On October 6, 2019, I had the opportunity to go see Spongebob Squarepants: The Broadway Musical at the Bushnell Theatre, in Hartford, Connecticut. The musical is about everyone’s favorite wacky sea sponge, with a new storyline and a twist. It is a beautiful adaptation directed by Tina Landau, orchestrated by Tom Kitt, and choreographed by Christopher Gattelli. The show opens up in its prime setting, a town below the ocean called Bikini Bottom. All of the leads and supporting roles in the show are introduced in this scene. The conflict of the plot soon arises; Mount Humungous is about to blow up. Bikini Bottom takes action against this volcano eruption, and the audience watches to see the fate of the bubbly town unfold.
An Overall Whale of a Time:
The show itself was amazing. It was very engaging, with humor coming from every character. Before the musical even started, you felt like you were truly in Bikini Bottom. The stage was beautiful, and the lighting put the whole audience into the sea. The musical even won a Tony Award for best scenic design of a musical. The Tony’s are just the Emmy’s for musicals. This Tony award goes out to the musical with the best scenery on stage.
The show was appealing to audience members of all ages. Ensemble members came out on stage, playing kazoos and dancing. Patchy the Pirate, the president of the Spongebob Fan Club, also interacted with the audience in the seats while searching for his Spongebob Fan Club meeting. The characters were, overall, very engaging and comical.
And You Thought Music On Land Was the Wave:
The music of the show was phenomenal, whether it was a ballad or a pop song. Personally, Spongebob was my favorite vocalist out of everyone. His voice is very versatile; it can go high, low, manly, or feminine. Throughout the show, there are many musical numbers, and the range of the soundtrack is amazing; there is a song for everyone. The general tone of most of the songs is happy and fanatical, just like the Spongebob Squarepants TV show. There are some ballads, yet they still show themes of optimism. EHHS student Tyler Vance, who also saw the musical, shared that “Just a Simple Sponge” and “I’m Not a Loser” were his favorite songs. However, there are also some characters that were underused when it came to singing. Tyler feels, “ Pearl should have had a much bigger part than she did because she had a really good voice.” Some of the songs in the musical were co-written by well known artists. Alina Pienkos, an attendee of the show the day I went, said that “No Control” was her favorite because David Bowie co-wrote the song. Many other famous artists, such as Cyndi Lauper, Panic! at Disco, members of the rock band Aerosmith helped make many musical soundtracks for the show. The dynamic music provided everyone in the audience with wonderful musical enjoyment.
Acting Under the Sea Goes a Lot More Swimmingly Than It Seems:
Something that really surprised me was the amazing acting of all the characters. Every character had their own storyline involving relationships. Spongebob’s storyline revolved around stopping the volcano and his relationship with the whole town of Bikini Bottom. Sandy Cheeks had a whole story was based on how land animals aren’t allowed in Bikini Bottom. This further tied into her saving the day with Spongebob and not only proving herself to the town, but showing that she loves Bikini Bottom. Squidward Tentacles' storyline is about his relationship with himself and the world of fame. Throughout the whole show, Squidward’s solos kept getting interrupted. He would have done anything to get his moment of stardom. and then Though in the end, he finally realizes he in fact is not a loser. This all leads up to his act two solo titled “I’m Not a Loser”.
Despite the greatness of the show, some characters were underrated or used in the wrong way. EHHS student Isabella Martindale, who also saw the show, believes that Mr. Krabs was a character who was used in the wrong way, “Mr. Krabs. I feel like he was really portrayed to be this bad guy, when in the regular Spongebob show, he really isn’t all the time.”
One thing about all of the characters is how unique they are in the show. Once a character walks on stage, just their walk alone was able to portray their personality. Spongebob with his squeaky shoes and giggly voice, Mr. Krabs with his crab walk sound, Pearl with her huge steps. Each character on stage was drastically different from the others. When Larry the Lobster came on stage, the audience distinguished him from other characters because of his buff, surfer-dude manner. Pearl is also one of those distinct characters. Her voice itself is very discreet, by bringing it down a little to a lower range, and with every step she took, a sound effect emphasized the sound.
Should You Go Visit the Pineapple Under the Sea?
The show is engaging, has a beautiful soundtrack, humor for everyone of all ages, beautiful vocals, and a very intriguing storyline. The majority of my interviews I have had received positive feedback about the show. Lorenzo Pugliese, the actor who is currently playing Spongebob on its national tour, stated that the show is viewable to people of all ages, and all viewers are able to get something out of it.