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Review by Vince Mediaa

The Palo Alto Player's Lucie Stern stage becomes a pineapple under the sea - and who lives there? Spongebob Squarepants, of course. THE SPONGEBOB MUSICAL has opened the Krusty Krab for the spring season. This eye popping candy coated tail of underwater characters requires sunglasses to avoid the bright fun on stage. You don't have to be a longtime fan of the animated popular, Nickelodeon 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”.

THE SPONGEBOB MUSICAL is witty, charming, smart, irreverent, wild, and heartwarming...not to mention bold and colorful!” says Palo Alto Players Artistic Director Patrick Klein. “It also deals with important topics such as other-ism, positivity, climate politics, and the power of community. That's a lot for a musical based on an animated television show! But that's what makes it so successful.” This colorful blast of fun 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 Joe Galang, as the icon SpongeBob, featuring Rocky James Concepción as his BBF Patrick Star, the gifted Solona Husband as Sandy Cheeks and the tall talented Andrew Cope as the four legged Squidward.

The explosion of color and eye candy costumes opens with “Bikini Bottom Day” that features the 23 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 the show's end. The cuddly delightful Concepcion as Patrick Star sings “BFF” with his pal Spongebob. 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 Galang and Concepcion and the powerhouse Husband as Sandy Cheeks. The Krusty Krab Restaurant is owned by big-clawed Eugene Krabs, played by the impressive Zachary Vaughn, who sings “Daddy Knows Best” to his daughter, Pearl Krabs, played by the energized Gillian Ortega. The thrilling Concepcion and Husband show off their flawless voices and are dressed in the terrific costumes by Raissa Marchetti-Kozlov. She also designed the wigs and make-up and the amazing legs of Squidward.

The villain of Bikini Bottom is a tiny plankton bully named Sheldon played by the superb NIco Jaochico. His assistant Karen the Computer is played by the ideal Kristy Aquino, when they both are on stage they steal the show. Jaochico is a sinister powerhouse in his solo “When The Going Gets Tough” as he whips the cast in a panic frenzy and raps most of the song. Mr Crabs and his teen daughter Pearl played by Gillian Ortega. Both dad and daughter are featured in “Daddy Knows Best” and Munck and Ortega show off their terrific voices. Sandy Cheeks and Spongebob sing “Chop To The Top” both Galang and Husband bring on the charm. Each of the featured cast has a solo and Concepcion as Patrick can bring tears to the story with his sweet ballad “Super Sea-Star Savior”. Rocky has an amazing voice.

This musical is more of a SpongeBob experience, it is bright, loud and all encompassing fun-time. All 5 foot 1 Joe Galang as SpongeBob stood up to the talent around him. He has a nice career ahead of him, his solo’s included “Best Day Ever” and “Simple Sponge” reprise, he won over the sold out opening night audience. The young fans in the audience were on their feet for most of the two and half hours. With all the bells and whistles and eye popping sets directed by the clever Patrick Klein kept the show moving fast. Stacey Reed’s choreography is over the top with a mix of hip hop to tap, gospel and a hint of rock. The list of composers is 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.

THE SPONGEBOB MUSICAL is a visual spectacle, performed by a talented company who vividly bring life to this undersea madness. Andrew Cope as a four legged 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, with Alex Bloom, Nick Hntzman, and Stephen Kanaski. Dance captain Kaitin Harold kept Stacy Reed’s dance numbers crazy giddy. "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 creative team for this musical is one of the stars including Klien who Directed and created the scenic design. The lighting design by Edward Hunter is an underwater dream to behold, and made the Lucie Stern stage seem splashy and wet as the lighting extends into the audience. Kevin Davis props are non stop gadgets, robots, radar gun, beach balls, bags of money and some bright pink umbrellas featuring a life size sailboat. The host of this party is The high spirited Dane Lentz plays Patchy The Pirate, he opens the show from the audience and invites guests on stage after the first act.

Jeff Graphton created the sound design with a live Foley artist Tony Gaitan on stage taking care of the important Foley design. Bings, pops, smoshes and bloops are the best especially when they are done live. Elliott Orr the assistant sound designer and soundboard operator added to the clever depth to undersea sounds. Director Klien's splendid pacing and astounding eye for detail and innovation is marvelous. The cast includes many 'Citizens' that fill in for the off center story of approaching gloom; including the ideal Alea Selburn as the Mayor, the priceless Justin Kerekes as Old Man Jenkins, the keen Riley Chapman as Mrs Puff, the spastic Nicholas Histzman as Larry The Lobster, the dapper reporter Perch Perkins played by the on point Andrew Mo. Stage manager Luren Howry handled a cast of 23 with exits and entrances from every corner of the Lucie Stern. I want to give a shoutout to prop runner Katel Fong who has so many props to wangle including little Gary The Snail.

THE SPONGEBOB MUSICAL delivers, even if you can't help but wonder if the story is as fantastical tale of apocalypse as a metaphor for our current political times. A 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 refreshingly free of mermaids but filled with the sassy Sardine and Plankton dancers. The story ends as you guessed with a big BANG - Bubbles and confetti and all the fans in the aisles. This is the perfect pre summer beach party that will take you under the sea, for both you and your family. Bring your own beach ball A MUST SEE.

Palo Alto Players Presents Nickelodeon’s


Based on the series by Stephen Hillenburg/ Book by Kyle Jarrow.

Music by Tom Kitt - Original music by Yolanda Adams, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith, Sara Bareilles, Jonathan Coulton, Alex Ebert of Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, The Flaming Lips, Lady A, Cyndi Lauper, John Legend, Panic! At the Disco, Plain White T’s, They Might Be Giants, T.I. Additional Songs by David Bowie, Tom Kenny & Andy Paley. Additional Lyrics by Jonathan Coulton. Additional Music by Tom Kitt.

Directed by Palo Alto Players

Artistic Director Patrick Klein

Vocal director Asa Stern,

Music Director by Richard Hall,

Choreography by Stacey Reed

2 hours, 30 minutes (one 15-minute intermission)


Palo Alto Theatre Lucie Stern Theater, 1305 Middlefield Road in Palo Alto.

Tickets for THE SPONGEBOB MUSICAL can be purchased online at,


Photos by Scott Lasky


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