Bikini Bottom on Broadway

Spongebob Squarepants: The Musical is a magical time machine back to Gen Z’s childhood.


Photo by PJ Osheske

Spongebob Squarepants has taken a new form as Broadway’s newest hit musical.

SpongeBob SquarePants is a beloved cartoon that first aired on Nickelodeon on April 30th, 1999. But, did you know that there is now a SpongeBob SquarePants musical playing on Broadway? Yes, SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical is real, and you can see it now. It got its start in Chicago, playing at the Oriental Theater from June 7th through July 10th, 2016. From there, the show began to prepare its run on The Great White Way. Finally, the day came. On November 6th, 2017, the show performed its first preview and officially opened December 4th at the Palace Theater, located in the heart of Times Square.

A little more than a month ago on January 27th, I had the absolute pleasure to go see SpongeBob SquarePants live with my family. I had gone into the show having already listened to the Chicago Cast Recording on repeat almost every day for a month, so I already had a grasp on the plot of the show. Just walking to our seats nearly took my breath away. The design for the theater made us feel immersed within Bikini Bottom, showing off coral along the curtains, a hut belonging to “SpongeBob’s #1 Fan” next to the stage, even fish hooks hanging from the ceiling. The overall aesthetic of the theater, combined with the creative and innovative ways the cast uses the sets and props shown throughout the performance made the show so much better for me.

Although the overall production of the show was amazing, what really made this show amazing for me was the cast. Ethan Slater, playing the titular character SpongeBob, almost perfectly embodies the enthusiasm and optimistic energy that makes SpongeBob SpongeBob. He and Danny Skinner, playing Patrick Star, have amazing chemistry on stage; making their “BFF” bond seemingly jump out of the TV onto the stage. Alongside them are an equally talented and amazing cast of characters: Gavin Lee portrays Squidward in a way that really makes you root for him in the end (not to mention he steals the show in Act II with his song “Not A Loser”, my personal favorite from the show), Brian Ray Norris and Jai’len Christine Li Joesy respectively play a truly greedy Mr. Krabs and a whale with one of the best voices in the show, Pearl, and finally the evil power couple with a surprisingly good hip-hop song Plankton and his computer wife Karen are played by Wesley Taylor and Stephanie Hsu.

If you take an amazing cast and put them in a show with a beautiful production design ranging from lighting to costumes, you would get SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical. This show is a must see for anyone who was a fan of the original cartoon show, and I would recommend this show to anyone who is an avid fan of Broadway, or even to someone as their first Broadway show ever. SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical, despite what you may think, is a great show for anyone of any age to go see.