SpongeBob SquarePants is playing nightly at the Palace Theatre (1564 Broadway at 47th St).
From the moment you enter the Palace Theatre, you know you are in for an unusual Broadway show. The entire theater is decorated to look like the ocean, each side of the stage has contraptions built around it, and there is a band playing off to one side (in addition to the orchestra). Spongebob Squarepants: The Broadway Musical is most definitely a unique experience. It is two plus hours of sheer fun and enjoyment. If you can let yourself go and not worry too much about the plot or the lyrics, you are bound to have a good time, whether or not you watched Spongebob on television.
The extravaganza of the production is what keeps the audience enraptured: the lights, sounds, and colors of the stage are stunning. Beautiful, colorful, creative costumes (which do not have the actors dressed up to look like their television counterparts) enhance the Bikini Bottom world. The staging, which uses the aisles and the ceilings, as well as center stage, is super. Varied sets (a volcano made of cardboard boxes, the top of the volcano created of grids that can be scaled) are used throughout the play, each more interesting than the last. The show is a spectacle, and a gorgeous one.
While the plot is a bit implausible (Bikini Bottom is about to be destroyed by a volcano and Spongebob and friends, Patrick and Sandy, have two days to save their world), many of the subplots are very adult and timely. There’s a conflict between the government and the media, an attempt to deport the non-aquatic squirrel, and a parenting lesson too (Mr. Krubs’ lack of attention to his daughter, Pearl). Ultimately, the show is about friendship and self-confidence, messages that transcend any age demarcations.
The talented cast carries off both the spoken dialogue and the diverse set of songs, each written by different musicians. Ethan Slater as Spongebob sounds just as he should, with the right amount of awkwardness to portray the main protagonist, who hopes he is more than just an ordinary sponge. He is complemented well by Lily Cooper, who plays Sandy and Danny Skinner, Patrick. Pearl, played by Jai’len Christine Li Josey, has a tremendous voice. Gavin Lee, who plays Sqiudward, and wears an additional set of legs throughout the show, has a great dance number (“I’m Not a Loser”) that he carries off with panache.
If you or your children are Spongebob fans, or if you are looking for a holiday treat for your family, this energy-filled show might be just the escape you need!
Find ticket information at www.spongebobbroadway.com