productions before 1995 to produced trade shows. Syal then started up Blue Star Media in 2011 for the Discover the Dinosaurs traveling exhibition. With the success of the exhibition, Syal then proceeded to wind down Blue Star Productions as contracts expired. Blue Star Media then started to look for a partner finding AUA Private Equity, who purchase a share of the company from Syal in early June 2014 via a leverage buyout. A tented version of the Discover exhibition was launched in 2014 at two state fairs, New York State Fair, and the California State Fair, and had 14% of total yearly attendance for the exhibition.
VStar Entertainment Group
On April 1, 2015, Blue Star Media, LLC purchased VEE Corporation with Egan continuing as a consultant. In 2015, VEE Corporation and Blue Star Media, a producer and promoter of consumer shows and events, became VStar Entertainment Group. In August 2015, the company agreed to partner with the Pro Football Hall of Fame for a mobile tour. In April 2016, Vstar hired Eric Grilly as CEO from Comcast Sports Group.
In November 2016, Sesame Workshop announced an agreement with Feld Entertainment for a new Sesame Street Live show thus ending Vstar's version in July 2017. But the company continued other Sesame Street shows at various locations and the United Service Organizations tour while still providing costumes.
- Sesame Street Live (1980–July 2017) (a longer list of Sesame Street Live is at this page.)
- Muppet Show
- on tour 1 (1984-1985)
- on tour 2 (1985-1986)
- Muppet Babies:
- Muppet Babies Live (1986-1987)
- Muppet Babies' Magic Box (1987-1988)
- Where's Animal? (1988-1990)
- Bear in the Big Blue House
- Cirque Dreams Holidaze (2007–present)
- Cirque Jungle Fantasy
- Cirque Dreams & Dinner, two Norwegian Cruise Line shows
- Cirque Dreams Rocks
- Cirque Dreams Unwrapped
- Cirque Dreams Revealed
- Curious George Live (2009-2010; Canada 2010-2011)
- Discover the Dinosaurs (December 2011) Blue Star Media
- My Little Pony Live (2006-2008)
- Dragon Tales Live (2001-2006)
- Care Bears Live! (2004-2006)
- Kidz Bop World Tour (2007-2008)
- Barney Live in Concert – Birthday Bash!(2010-2011)
- Hello Kitty's Supercute Friendship Festival (May 29, 2015- )
- PAW Patrol Live! Race to the Rescue (2016- )
- Yoshi's Woolly World Live! (2017- )
- My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Live! (2017- )
- "Honor the Heroes" tour (October 17, 2015-) football Hall of Fame inductees on the tour included Tim Brown, Joe Greene, Charles Haley, Randall McDaniel, Warren Moon and Fran Tarkenton. Tour consisted of four attractions: Legacy Hall, Traditions Stage, Impact Zone and Hall of Fame Locker Room, a store. The hall has holographic busts, football memorabilia and feature multimedia stores. The stage had NFL Films large-screen productions plus "chalk talk" sessions and hourly kids press conferences. The Zone is a football skill and activities test area.
- NBA Jam
- VStar Production Services: creates and manufactures exhibits, props and sets for corporate and entertainment events and museums
- VStar Costumes & Creatures: creates and manufactures costumes and puppets for special events, sports teams and other stage productions.
- Weissberg, Brad (January 9, 2017). "VStar Buys Cirque Productions". Venues Today. Retrieved January 19, 2017.
- St. Anthony, Neal (December 28, 2009). "Bringing Muppets to 'Live'". Star Tribune. Retrieved January 19, 2017.
- Nakashima, Rebecca (April 6, 2016). "VStar Finds New CEO". Venues Today. Retrieved January 19, 2017.
- Hopps, Megan (December 6, 2016). "Dayton resident, creator of Sesame Street Live, dies at 74". Sun Press. ECM Publishers, Inc. Retrieved January 19, 2017.
- Deckard, Linda (April 7, 2015). "Hello Sanjay, New Owner of VEE". Venues Today. Retrieved January 19, 2017.
- "The Weekly Wrap: PPG, Southcross, Moody's". Mergers & Acquisitions, Latest News. SourceMedia. June 13, 2014. Retrieved January 20, 2017.
- Suttell, Scott (27 August 2015). "Pro Football Hall of Fame to launch 'Honor the Heroes' tour". Crain's Cleveland Business. Crain Communications, Inc. Retrieved January 19, 2017.
- "'Sesame Street' to Take the Stage". License! Global. UBM. November 18, 2016. Retrieved January 17, 2017.
- "A Guide to the VEE Corporation Archives". www.lib.utexas.edu. Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Retrieved 22 January 2017.
- Churnin, Nancy (January 18, 2011). "Barney and friends celebrate his birthday with a kids' rock concert". Dallas Morning News. Retrieved January 23, 2017.