The Verdict: See How Chicago Critics Reviewed Broadway-Bound SpongeBob Musical | Playbill

News The Verdict: See How Chicago Critics Reviewed Broadway-Bound SpongeBob Musical The show is based on the popular Nickelodeon cartoon.
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Danny Skinner, Ethan Slater and Lilli Cooper Joan Marcus

The SpongeBob Musical officially opened its pre-Broadway tryout in Chicago June 19.

Based on the long-running Nickelodeon cartoon series about a compulsively energetic undersea sponge and his best friend, a dimitted starfish named Patrick, the musical has a score by an enviable lineup of pop stars including Cyndi Lauper, Steven Tyler, David Bowie and Waitress composer Sara Bareilles.

Co-conceived and directed by Tina Landau (Superior Donuts, Bells Are Ringing), the production began previews June 7 for a run through July 10 at the Oriental Theatre in Chicago. The SpongeBob Musical has been announced to arrive on Broadway during the 2016-17 Broadway season, though dates and a theatre have not been announced.

The critics have filed their reviews and has collected them for our readers. will continue to update our list as the reviews come in.

Chicago Sun-Times

Daily Herald

The Chicago Tribune

The Chicago Tribune Video Review

The Stage Review


WGN Morning News

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Lilli Cooper and Ethan Slater Joan Marcus

The musical features songs from a mixture of classic and contemporary artists, also including Yolanda Adams, Joe Perry of Aerosmith, Jonathan Coulton, Dirty Projectors, Alex Ebert of Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, The Flaming Lips, John Legend, Lady Antebellum, Panic! At the Disco, Plain White T’s, They Might Be Giants and T.I. Additional lyrics are by Jonathan Coulton.

Newcomer Ethan Slater plays the title role of the “absorbent and yellow and porous” SpongeBob who famously “lives in a pineapple under the sea.”

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Gavin Lee Joan Marcus

Lilli Cooper plays SpongeBob’s close friend Sandy Cheeks with Danny Skinner as SpongeBob’s starfish pal Patrick, Gavin Lee (Mary Poppins) as sourpuss squid Squidward, Carlos Lopez as Spongebob’s penny-pinching boss Mr. Krabs and Nick Blaemire (Godspell) as the scheming villain Plankton.

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.

Here’s how it’s billed: “Stakes are higher than ever before as SpongeBob and all of Bikini Bottom face the total annihilation of their undersea world. Chaos erupts. Lives hang in the balance. And just when all hope seems lost, a most unexpected hero rises up and takes center stage.”


(Updated June 20, 2016)

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