Blankenbuehler was born in Cincinnati, Ohio and is a 1988 graduate of St. Xavier High School and 1984 graduate of Nativity School in Cincinnati.
As a performer, he has appeared on Broadway in many musicals, from Guys and Dolls (1992) to Fosse (1998).
His Broadway work as a choreographer includes the musicals In the Heights (2007–08) and 9 to 5 (2008–09). He won the Tony Award and Drama Desk Award for his choreography for In the Heights. Other New York work includes choreography for the "Broadway By The Year:1930, 1938 and 1978" series, and the City Center Encores! productions of The Apple Tree (2006) and The Wiz (2009). He is the director and choreographer of Bring It On: The Musical, written by Jeff Whitty, with music by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Tom Kitt and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Amanda Green, which premiered at the Alliance Theatre, Atlanta, Georgia, in January 16, 2011. This production also performed at the Ahmanson Theater in Los Angeles where Blankenbuehler won the 2011 LA Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Choreography.
Additionally, Blankenbuehler choreographed the Frank Wildhorn world premiere production of Waiting for the Moon. The show featured 6 full-length dance sequences, including one that lasted over 10 minutes. He was nominated for a Barrymore Award for Choreographing the show.
Blankenbuehler has choreographed for Bette Midler and directed, choreographed and co-conceived the production "Nights On Broadway" at Caesars Palace.
He is now the choreographer for the 2012 revival of "Annie"