SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical, at the Palace Theatre, is a lively musical based on the worldwide favorite Nickelodeon cartoon series. It’s the story of a sponge who lives under a pineapple in the undersea world of Bikini Bottom—which is threatened with extinction by a volcanic eruption. All of the characters panic, but the day is saved by SpongeBob SquarePants, played with great aplomb by newcomer Ethan Slater, and his pals Patrick (Danny Skinner), Squidward Q. Tentacles (Gavin Lee), and Sandy Cheeks (Lilli Cooper). The wonderful music and lyrics are created by Sara Bareilles of Waitress and rock songwriters Cyndi Lauper, David Bowie, John Legend, and Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler and Joe Perry. David Zinn’s costumes and set design are worthy of a Tony or Drama Desk award, as they certainly bring the audience into the world of Bikini Bottom. Tina Landau’s direction enables the characters to come alive and transcend the cartoon world. Kyle Jarrow’s book and the choreography by Christopher Gattelli enhance the enjoyment of this wonderful musical.
As a longtime educator, I always watch how children react to shows, and the actions, dance routines (including a rousing tap dance), and costumes mesmerized the young and teenagers in the audience. Adults found it to be a joyous romp. The release of confetti and beach balls, which the audience batted around at the show’s end, certainly delighted everyone.
This musical is a show for the entire family. It also has a sublime message about the values of collaboration, tolerance, and appreciation of differences. You will leave the theatre with a feeling of satisfaction and happiness.