Playbill’s new Pop-Up Series returned to Renaissance Hotel’s R Lounge in Times Square to give the theatre community an exclusive look at the upcoming Broadway premiere of SpongeBob SquarePants, The Broadway Musical.
Joining Playbill to show off numbers from the show were stars Ethan Slater, who takes on the title role, Lilli Cooper (Sandy Cheeks), Danny Skinner (Patrick Star), and Brian Ray Norris (Eugene Krabs).
Following performances of the songs “BFF” and “Hero Is My Middle Name,” the stars joined director Tina Landau and book writer Kyle Jarrow in a panel discussion about the creation of the musical and what audiences can expect.
As attendees learned during the panel, audiences shouldn't expect a rehash of the animated series.
“We didn't want to replicate the TV show,” Landau explained. “We didn't want to do cartoon characters with big mascot heads. It was really about: ‘Is there a theatrical, cutting-edge, inventive, exciting language for this to live on stage?'”
“I guess the answer is yes,” she added, prompting laughs and applause.
“We wanted to create a fully original story,” Jarrow said. “A volcano is going to erupt, and the entire community is in danger of being obliterated. What we really wanted to do was create a story that has some resonance. What it's really about—I don't want to get too highfalutin' here—but it's about how people respond to being scared. Do they turn against each other, or do they pull together? When they think that they've got only 36 hours left, how do they choose to spend that time? ...If we look at the world around us, that's a story we could all use right now. A hopeful story about how we can come together when we're scared.”
To close out the evening, Slater took the stage to sing SpongeBob’s anthem, “(Just A) Simple Sponge.”
Take a look at the performances and interviews in the video below.
SpongeBob SquarePants, The Broadway Musical begins performances on Broadway November 6 at the Palace Theatre. The show’s score features original songs by a roster of pop and rock hit-makers, including Sara Bareilles, Plain White T's, Cyndi Lauper, John Legend, Panic! At the Disco, and David Bowie.