WEEK IN REVIEW, Feb. 21-27: Hamilton’s Broadway Transfer Confirmed and Is Spongebob Swimming to Broadway?

News   WEEK IN REVIEW, Feb. 21-27: Hamilton’s Broadway Transfer Confirmed and Is Spongebob Swimming to Broadway?
 
Hey, if Shrek and all those flying, swimming and scampering Disney characters can find a home on Broadway, why not that porous kitchen tool that lives in a pineapple under the sea?

Nickelodeon cartoon favorite SpongeBob SquarePants may now be getting ready for his Broadway closeup, according to Entertainment Weekly. EW reported that Nickelodeon "confirmed" a SpongeBob musical is being developed for a potential Broadway run, with a score provided by a mixture of classic and contemporary rockers from Aerosmith and T.I., to Sara Bareilles, Lady Antebellum and John Legend. The network even revealed the show's opening number, "Bikini Bottom Day.”

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One theatre type is already attached to the project: Tina Landau, the Steppenwolf Theatre Company member who is better known for more intellectual, Off-Broadway fare.

The news came right after the long-running cartoon released its second feature film, "The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water.” The film has already grossed more than $200 million and exceeded the performance of the first SpongeBob movie.

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Here’s the news the theatre world has been waiting for, and it comes as no surprise: Hamilton, the most buzzy show in years, will transfer to Broadway. We all knew that. The question was would it be this season or next season? And it will be next season. Hamilton will bow at the Richard Rodgers Theatre July 13. It’s a risky move, as the folks who hand out theatre awards, including the Tony, may have forgotten about it by the time spring 2016 comes around. And, in the meantime, the producers have to sell a season’s worth of tickets without the benefit of using phrases like “Tony-winning” in their advertising.

The Public Theater and producer Jeffrey Seller and the creative team made the unusual gesture of calling the press corps together Feb. 24 to announce the news. (Usually, an emailed press release does the job.) Lin-Manuel Miranda, who wrote the show and played Hamilton, will transfer with the show to Broadway.

One guy who will not be traveling with the show to Broadway is Brian d'Arcy James, who got great reviews for his hilarious turn as King George III in the musical. James has his another Broadway show to attend to: Something Rotten!, which begins previews March 23 at the St. James Theatre, and in which he has a lead role.

Taking James’ place will be Jonathan Groff, who has not been seen on Broadway since his Tony-nominated role in the hit rock musical Spring Awakening. Since then, he’s become a television star, thanks to “Glee” and "Looking." Groff is expected to continue with the musical when the show transfers to Broadway.

Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick
Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick Photo by Joan Marcus

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Nathan Lane must be suffering from tonal whiplash these days. The always-working actor jumped from the madcap comedy of It’s Only a Play on Broadway to the wrenching, five-hour drama of The Iceman Cometh at BAM. Iceman concludes March 15, and this week the producers of It’s Only a Play announced Lane would return to the revival March 31 and stay with it until it closes June 7.

This is no doubt music to the wallets of the producers. The one-time sold-out hit’s fortunes fell sharply after Lane left the cast in early January.

Lane may get a chance to leap back into the deep end once more. Producer Scott Rudin — who apparently is very eager to pay a lot of union overtime — may be in talks for a Broadway transfer of the The Iceman Cometh, according to Deadline.com. BAM was not able to confirm or deny the potential transfer.

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