25 DAYS OF TONYS: Gavin Lee Talks Tapping on Four Legs in SpongeBob SquarePants

Tony Awards   25 DAYS OF TONYS: Gavin Lee Talks Tapping on Four Legs in SpongeBob SquarePants
The 2018 Drama Desk winner and Tony nominee talks about the trickery behind his four-legged character’s design.

Actor Gavin Lee is now a Drama Desk winner thanks to his performance in the Broadway spectacular SpongeBob SquarePants. On June 10, viewers will find out how the 2018 Tony nominee fares in the category for Featured Actor in a Musical.

Spongebob Characters HR
Gavin Lee as Squidward Tentacles Joan Marcus

Awards aside, he’s having the time of his life in Bikini Bottom playing Squidward—which requires as much choreographic prowess to play the four-legged character as was required for his first Tony nomination as Bert in Mary Poppins, in which he tap-danced upside down across the proscenium.

“Obviously, Squidward has these great appendages, these extra legs that we worked on for many days with the designer,” says Lee. “I wanted them to be really asymmetrical with my own legs so you couldn't perhaps tell which ones were the fake ones but because of this and because I wanted them to be so secure, it's very uncomfortable. It's like wearing the tightest corset around your hips.

“I'm very glad to get them off at the end of the night, but I'm very glad I have them for the whole show because they're a great gimmick and the audience just loves every time I walk across the stage.”

With such intense design craft, Lee says there is one person behind the scenes without whom he would not be able to do his job onstage. “Patti, my fabulous dresser, is there to rip off my fake legs and put my tap legs on and things like that,” says Lee. “A dresser for an actor is always so important and so valuable and I value her a lot!”

Watch the full video interview above.

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