Spongebob is coming to Broadway.
No, you didn’t read that wrong. Mr. “Lives in a pineapple under the sea” is getting his very own Broadway musical. The Spongebob Musical premiered in Chicago last month, and will transfer to the Great White Way hopefully in the next year.
“A Spongebob Musical?” You may mumble, as you roll your eyes. Trust me–that was my first reaction, too. Broadway fans know that stranger and stranger properties have found their way to the stage in the past few years–but adaptation is nothing new. Classics like Oklahoma, Phantom, Pippin, 1776, Les Miserables, Ragtime… all came from books or historical events. Godspell, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat pulled directly from biblical tales. So when Shrek, Bring it On, Legally Blonde, and yes, even Hamilton hit the stage, no one should have been surprised.
In fact, The Spongebob Musical has more in common with the shows above than original works like Next to Normal, The Last Five Years, or A New Brain. Why, then, is the knee-jerk reaction that Broadway is finally dead?
Here’s why The Spongebob Musical should get you excited rather than running for the hills:
An All-Star List of Composers
Note that this list includes both Cydi Lauper and Sara Bareilles, who already have one successful Broadway show a piece. Brendon Urie (Panic! At the Disco) is particularly excited about his contribution which went directly to the big sponge himself.
The Set and Costumes Look Perfect
Instead of going for a direct translation from television, the set uses found items to build scenery out of junk you’d find at the bottom of the sea. Add the fact that there are some pretty neat tricks up the sleeves of the creative team, and Spongebob will be fascinating live.
The Lead Cast is Talented “New-Comers”
New Broadway shows and even revivals regularly rely on a big name from T.V. or film to draw audiences. The production often suffers as a result; fans are let down by a lack of talent in a live setting, and general interest drops once the star leaves the cast. Spongebob isn’t even trying that route, with Spongebob (Ethan Slater), Sandy (Lilli Cooper), and Patrick (Danny Skinner) all ranging from fresh-out-of-undergrad to fresh off the understudy bench at Wicked.
So what do you think? Are ya ready, kids? We sure are.
All images credit: The Spongebob Musical Official Site