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Spongebob...On Broadway?

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Spongebob...On Broadway?

Yes, you heard correctly.

Christian Eble

11.28.17

Read time: 5 minutes

Rating: 5/5


Spongebob is taking Broadway by storm in a brand new, smash hit original musical.

A few weeks ago my friend and I serendipitously bought same-day tickets to Spongebob Squarepants: The Broadway Musical. We both went into the show without any expectations whatsoever, and it turned out to be one of the best things I’ve seen on Broadway in a long time.

Due to the overwhelming tsunami of texts and Facebook messages I received asking how the show was, I decided to dedicate my next article to everyone’s favorite Goofy Goober.

Okay, so...what the hell is it?

Spongebob Squarepants: The Broadway Musical (originally titled “The Spongebob Musical”) is a totally original story that was co-conceived and directed by the GENIUS Tina Landau. It premiered in Chicago for an out of town tryout in 2016 and opened to rave reviews. The show is currently in previews at the Palace Theater (47th and Broadway), where it will open on December 4th.




Their website describes the musical as follows: “A legendary roster of Grammy Award winners. A visionary director and a Tony Award-winning design team. One of the world’s most beloved characters. Turn them loose on Broadway and what do you get? SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS, THE BROADWAY MUSICAL. Brilliantly re-imagining the beloved Nickelodeon series, Broadway’s best creative minds bring the musical to life with humor, heart and pure theatricality. Be there when SpongeBob and all of Bikini Bottom face catastrophe – until a most unexpected hero rises to take center stage. Get ready to explore the depths of theatrical innovation at SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS, where the power of optimism really can save the world.”

The show features an unbelievably catchy score written by a diverse group of musicians and composers that each contributed original songs. Some of the legendary artists include Sara Bareilles, David Bowie, They Might Be Giants, Lady Antebellum, Cyndi Lauper, T.I., John Legend, Plain White T’s, and Panic! At The Disco, to name a few. The score was tied together by Tom Kitt, who did the musical supervision, arrangements, and orchestrations to ensure that each song fits within the context of the show and pop musical genre.



Ethan Slater stars as the titular sponge in his Broadway debut, and he is nothing short of absolute perfection, down to the Spongebob voice and laugh. You may be wondering: is he actually wearing a sponge costume? Kind of. Slater (along with the rest of the cast) wears a costume that evokes the look of the animated character, but is not a literal representation (see photos). Playbill.com says: “[Spongebob] is a show that creates new life with the SpongeBob DNA. As a young audience member from a workshop recalled, the series shows how SpongeBob looks while the musical shows what SpongeBob feels.”

The show is complete with all of the characters from the series: Patrick, Sandy, Squidward, Mr. Krabs, Plankton, Pearl, Mrs. Puff, Perch Perkins, Larry the Lobster, and even some new creatures. The actors bring a brilliant quirkiness to each different role while maintaining the essence of the characters we’re familiar with. The standouts? A four-legged, tap dancing Squidward (Gavin Lee) whose eleven o’clock number will make you jump to your feet, a hilariously reimagined Plankton (Wesley Taylor) and his computer wife Karen (Stephanie Hsu), and Mr. Krabs’ daughter Pearl (Jai’len Christine Li Josey). Just wait until she starts singing.




The musical features breathtaking costumes, and some of the greatest lighting, projection, and scenic designs I’ve ever seen on Broadway (with a $20 million dollar budget, they really went all out). The design is as whimsical as it is practical; set pieces are made out of hula hoops, cardboard boxes, and umbrellas, so they can be used and interchanged into various locations in and around Bikini Bottom.

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve seen the show, and I’m already planning my next trip back. I could go on and on about how amazing this musical is, but why don’t you check it out for yourself? Tickets start at just $39 on the TodayTix app, and the show features a Student Rush and Lottery. Spongebob on Broadway is a perfect escape from the craziness of our current world: it’s hilarious, endearing, tons of fun, and completely shattered my expectations.

If you don’t believe me, take a tip from the director: “In a world that can feel like it’s crashing into some horrendous ending, SpongeBob has a different spin. He says, ‘No. Let’s not give up. Let’s find a way to make this better.’”



All pictures courtesy of PlayBill.com