On Friday, Oct. 4, my mom, little brother, and I went to go see “The SpongeBob Musical” at the Bushnell. I must say, I am no expert on anything Broadway, but I do enjoy going to shows at the Bushnell and listening to musical soundtracks. My top three favorites are “Come from Away,” “Les Miserables,” and “Rent.”
But, more importantly, I have been watching “SpongeBob” for what feels like forever, and I thoroughly enjoyed the way classic “SpongeBob” characters, jokes, and references were incorporated into the musical.
Right off the bat, Patchy the Pirate goes on stage yelling about how he is SpongeBob’s biggest fan, and once he is dragged away by security, the show begins with the classic narrator’s voice, welcoming you to Bikini Bottom.
The cast comes on stage one by one and are introduced by the narrator. First Spongebob, followed by Gary, Patrick, Squidward, Sandy Cheeks, Mr. Krabs, Pearl, Larry the Lobster, Plankton, Karen, and other iconic “SpongeBob” characters.
I found the costume design not only funny, but clever, as it was clear which actor was who even though they were not wearing full fish costumes.
I highly recommend Googling pictures of the cast so you will see what I mean. The actors themselves talked, laughed, and walked just like the characters in the show did and sang beautifully (especially Beau Bradshaw as Patrick and Méami Maszewski as Pearl, in my opinion).
The set was simple with many common day objects and projections, but effective and modeled a lot of the styles seen in the TV show.
One of the coolest parts of the show was that they had the man making all of the sound effects on stage, with his whole setup of objects that made all of the classic, cartoon noises from the show. His timing was impeccable.
The musical also included famous lines from the show like “Is mayonnaise an instrument?” which the audience enjoyed.
Furthermore, and I might be digging too deep, but I thought that the musical tackled big topics and issues in a rather graceful way, as the musical was still a comedy, but I found myself having “ah-ha” moments.
The most prominent one, in my opinion, happened as Plankton (played by a man with a slicked back, greasy ponytail, an eyepatch, and a green suit), and his computer wife Karen (who was played by Catlin Ort, dressed in silver, pulling around a computer that actually looked like Karen whose mouth moved and everything) were manipulating the people of Bikini Bottom to raise funds for a machine that would save Bikini Bottom and evacuate the citizens; however, it was really part of an evil plan.
Sandy tries to call him out on his plan using “science,” but Plankton manipulates the citizens (except Patrick and SpongeBob) into thinking that Sandy doesn’t belong because she is a mammal.
Sandy begins hiding from the citizens and has a powerful solo as she looks at a graffitied wall insulting mammals.
I found it interesting that the main character disrespecting Sandy was old man Jenkins (who was a white actor), while Sandy was played by a black actress with a beautiful afro (which represented her helmet).
Sandy also says she never fit in in Texas, as she was a female interested in science.
Again, I might be digging too deep, and the casting might have been a coincidence, but it ended up sending a powerful, important message.
At the end of the musical, when Plankton’s plan is revealed to the citizens, they ask Sandy to forgive them for not believing her and ask her to stay in Bikini Bottom, where they can redeem themselves.
There were other references to real-world topics, like the mayor of bikini bottom talking about fake news, climate change’s effect on the oceans and more big, current topics/issues.
Overall, this musical was a delight, and I enjoyed seeing it with my little brother. Though there wasn’t much plot, the singing, dancing, acting, comedy, and appearance of the show made it enjoyable.