THIS EYE POPPING MUSICAL ABOUT FRIENDSHIP AND COMMUNITY IS THE BEST WAY TO START THE SPRING SEASON, BUT THE KRUSTY KRAB MUST CLOSE THIS WEEKEND
Broadway SF Golden Gate theatre becomes a pineapple under the sea - and who lives there? Spongebob Squarepants, of course. The National Tour of THE SPONGEBOB MUSICAL has opened the Krusty Krab for just four more performances. This eye popping candy coated tail of underwater characters requires sunglasses to avoid the bright fun kamp on stage. You don't have to be a longtime fan of the animated popular, Nickelodean series to love this show. All the town folk in this thoroughly entertaining tale of friendship and loyalty at Bikini Bottom will remind you of a wild ride through the “looking glass”.
Only on stage through Sunday at The Golden Gate stage THE SPONGEBOB MUSICAL is a celebration of a musical confection, even if the story is a bit disjointed the songs are written by some high end pop artists. In a cast led by the energized Lorenzo Pugliese, as the icon SpongeBob, featuring Beau Bradshaw as his BBF Patrick Star and the tall Cody Cooley as a show stopping four legged Squidward.
This musical is more of a SpongeBob experience, it is bright, loud and all encompassing a fun time. The young fans in the audience were on their feet for most of the two and half hours. The native San Francisco ticket holders know this is a true SF experience that you might see in a store window in the Castro. With all the bells, whistles and eye popping kamp this is directed and conceived by the clever Tina Landau from Chicago’s Tony honored Steppenwolf Theatre.
The list of composers is long and impressive: Yolanda Adams, Steven Tyler & Joe Perry of Aerosmith, Sara Bareilles (WAITRESS) Jonathan Coulton, Alex Ebert of Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, The Flaming Lips, Lady Antebellum, Cyndi Lauber & Rob Hyman, John Legend, Panic! At the Disco, Plain White T's, They Might Be Giants, T.I., Domani & Lil'C. The score also includes songs by David Bowie & Brian Eno, Tom Kenny & Andy Paley with additional lyrics by Jonathan Coulton and music by Tom Kitt, who also is credited with the orchestrations and arrangements featuring the choreography of Christopher Gattelli. THE SPONGEBOB MUSICAL is a visual spectacle, performed by a talented company of non equity actors who vividly bring life to this undersea madness.
The explosion of color and kamp costumes opens with “Bikini Bottom Day” that features the 27 member cast. SpongeBob sings “I know I can do it for the world renowned, Bikini Bottom, gonna save this town”. The story is predictable about doom and volcanoes which will destroy their world by show's end as the cuddly Beau Bradshaw as Patrick Star sings “BFF” with his pal Spongbob. This sets the tone for the theme of true friendship and loyalty as captured in the song “Hero is my Middle Name” written by Cyndi Lauper, and featuring both Pugliese, Bradshaw and the powerhouse Daria Redus as Sandy Cheeks. The Krusty Krab Restaurant is owned by a big-clawed Eugene Krabs, played by the impressive Zach Kononov, who sings “Daddy Knows Best” to his daughter Pearl Krabs. The thrilling Meami Maszewski and Kononov show off their flawless voices and are dressed in the terrific costumes of David Zinn.
There's a sense of enthusiasm that runs in this sea bottom world, ensuring that audiences will be drawn into the onstage mayhem. The creative team for this musical is one of the stars including David Zinn (FUN HOME, THE LAST SHIP) who created both the scenic and costume design.The lighting design by Kevin Adams (THE CHER SHOW, HEDWIG) was a light show to behold, and made the performance seem underwater as the lighting extends into the audience.
The projections designed by Peter Nigrini (DEAR EVAN HANSEN) worked well with the props and scenery including Mount Humongous. Walter Trarbach was in charge of the sound design, with drummer Ryan Blihovde live on stage taking care of the important Foley design. Bigs, pop, smoshes and bloops are the best especially when they are done live. The fanciful wigs and hair design are created by Charles G. Lapointe, with make up design by Joe Dulude II (WICKED). Music is by Pulitzer Prize-winning, Tony Award winner and Drama Desk Award nominee Tom Kitt, of Next to Normal, and American Idiot fame.
The songwriter Tom Kenny who has voiced SpongeBob since the beginning is the show's voice director. Patrick Hoagland is the music director for the show with John Mezzio as the music coordinator and music supervision by Julie McBride and Timothy Hanson. The over the top choreography from hip hop to tap, gospel and a hint of Fiddler on the Roof are designed by Christopher Gattelli (NEWSIES).
THE SPONGEBOB MUSICAL delivers, even if you can't help but wonder if the story is as fantastical as Kyle Jarrow's tale of apocalypse as a metaphor for our current political times. A predicted volcanic eruption threatens to annihilate everyone and everything in Bikini Bottom. Spongebob, Sandy Cheeks and Patrick who somehow becomes something of a messiah in the aquatic Armageddon do their best to save the day. Spongebob and company are wonderfully, winningly progressive in their undersea habitat that is #MeToo free of mermaids but filled with the sassy Sardine and Plankton dancers.
Director Landau's splendid pacing and astounding eye for detail and innovation is marvelous. Pugliese is perfectly cast as Spongebob, with so much energy in his performance along with the rest of the busy cast. Bradshaw is sweet as Patrick, how can a starfish be more awkward than a sponge.
Cooley as a four leg dance man Squidward stops the second act with his keen tap dance “I’m Not a Loser” written by They Might Be Giants. The second showstopper of Act II is The Aerosmith composed song "Bikini Bottom Boogie" that features the band The Electric Skates, Pearl and fans of the skater band. "Best Day Ever," by Andy Paley and Tom Kenny, is another second act winner, that sums up SpongeBob's meaning in life and the upbeat themes of the show. The story ends as you guessed, with a big BANG - Bubbles and confetti and all the kids in the isles with some underwater adult fans.
Next up at SFBroadway is STING STARRING IN THE LAST SHIP that opens February 20th, and later this spring THE BOOK OF MORMAN returns March 31st. Todaytix.com offers 40.00 rush seats for this short run that you can access with their Ap day of show. Or the box office sells remaining seats for 40.00 cash only two hours before each performance. But in the meantime this might be the perfect Valentine Treat for this weekend, for both your significant other and bring the kids.
BroadwaySF Presents Nickelodeon’s
THE SPONGEBOB MUSICAL
Based on the series by Stephen Hillenburg
Book by Kyle Jarrow, Music by Tom Kitt.
Conceived and Directed
by Tina Landau
Choreography by Christoper Gatelli.
MUST CLOSE SUNDAY FEB 16
Golden Gate Theatre
1 Taylor St., San Francisco
Running time: 2 hours, 30 minutes (with intermission)
Tickets are available at https://www.broadwaysf.com/.
Photos Credit: Jeremy Daniel
I DEDICATE THIS REVIEW TO ONE OF SPONGEBOB'S BBF FANS
THE LATE AND TALENTED KEVIN REDRICO/ WHO JUST MISSED THE OPENING OF THIS MUSICAL WHEN IT WAS IN PREVIEWS IN CHICAGO.
IN THIS CLIP HE DOES ALL 50 VOICES FROM THE SERIES
CLIPS FROM NATIONAL TOUR
For more information, visit www.TheSpongeBobMusical.com. Facebook/Instagram: @TheSpongeBobMusical Twitter: @SpongeBobBway YouTube: The SpongeBob Musical #SpongeBobMusical