The Broadway-aimed The SpongeBob Musical has released behind-the-scenes video from rehearsals for the Chicago world premiere, including samples of several songs from the score, which have been written by a variety of top pop and Broadway artists.
The production's tryout will begin previews June 7 at the Oriental Theatre in Chicago, with a limited run scheduled through July 3. The production is co-conceived and directed by Tina Landau (Superior Donuts, Bells Are Ringing), and Tony Award winner Christopher Gattelli (Newsies) is supplying the choreography.
Watch the video here:
As previously announced, virtual unknown Ethan Slater was chosen to play the title role of the "absorbent and yellow and porous" character from the hit Nickelodeon cartoon series.
Lilli Cooper will play SpongeBob’s close friend Sandy Cheeks. Danny Skinner will make his Broadway debut as SpongeBob's dimwitted starfish pal Patrick. Gavin Lee (Bert in Mary Poppins) will play the sourpuss squid Squidward, Carlos Lopez will play Spongebob's penny-pinching boss Mr. Krabs, and Nick Blaemire (Godspell) will play the scheming villain Plankton.
Other denizens of Bikini Bottom will be played by Gaelen Gilliland, Curtis Holbrook, Juliane Godfrey, Stephanie Hsu, Jesse JP Johnson, L’ogan J’ones, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Mark Ledbetter, Kelvin Moon Loh, Lauralyn McClelland, Vasthy Mompoint, JC Schuster, Allysa Shorte, Jacob Smith, Abby C. Smith, Jason Michael Snow and Allan K. Washington.
The SpongeBob Musical will be presented as part of the "Broadway In Chicago" subscription series. Tickets are available at all Broadway In Chicago Box Offices (24 W. Randolph St., 151 W. Randolph St., 18 W. Monroe St. and 175 E. Chestnut), the Broadway In Chicago Ticket Line at (800) 775-2000, all Ticketmaster retail locations and online at BroadwayInChicago.com.
Broadway dates, theatre and ticket information have not been announced.
Spanning nine seasons on Nickelodeon, SpongeBob SquarePants has had his fair share of underwater adventures. But, on Broadway, he's going to have to save the world.
"I know this sounds insane, but it's basically SpongeBob Apocalypse," book writer Kyle Jarrow (A Very Merry Unauthorized Children's Scientology Pageant, Whisper House) previously told Playbill.com. "If you can imagine the movie 'Armageddon' with SpongeBob as like the main character, essentially saving the world, that is… It's not about an asteroid, but other than that it's basically SpongeBob has to save the world from certain destruction."
The musical will feature songs from a mixture of classic and contemporary artists, including Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of the band Aerosmith, Tony winner Cyndi Lauper (Kinky Boots), They Might Be Giants, Jonathan Coulton, Dirty Projectors, The Flaming Lips, Sara Bareilles, John Legend, Lady Antebellum, Panic! At the Disco, Plain White T's and T.I., with an additional song by David Bowie and additional lyrics by Jonathan Coulton.
"All of the musicians got a brief on where their song fits in the story, so they weren't randomly writing songs on the topic of SpongeBob," Jarrow explained. "They knew where it fit in the story."
He added, "SpongeBob is super fun. It's obviously family-friendly; it's got like a hipster humor to it as well, but I think there's an opportunity to say something that actually matters about the way that we live now and about the way that fear can make people make decisions that are maybe not the smartest decisions."
Tom Kitt (Next to Normal, If/Then) provides music supervision for the show and, according to Jarrow, is "making it sound cohesive."
He added, "To be a book writer, where you have, I think, 14 different songwriters, it's just a crazy beast. It's been really wild, but it's super awesome. It's just a really complicated animal, so it's been this fun process of figuring out how to get the songs to fit."