In 1996, “Blue’s Clues” premiered on Nickelodeon solving singalong mysteries.
Twenty five years later, “Blue’s Clues & You!” educates a new generation of kids.
“It was the most influential children’s television show since ‘Sesame Street,’ since ‘Mr. Rogers,'” Host Josh Dela Cruz told WTOP. “‘Blue’s Clues & You!’ is so important because we not only have amazing characters and fun games, but everything we do in the show has been vetted through layers of research [by] our child development team.”
Season 2 is currently airing, Season 3 is in production and Season 4 is green-lit.
“I am constantly amazed by how much higher the bar gets set after every season,” Dela Cruz said. “There’s incredible music, we’re introducing some new characters, the show is evolving and I can’t wait for people to finally see that.”
Kids are interactively encouraged to take notes in their handy, dandy notebook.
“Every show, we have to figure out together what it is Blue wants to do,” Dela Cruz said. “She gives us three clues, we look for those clues throughout the entire show, and once we get all three clues, we sit down in our thinking chair and think. It’s not just where I feed the kids the answer, I can’t do anything without the kids yelling at the TV.”
Most importantly, the show maintains all of the classic songs.
“‘Here’s the Mail’ is thankfully evergreen,” Dela Cruz. “I know it from watching it with my little sister when I was younger. It was so hugely important in our lives. I can still remember our aunt’s pink rug that we sat on when we were watching it in the morning.”
Born in Dubai, Dela Cruz’s family moved to New York City when he was 6 years old.
“My parents are from the Philippines,” Dela Cruz said. “They met in the Middle East. That’s where my older sister and I were born. … It was a very different Dubai when I was born. … We left when I was 2. I didn’t see grass until I got to the states. That’s what my memory was. I just remember a lot of sand and a lot of earth tones.”
His family lived in Yonkers for a few years before ultimately settling in New Jersey.
“I had no aspirations of becoming an actor,” Dela Cruz said. “My mom jinxed it by saying, ‘You watch so much TV, you should just become an actor. … My oldest sister said, ‘You’re coming to high school next year. You’re auditioning for the musical.'”
After earning a full scholarship to the prestigious Paper Mill Playhouse, Dela Cruz graduated from Montclair State University. He was soon cast alongside Lou Diamond Phillips in Broadway’s “The King and I,” which introduced him to fellow Asian actors.
“All I ever wanted to be was ethnically ambiguous, which is problematic going into auditions thinking, ‘Don’t look Asian,'” Dela Cruz said. “As an actor, you’re supposed to be open, honest and vulnerable. How are you supposed to do that if you’re not being honest with yourself? … When I unlocked that, it was like I unlocked a superpower.”
After Broadway’s “Aladdin,” he was casted as the host of “Blue’s Clues & You!” in 2018, following in the footsteps of Steve (Steve Burns) and Joe (Donovan Patton).
“I come in as Steve and Joe’s cousin,” Dela Cruz said. “Steve crashed my audition. … Behind the curtain, Steve emerges. … The guy who created the role is watching me do the thing he perfected. As soon as he opened his mouth, I felt like I belonged.”
See kids? He is a living example of the show’s famous song.
“I find that if I just use the advice, if I practice what I preach, and I take a step at a time, I can do anything that I want to do,” Dela Cruz said.