If nautical nonsense be something you wish — along with great original music, bright and bold neon lights, silly sound effects, AND a confetti cannon — then take the family to see Spongebob Squarepants the Broadway Musical.
I confess I was never a fan of Nickelodeon’s animated Spongebob Squarepants and his friends in the Bikini Bottom cartoon world. However, after seeing the musical with my family, I now have a thing for the eternally optimistic sea sponge. Ethan Slater, in his Broadway debut, manages to bring the quirky cartoon character to life with a high energy, limber goofiness that is infectiously lovable.
And how can you not love Spongebob with all his kindness and positivity? When a friend needs support or Bikini Bottom needs saving from an ocean floor volcano that will destroy their home, it’s Spongebob who proves that community and perseverance can save the day.
The rest of the cast are fantastic as well. They all manage to “become” their cartoon characters without exaggerated costumes, but instead through embodying their character’s spirit.
One exception when it comes to costumes is Squidward, perfectly played by Gavin Lee. His four-legged pants and blue hair paired with his sad-sack negativity make him a highlight. By the time he performs his four-legged tap dance extravaganza to “I’m Not a Loser,” written by They Might Be Giants in the second act, he steals the show.
It’s the music that makes the show really fun. The song list includes music written by David Bowie, Steven Tyler, Brian Eno, Cyndi Lauper, John Legend, Sara Bareilles, Lady Antebellum, Panic at The Disco, and more. The blend of pop, rock, country, and hip hop make it feel like a party. And the many college-aged fans in the audience cheering and laughing at all the inside jokes from the cartoon add to the party atmosphere.
Kids of all ages will enjoy Spongebob on Broadway — whether they’re longtime fans or a new audience of little kids who love the bright, zany, silly sea creatures. My Gilmore Girls loved it so much they are begging to see it again. And this Spongebob convert is right there with them.
Spongebob on Broadway
1564 Broadway at 47th Street, NYC